• Dana L. Butler

On bringing weakness as an offering {a friday story}


Friday morning gets off to a rough start.

Both kids are extra, extra high-maintenance, and my irritability level is high. I speak to my sweet boy more harshly than I should, and I find myself apologizing to him twice before lunch time {and probably should have apologized a couple times more, if I’m honest}.

I’ve spent the entire week fighting off a cold and winning, but my immune system decided it was through protesting, and sickness finally nailed me on Wednesday afternoon.

So my sinuses are throbbing and I’m blowing my nose every other minute or so (sorry if I’m grossing y’all out), and I’m leading worship tonight for the prayer meeting that will be the culmination of our church’s week of prayer and fasting.

Friday late morning finds me pulling myself up by the bootstraps — or by the little loops on the tops of my galoshes, to be exact — and wrangling my littles through melting snow, into our minivan. A few minutes later we’re making our way through Target, where I try hard not to sound like an exhausted, frustrated, worn-thin mama. (Speaking of pretense. Ahem.)

Thankfully, my kids are peaceful for the moment. I wander the aisles in search of the few things I need, and my mind wanders to tonight’s time of worship and prayer. I mentally sift through the songs I’m planning to lead, and I try for maybe the 6th time today to wrangle my heart into the “right” position to help cultivate an atmosphere conducive to encounter with Jesus.

The “right” position? What does that even mean?

Nevertheless, I try.

And then I catch myself, and these heart-whispers rise to the surface, reminding me over and over that Jesus says I can bring my weakness before Him as part of my offering, that it’s in these raw places that He wants to make His glory known.

And yes, self-control is an obvious necessity if I’m going to honor Him in my parenting (not to mention communicating honor to small hearts). But I also don’t have to shove all my ugly into some corner closet within my soul in order to bring Him a pleasing sacrifice of worship.

And actually? He prefers me this way. Raw. Aware of my need. Honest with myself and before the One who made me, weak spots and all.

We grab hotdogs at Target because there is no way I’m going home and making lunch on a day like this. So we load up and head home with full bellies, and do my chilluns want to take naps today? Um, nope. No. They do not.

If I had enough hair to grab hold of, I’d be wanting to pull it out, y’all. Because even with Jesus having bathed my heart in such precious truth in the Target aisles, my frustration level is still through the roof.

The afternoon wears on, and suffice it to say, I’m repenting and repenting to Jesus because I just cannot seem to muster up a heart of peace and gratitude today.

Interesting, I think. How He so often asks me to lead — particularly in a worship capacity — when I feel weakest.

It’s not till I’m throwing on some makeup and a cute scarf and preparing to run out the door to be there early that I realize — *that* time of month is approaching, and it’s entirely likely that *that* is the culprit for a minimum of 50% of my had-it-up-to-here state of heart.

I sigh, partially with relief that I’m not going straight up cray-cray, and partially with frustration that hormones can just do me in like that sometimes.

I thank Stan profusely (something like, “you are SO my knight in shining armor”) and leave him home to get the kids ready — he’ll bring them to church in a bit.

I try to use my drive time to decompress. To still my heart before Him. I’m only a little successful.

I arrive at the church building, fumble my way around a sound system I’m still learning to operate, and breathe prayers. Just let me worship before You alone. For Your glory. Bring Your manifest presence. Move on our hearts, Holy Spirit. Have Your way….

I find myself thanking Him that despite my having crammed oh, so much failure into this day, He is committed to encountering the hearts of His people.

To encountering me.

I enter into worship just as deeply in need of Him as anyone else in the room. Hungry. Broken. Raw.

And y’all? He is there. He’s moving in that place, softening hearts — His nearness is tangible and sweet.

I find myself dismantled as I strum chords and sing my heart. Performance and perfectionism are falling to the ground, and there’s nothing else that matters except being poured out as an offering to Him, whatever it looks like. Except ministering to His heart.

****

I drive home late. Stan and the kids have long since gone home, and my littles are snoozing soundly by the time I arrive. I sneak in, kiss the world’s most adorable cheeks, and chat with my incredible man.

And as I’m putting away dishes and preparing to wholeheartedly embrace my pillow, I realize that somewhere in those moments of bringing my entire raw, bare heart before the throne and leading out of my weakness, my insides have been rearranged. Set right again.

I didn’t need to have it all together in order to come before Him — yet when I came before Him in the midst of my brokenness, He knit me back together inside.

He covered my brokenness, and He filled me with awe.

I crawl into bed, silently thanking Him for heart-safety — for freedom to be my truest self before Him and before people in this place. I thank Him for peace, for steadiness of heart after a long, long day.

For this sweet, almost accidental byproduct of spilling strength and weakness and adoration, all intermingled, at His feet.

Before I fall asleep, I throw up a quick Facebook status:

Heart = full.

And it is.

{Sharing my heart with sweet friends in Lisha’s community tonight.}

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