• Dana L. Butler

to the degree that i’m settled in him

My plans for this afternoon are thwarted by a migraine.

Thankfully, the timing coincides with our lovely Genevieve’s 4-hour block of time at our place, so I do a tiny bit of organizing in Stan’s and my room, take my migraine meds, and lie down to see if I can sleep this thing off. (Gen’s our babysitter/nanny extraordinaire — the kids (and I!) absolutely adore her)

My neurologist recently took me off one of my preventative migraine drugs and switched me to a different one. It’s not looking like this one’s gonna cut it for me.

(**Is it okay if I say this here, y’all? — That while I want you to know what’s up with me, I’m not looking for migraine treatment advice? That the options we’ve tried are many and varied, and I’d really just love your prayers and your presence? Thanks for understanding, friends.**)

I wake up a couple of hours later, still head-achey, and still feeling drugged. Bleh. Which, interestingly, is where this attempt at a blog post finds me.

So — consider yourself forewarned — I hereby cannot take responsibility for anything incoherent or otherwise ridiculous that might come out of my mouth. Er, my fingers. (As long as I’m lying back against a pillow, I, for now, have the wherewithal to try and write. We’ll just hafta see how this goes.)


It’s 4-ish in the afternoon, and Isaac quietly opens my door, climbs up on the bed next to me. I haven’t seen him since I dropped him off at school at 8:30 this morning, so I completely ignore the fact that his snow boots are all over our bedding. I could cuddle this kiddo forever.

His attention span at this moment isn’t long enough for more than a couple of minutes of snuggle time, so I relinquish him to Stan for a bath.

Maia comes in next, bearing legos, climbs up and sits a while, building stuff and chatting intermittently. This girl is growing up, y’all. Less toddler and more kid by the day. I love watching her metamorphosis. LOVE it.


Our country is reeling, it seems, after last week’s inauguration and the events of the last few days. I don’t have anything profound to say about it, but I’m watching, waiting, trying to keep a finger on the pulse of God’s heart and intentions for our nation — and for His church, and for me — in this hour.

In all my listening, I’m pretty sure there’s more static than clear revelation, but I lean into Him, trusting, or trying to, at least, and continue to wait. Being close to Him brings peace like I can’t explain.

Settle, Dana. Be still with me. Rest in me.


I have an incredible worship team. Have I told y’all that? I love my peeps so crazy much.

One of our newest members happens to be a pianist (and guitarist, and bassist, and singer, and…) and this past Sunday we decided to experiment with having him play keys, and me leading via voice only.

Sometimes I find myself nervous about how nervous I’m gonna be about how nervous I’m gonna be. All my nerves birth more nerves and those birth still more and– yeah.

So this past Sunday felt like it was gonna be like that. Not having a piano in front of me while I led would be extra out of my comfort zone.


Sunday mornings typically find me awake(ish) between 5 and 5:30, warm coffee in cold hands, sitting by our fireplace, being quiet with Jesus. This past Sunday, I watched the fire flicker as my audio Bible played Psalm 34… and 35… 36… 37 —

I couldn’t bring myself to stop listening.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Who is like you, Lord?

You rescue the poor from those too strong for them.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Do not fret because of those who are evil…. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him….

I could go on and on. Actually, it’s all I can do right now to make myself stop there. The familiar words were balm to this desperate, raw place inside me, drawing me deeper into trust, into dependence on Him.

And while there is nothing certain, nothing remotely predictable about this season, and while everything — or lots of things, at least — that can be shaken quake around me, my heart was still in that moment, just sitting with Him.

Walk with me, Dana. Companion with me through all of this. Let’s do these days together, one step at a time.



I quiet my heart before Him in the early Sunday silence of our church’s auditorium. I put fingers to keys for a few minutes, sing my heart to Him like I haven’t in a while. He whispers peace, holds me steady. Secure.

At the beginning of our service, I pick up my mic, say a few words that I completely can’t remember now, invite my precious church fam into worship, and direct my team to start playing.

We worship for 40-ish minutes, and somewhere around halfway through, I notice: I’m not scared. I’m enjoying the Lord. Eyes on Him. Mostly unselfconscious, which is a complete, total act of God. Gratitude fills my heart.

I could do this leading-but-not-playing thing more often.

We sing Draw Near by Matt Stinton, and the lyrics of the chorus hit me with surprising force and clarity — God is calling me out of myself. Again.

“I’ve made a place for you here, so come on, come on. All things are possible here, so come on, come on.”

He’s beckoning me. Whispering life to the recesses of my soul, and calling those places forth. To the surface. To exposure. Calling me into an even fuller authenticity — to give still more of my true self — in the way I lead. The way I live. Which is, yup, scary. Vulnerable as heck.


You can live wide open like this, Dana, to the degree that you’re settled in me. 


I’m not usually a “God spoke to me and said _______” kind of person. My companionship with Him, I think, is usually more intuitive. His Spirit moves quiet, deep in my gut, in my core, and I try and surrender to that movement. To quietly walk hand-in-hand with Him. I can’t frequently wrap words around precisely what I sense Him speaking to me.

Somehow, this moment, right now, is different. There are words. A few of them, anyway.

I write to discover, to make sense out of what’s happening inside and around me. To grow my own awareness of what Jesus is doing, how He’s moving my heart.

Prior to a couple of weeks ago, I went several months without writing, and I can’t say for sure what’ll happen, of course, but I so want to keep coming back here, to this space. Because I need it. And because it’s life to me, the way y’all hear and receive my heart. The ways He shows Himself to me through the community that happens here.

So. Thanks for listening, my friends, as I’ve only somewhat coherently wound my way around and through and found a few connections between circumstances and Holy Spirit whispers. Your presence here is a gift to me, precious beyond words.

I love you guys. Peace to you tonight. <3

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