• Dana L. Butler

Leading is vulnerable {in which I break through the non-writing fog}

It’s intimidating, this showing up in front of The Blank Screen after weeks of not writing. And the longer I’ve waited, the more I’ve thought I might prefer to just not show up. At least, not any time soon.

So, where’ve I been?

Between the amount of attention my last post received — which was more than usual for me — and the fact that over the last month or 6 weeks I’ve taken on the role of worship pastor for our church family (and even just writing those words makes me feel *insanely* vulnerable), I think I’ve maybe felt the need to hide in a cave.

That, and my life over the last several weeks has been quite possibly busier than it’s ever been. Like, ever.

Between stay-at-home-mom-ing and leading a lot of worship and embarking on a journey of getting to know my worship team members and others within our church family, my spare moments are few and far between. So writing has fallen to the wayside.

There will come a season, maybe a handful of months out, in which my life will be more… regulated, maybe? In which I’ll fall into a more sustainable rhythm. But for now, it’s a flurry of goodness. And I do mean goodness.

Because while I’m worn out a lot of days lately, my heart is full. So, so full.

I am re-falling in love with my church family. Burning with the desire to see creative, Jesus-filled, God-glorifying worship come forth from these beautiful hearts — both on Sunday mornings, and throughout our day-to-day lives as we intentionally live before Him.

I’m burning to see hearts set free, healed, transformed in His manifest presence. And I’m burning to know — to really know — the hearts with whom I’m serving. So, in between diapers and music classes and library trips, my free moments are filled with face-to-face time with worship team members and others in our church family.

And it is good. These budding friendships fill my heart.

I’m repeatedly undone these days because never in my life have I been so profoundly free, so trusted to let my truest heart come out — both in the context of leading worship on Sunday mornings, and in smaller settings — meetings, coffee dates, practices.

And we’re only in the first half of March, but already Unfold is playing out to extremes I never, ever anticipated.

Commence hugest understatement of the century: Leading is vulnerable. Both leading worship, and leading people.

For this recovering people-pleaser, stepping out and confidently proclaiming, “Hey y’all? Let’s walk this way” is quite possibly the most terrifying thing anyone could ask.

Yet He asks. And I take deep breath after deep breath, try to still my shaky nerves, and move forward.


On the Mom Front, I am over and over again brought to the end of myself. I pour out time, focus, presence, and my little people give me run after run for my money. And for my sanity, some days.

More often than I’d like to admit, I fail in my efforts to remain calm and kind. I speak more harshly than I wish I had. I lose my grasp on peace. And I think sometimes I fall into some subtle fear that my sweet ones will still be antagonizing each other and defying my instructions when they’re 25 and 28.


But His whispers always come. Trust my process, love, and rest. I’m not through with my work inside them.

Or my work inside you.

It’s become almost hilarious to me — how every time I’m leading worship for an event that makes me exceptionally nervous (because you guys? I am always nervous. After 14 years of leading worship, I’m still shaking in my boots every. single. time) — my kids are extra challenging, and I am laid low under the awareness of my continual, desperate need for forgiveness. For grace.

For Jesus.

Apart from Him I can do no good thing.

{As in, literally NO. good. thing.}

And it’s when I am utterly weak and desperate and acutely aware of my broken places that He says, Okay. Now. Go. Let’s do this stuff, Dana.

And I have no idea who the heck I am to be placed on a stage and given a microphone.

Yet He comes. Moves. Breathes into my broken offerings, all these outpourings of shaky adoration.

I contemplate a recent conversation with a close friend — about how when we live a lifestyle of ministry, the requirement is living raw. Wide open. And I wonder as I walk around my church building on Sunday mornings, as I prepare to be poured out yet again, if people can see how my heart is gaping open.

I wonder if they can see that I’m bleeding inside — bleeding this bittersweet mingling of still-acutely-felt wounding from the not-too-distant past, and the lovesick worship of one who’s been profoundly met by Him in that hurt. The worship of one who’s simply desperate to see Him come and move and make hurting hearts whole, her own included. To see these ones she dearly loves bathed in the kind of Love that’s perfectly trustworthy and pure.

And I’m not sure how to wrap this up tonight, my friends, but thanks for letting me break through the fog of not having written. I pray I’ve broken through it enough to at least give you an authentic glimpse into my heart in this season.

And I pray that some piece of this offering is used by Jesus to touch something inside of you. To breathe life or healing or a tangible sense of the truth that you’re fiercely adored by your Maker. That you’re pursued, desired — even, and especially, in your weakness.

So much love, my friends. And thank you, as always, for walking beside me here.

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