• Dana L. Butler

Every Side of His Face

Running shoes on and earbuds ready to roll, I step out my front door. It’s late June, and the evening air is muggy for my beloved, typically-dry-ish Colorado.

Instrumental piano music is my soundtrack for my workout time tonight. It both stirs and heals my heart.

I set off toward my river, and am quickly given pause: tonight’s sky is a breathtaking backdrop, all around me, on every side. I reach for my phone and quickly notice my camera’s inability to focus with precision.

Oh yeah. I dropped my phone in the pool today. ::Face palm::

The lens is foggy. Probably permanently so.

I grab a few pics anyway, hoping even still to capture a tiny fraction of these continually evolving, shapeshifting brushstrokes. A tiny fraction of the way they move me inside.


I haven’t written in months. Months, y’all, and it’s hard to have even an inkling of where to start.

We went to Estes Park as a family, just the 4 of us, for several days in late May. It was beautiful, glorious, chilly, and challenging to have the kids out of their typical, day-to-day rhythms.

Pretty normal for a family vacay with little ones, eh? But we rode horses, roasted marshmallows, walked by the river, visited a candy shop, played at a playground in the mountains’ shadow.

We made memories.

June rolled around, and my dear friend Tira and I took off for Ouray, Colorado — a tiny town about 6 hours away, with one heck of a spectacular panorama. Whew. I mean. Never EVER in my life have I seen beauty like that.

Our trip had been in the works for at least 9 months, thanks to supportive husbands who knew a girls-only trip would be soul medicine for their wives on a thousand different levels.

Tira and I stopped on the sides of roads and took pictures. We visited waterfalls and ate at fun restaurants and chilled at the hot springs and got massages and took 4 wheel drive trails that were… harrowing… to say the least.

Yes, we went with a guide, but seriously: #dontlookdown.

And the silent, untouched beauty at the top of those mountain passes– I lack words, y’all. It moved me so deeply.

Even just walking the streets of Ouray, I kept losing my balance, ’cause it seems that walking and looking up {and forward and backward and all around} at the same time are kind of hard to do.

But dang. The beauty was all. around. And it was epic. As was time spent sitting together and talking, and talking, and talking… and laughing as undignified-ly as possible. Yup. Soul medicine. Those few days were incredibly sweet and restorative for my heart.

And THEN. Fast forward to this past Thursday at 11:40 AM: My buddy Amber flies in from Seattle, and after years of history and countless trips to pick up and drop off friends at DIA, I promptly forget how to get to passenger pickup on the West side. It takes me 3 times circling back around and re-entering the airport terminal area to finally end up in the right spot, but when I finally make it, oh man, I could hug that girl and just never, ever, EVER let her go.

Amber spent the better part of 4 days and 3 nights hangin’ with the Butler crew, and suffice it to say she witnessed more of my daily “mom-life” in those days maybe than anyone has experienced in person, ever. I found it incredibly vulnerable, my kids being disobedient and scrapping with each other every other second, me trying to coach and correct and connect and discipline and throw laundry in the wash and do it all with some shred of sanity and kindness… and Amber bearing witness to ALL our crazy.

Holy moly.

And she was the kindest, most gracious witness, y’all. So validating to me and so sweet to my people. She is such a gift, and I lack vocabulary to describe how deeply her quiet presence impacted my heart. How it brought healing in places I didn’t know I needed it.

And also? You guys, we rafted. Boo-yah.

Just Amber, me, and a buncha peeps we didn’t know, including a guide. For both of our first time in at least a decade. In crazy high water. Intermediate trip — class 3 and 4 rapids. With wetsuits and life jackets and f-f-f-freezing-fresh snowmelt and the whole bit. And it. was. awesome. At the risk of over-using the word, EPIC. Kind of life-alteringly so.

Filled my heart with glee and gratitude, getting to adventure with my soul sista in the mountains of my beloved Colorado.

I sent Amber back to Seattle last night and gosh, I ache for her presence already. I don’t know when I’ll see her again, but I’m choosing to be grateful for continuing Voxer conversations, memories made, and a soul-friendship that runs even deeper than before, if that’s possible.


The clouds slow me down tonight, steer my focus from working out to just breathing in beauty. I walk down the river a ways, plant myself on a rock, and stare until the fiery mountains of fluff turn darker shades of blue and gray, and periodic flashes of heat lightning punctuate the evening sky.

I want to absorb those clouds. Want their beauty to somehow become a part of me. I need it badly tonight, I think.

Because, as always, there are things I can’t say in this space. Like most online writers, I navigate life on this fine, sometimes indistinguishable line of saying enough but not too much, because some stories aren’t exactly mine to tell, but they intersect and impact my own story in significant ways.

So I’m wondering — could I just ask y’all for your prayers? I would be so thankful if you’d hold me before the Lord.


The darker the clouds, the more visible the lightening.

I ponder the facets of God tonight as the vivid sunset colors fade. How every side of His face is beauty itself. Every. single. facet. of who He is and how He loves. The vivid, fiery colors of glory, and the darker ones, too.

And how every season of the soul comes bearing some form of beauty, bearing Him — even {and especially} those seasons that wrench your heart. How the hardest days come bearing gifts less easily uncovered, but so deeply transformative and profoundly, gut-wrenchingly sweet.

He is so kind. And so beautiful. Every side of His face. Every season of His love.

I stand a while longer by the river tonight because I can’t quite tear my eyes away from the darkened clouds and the flashes of lightning within them.

After I’ve absorbed as much as I can of the beauty within the darkening sky, I’m surprised to find myself shored up a little more inside. A little more wrapped in peace. A little more still, more hidden in Him.

And I take off running toward home.

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