• Dana L. Butler

On Going Rogue {or: Dawn}


I wave g’bye to Stan and the kids around 8:30 Saturday morning. They’re heading down to his parents’ place in the Springs for the day, leaving me space to purge and reorganize kitchen cupboards.

Well, that, and write lesson plans.

We’ve been part of our county’s electronic school program since the beginning of last semester, have done all Isaac’s schooling from home, with the exception of a couple hours on Monday mornings.

We’ve followed eDCSD’s curriculum, been supervised by Douglas County teachers, the whole deal. It’s a good program. Those guys have bent over backwards to make accommodations for us in light of Isaac’s special needs.

However, a curriculum-related misunderstanding last week in the 2 days prior to the start of our school year got Stan and me talking, pondering.

At first, it genuinely freaked me out. EDCSD was suddenly unwilling to allow Isaac to use the Language Arts curriculum that had been working for him last semester. It was one of a very few aspects of school that were going well for him.

But the email exchange that initially had me almost in tears became the impetus for our quick realization that, though eDCSD had worked for us as we transitioned Isaac from traditional public school last year, we needed a different option going forward.

I spent the winter/spring semester of last year with both kiddos at home, schooling Isaac with eDCSD’s curriculum, on their schedule, and, like I said, being supervised by their teachers. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a  TON of pressure on Isaac and me.

Even taking special-needs-related curriculum adjustments into account, with his attention issues and other emotional and learning-related struggles, finishing work on time was ultra, amazingly stressful.

And then, combine that pressure with the gift-but-also-hardship of running us all here, there, and everywhere, all the time, for this, that, and the other therapy, and yeah. We were a little bit busy.

Anyway, all this backstory is to explain that when it occurred to me that I really CAN be organized enough to homeschool this kiddo, and when Stan and I realized the amount of pressure it would relieve, from Isaac and from me, being able to work at our own pace, according to his needs and capabilities — oh my word, what a no-brainer.

So I joke that we’ve gone rogue. That we’re this renegade homeschooling family. (I’ve always thought of homeschooling as something other people can pull off and do great at, but not me. It’s felt too… I dunno, edgy?)

But seriously, moving forward at a healthy-for-Isaac pace feels so. good.


*****

Friday afternoon finds Isaac and me at his neurofeedback session. Our neurotherapist (whose friendship — side note — has become the sweetest gift from God to me) hooks up his electrodes, checks out his brain activity, and comments immediately on how the numbers that reflect his anxiety and general amped-up-ness have changed. How much calmer his brain looks.

This, after only 2 days of homeschooling Butler-style. Y’all, this could be so healing for him, on so many levels. And to think I almost didn’t choose this road….

Jesus is so kind, the way He interrupts my neatly-planned life.

So I organize our homeschool space, and I breathe deep these late summer mornings as I drive my not-so-little youngest to her exciting first days of Kindergarten at our neighborhood school (which meets Maia’s needs perfectly, and for which I’m beyond grateful).

She’s loving it, y’all. Asking to go to Kindergarten on Saturday and Sunday and everyday. The transition couldn’t be easier so far.

And I’m moving  s-l-o-w  these days. I roll through Language Arts with my boy, send him outside for a 10-minute tree-climbing break, meander around the house grabbing dirty clothes. Never in my entire life have I been so grateful to throw in a load of laundry during my day. (Hashtag: “things you never take for granted again when you literally cannot make ’em happen for months on end.”)

I’m trying lately to pray the Examen in pieces throughout my days. Re-learning how to notice God’s quiet, moment-by-moment attentiveness to me.

Remembering how to slow. myself. down. My raw, still-aching heart. My unending mental to-do’s. Reminding myself to be still.

I’m discovering new life in corners inside me where life had been dormant for a long while.

*****

It’s been forever since I’ve shared and there’s so much I could say here today, but in the interest of this blogpost actually having an end at some point, lemme just say this:

It’s the wildest, coolest thing, how you can stumble through an insanely long season of just barely makin’ it, how life can be painful and so stinkin’ hard, and things can feel dark and unsure and even downright scary… but how He can be with you, right there, the whole time.

Even when you can’t see Him. Even when you wonder a little if He really has got you.

How He steadies your heart with His shepherd’s staff and these barely audible reminders of His faithfulness, all through the darkest nights and the most unremitting storms….

And then, outa nowhere, when you absolutely do not expect it, how the darkness opens up, just peels back on every side, and in an instant, there’s this glistening, golden dawn.

And you’re gulping all this pure, healing air, and all you have needed, His hand has provided. Tangibly. With abundance. Again.

Even when you weren’t looking for it. Even when your faith was running so, so low.

And again, you look behind you and find His hand was at work in the places you couldn’t see an inch in front of your face, and you look inside yourself and see that without fail, His sweetness runs deeper than all that’s bitter. His kindness runs deeper than the deepest pain.

And what He’s carving out in your depths through all the decimated plans, the grief and uncertainty, the day-in, day-out hard, is space to hold more of Himself. To experience more of His kindness.

And His work in the hidden places, in the dark seasons, is good.

Oh you guys, great is His faithfulness. No matter what.

(P.S. Thanks for being here, friends. For always waiting with me through the quiet times. I love y’all with all my heart.)


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