• Dana L. Butler

This Achy Breaky Heart, and the Eternal Glory that Outweighs It

I sit down to write this afternoon and out comes a deep sigh.

Soul deep.

Know that old song, Achy Breaky Heart? Would it be cheesy if I told you that’s how I feel these days? Achy and breaky.

I’m fragile – more so than usual.


Until the hundred degree heat that’s descended upon us in the last couple of days, the kids and I were spending most of our days outside digging in dirt, swinging endlessly, and y’all, I re-fell in love with bubbles.

The kids would tire of them and I’d still be blowing, my eyes taking in the swirling colors, choosing, choosing, choosing relentlessly to find beauty in this season.


Stan and I hit the 7 year mark yesterday, and it was a good thing we’d celebrated a few days prior.

I am so thankful for the life I share with this man. For the ways he’s loved my heart to life.

I spent all of yesterday sick in bed, and while I definitely wasn’t thrilled to be sick, I was thankful for the timing — Stan’s parents were in town and he had already planned to take the day off work. So Daddy and grandparents spent time with the kiddos, and I spent time in bed resting and revamping bits and pieces of my blog’s design, and wishing I could write.

But no words came.

So– wanna know a secret? I almost never watch movies. As in, I could probably count on one hand the number of movies I watch in a year. (That is, of course, not counting Elmo and Bubble Guppies and whatever else Isaac’s into any given week.)

But yesterday evening after a full day in bed, I finally decided to watch one. Mr. Holland’s Opus.

First time I’ve watched it in years, and it is entirely possible, y’all, that this is my favorite movie of all time. So I sat in bed watching Glenn Holland’s journey of self-discovery on my laptop screen and being moved to tears by the painful beauty of this story.

That movie touches such deep places inside me and I think I need to roll the storyline around in my heart for a few more days before I’ll be able to wrap words around the way I’m moved by its depth.


We had a showing Saturday morning, our first since our contract fell through. The feedback from it was initially somewhat hopeful, but a weekend of waiting ended with no further expressed interest from the potential buyers.


Our neighbors who’d previously decided never to speak to us again are coming back around lately. Not sure we did anything in particular to make our way back into their good graces; pretty certain it has more to do with the fact that the husband is back, then gone, then back again and things have yet again gotten violent.

Same song, 4th verse. The cycle continues and it’s frustrating and so very sad to watch.


So I wake up this morning all achy and breaky and the weight of the invisible elephant on my chest feels a little bit suffocating.

I try to pray through the heaviness, pour out my heart and all my unanswerable questions, beg for grace to continue wholeheartedly choosing Him, intentionally saying yes to Him in this season.

The waiting (which I somewhat ironically almost spelled  w e i g h t i n g) feels so much more acute now, having tasted the end of this season, followed by hopes smashed and the wait stretching out before us yet again, no end in sight.

I stumble into the shower with no music playing today, which is strange for me, but my heart breathes in the quiet like much-needed fresh air. I make my way downstairs to happy kiddos — and a less-than-happy husband.

Turns out his heart weighs a thousand or so pounds this morning too.

Stan tells me he woke up sad, longing for Colorado, and tried to worship in the midst of the aching. Turned His heart toward the Lord despite the pain and tension. And I contemplate how the Lord is tenderly working these deep things inside each of us, this simultaneous carving out of our two interwoven hearts to hold more of Himself.

The more acute the longing, the more deeply we learn trust. The more painful the tension, the more we learn to hold space for Him on our insides.


Hubby leaves for work and I settle the kids, grab Stan’s Bible, and steal a few minutes alone on the couch.

2 Corinthians chapter 4 has been rolling around in my heart for several days — not any particular verse, just a vague remembrance of the way He met me in that chapter a few months ago. So I turn pages and skim words and phrases immediately pop out at me:

Hard pressed on every side, but not crushed.

Persecuted, but not abandoned.

Struck down, but not destroyed.

My heart grabs onto words about carrying around in our bodies the death of Jesus, so His life may be revealed. About not losing heart because even if we’re outwardly wasting away, inwardly we’re being renewed day by day, and our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Eternal. Glory.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Maia’s asleep and Isaac’s still occupied, so I grab my guitar for a few minutes, strum chords and sing these verses spontaneously to the Lord — to my own soul — because I so desperately need these unseen truths to land like embers in my depths and smolder there through these long days.

I breathe silent prayers of longing to surrender to His unseen work inside me in the waiting. In the desires yet to be fulfilled. Cry out for daily, hourly, breath-by-breath help in fixing my eyes not on the visible temporary, but on the invisible, the holy, the eternal.

On the glory that far outweighs this elephant on my chest.

And maybe I’ve said it over and over in the last 20 or so blog posts, but I don’t know how else to keep this heart alive through the wait, so I’ll pray it again and again:

Oh Christ, I long to fully surrender to your forming of yourself on my insides, your carving out of my deep places to hold more of you.

In all this painful waiting and not knowing, would you settle down inside me still more and just fully make your home in all the rooms of my soul?

I wanna come out of this united with your heart like never before.

{Sharing this post belatedly with my sweet friend Kelli’s community.}

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