• Dana L. Butler

In Which I’m Awkward and Afraid, but I Publish Anyway


I find myself pressed heavy into the couch on Thursday night, heart and body a thousand pounds of grief. I text a close friend in Colorado, pour out my heart to her because Stan’s at work tonight and I need to talk to someone who can handle my raw hurt.

It feels strange – SO uncomfortable – to be in this much pain inside. To be this needy.

I grab my guitar and the song that comes out to Jesus is one I’ve not thought of in years:

I don’t understand Your ways

Oh, but I will give You my song

I’ll give You all of my praise

You hold onto all my pain

And with it You are pulling me closer

Pulling me into Your ways

Now around every corner, and up every mountain

I’m not looking for crowns, or the water from fountains

I’m desperately seeking, frantic believing

That the sight of Your face is all I’m needing….

(Rita Springer – Worth It All)

And I don’t always succeed at turning my heart toward Him in the face of raw pain. But tonight, amidst the hurt that is colliding with my heart at a deeper level than I can put words to, my weak whisper:

Oh, just let me love You well through this. Have your way in my depths. Let this pain be a tool in your gentle hands as you carve me out more deeply inside. Form yourself in me here, in my bleeding places. Give me grace to continue to surrender to your process.

****

If I could just give y’all who walk beside me here a real peek into my raw wrestling in this season….

One of the biggest questions that rolls around in my heart these days is this:

As one who uses public writing as a way to process and file life events inside my soul, how do I navigate these days?

How do I give you an authentic picture of the things that are big in my life and my soul right now, without sharing details that would inappropriately uncover those whose stories intersect with my own? What is okay to share? What isn’t okay? Is it fair to you, my readers, to let you in on how deeply I’m hurting without sharing the details of why?

These are a few of the things I wrestle over and pray through late at night, or when I wake up at 4 AM and can’t go back to sleep.

If I were writing this on Facebook I’d add the hashtag #writerproblems, because yup – this is a common struggle in the world  of we who feel called to wrangle words and publicly articulate our spiritual journeys.

And I confess I don’t yet have any clear answers on these things, so I’m here today, feeling semi-blind as I put one foot in front of the other, one word in front of the other. As I try to do the next thing, try to trust my gut, as I do the thing my heart seems to lean toward.

****

This morning finds me at Panera yet again, and one of the things for which I’m most thankful these days is a sweet babysitter who loves our kiddos and serves our family every Friday morning.

And after an epically short (for me) 493 words or so, I’m already thinking toward closing this blog post and opening my journal, because what else do I really have these days except to allow Him to continue His excavation of my deep places while I grieve?

But before I pick up pen and paper this morning, I want you to know this: I am absolutely confident that I will be okay. My God loves me. My husband adores me. My kids are amazing. We are all physically well, our house is still under contract, and while the process is slow, we will be in Colorado before all is said and done.

The grief runs deep right now, but even more deeply, I trust Jesus’ commitment to healing my broken places, to intimately seeing and understanding me when humans fail to do so.

The times in my history when He’s met me most intimately have been the ones in which my heart has felt utterly shattered. And I resolutely believe that this time will be no exception.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit…. (Psalm 34:18)

I’m thankful for His nearness. I’m ardently loved. And beneath the hurt that churns inside, there is a river of peace that springs from His Spirit, resident in my very core.

And that River? It’s enough for my soul right now.

It really is.

{And this is one of those times when the mere thought of publishing my words makes my heart beat faster, because woah, vulnerable. But I value your companionship here, your sharing of your stories with me, the way you reflect back to me what you hear in my heart… so here I go. [Gulp.] And I thank you so much for grace as I tentatively, awkwardly pour out my heart here in these days.}

**Related: On Tension, Weakness, and Adoring Him from the Floor

PS – Will be sharing these words with my sweet friends in Lisha and Kelli’s communities, on Saturday evening and Monday morning, respectively. So thankful for the way y’all walk with me through my story.

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