Day 24: An Open Letter from a Mom of Littles [Why I Need You To Just Come Over]

Rooted Final 500 x 500

So it’s no secret that I’m a mom of 2 amazing small people.

And even though I feel like my heart is fully alive (most days) and I’m embracing this season in all its fun and intensity?  Parenting a baby with acid reflux plus trying to consistently parent a sweet, all-boy almost-3-year-old is one heck. of a lot of work.

Getting out of the house takes more energy and get-it-all-together-ness than I feel like I possess some days.

So I’m blessed when my friends who are also in this Raising Littles season come over (or I pull my crew together and head to their place) and we combine our respective chaoses.

We rarely get to complete a sentence during those times.  But listening to our kids belly laugh as they learn to play together makes our hearts swell, and stopping to referee the occasional (okay, frequent) toddler-throw-down makes us shake our heads, smile, and enjoy one another all the more.

love it.  It’s a sweet season these days with my fellow moms-of-littles.

BUT-

I need you, too.

You who are maybe in your late teens or 20′s or 30′s or 40′s or 50′s and livin’ the single life.

OR – You who are married but don’t yet have children.

OR – You whose children are older and in school or have completely grown and flown.

Yup – I need you.

And I know I don’t say it often enough, but I want you in my life.

Now.  Before I come off sounding lonely, I’ll just come out and say it – I’m for sure not.  I’m an introvert.  An outgoing one, but definitely an introvert.  I really like my alone time.

But more and more these days, I’m realizing that I need you.

I so love our home - I've put my heart into making it my own.

I want you to come sit in the big puffy chair in my living room and chat with me every once in a while, during these long days while my hubby’s at work.

[Or, more realistically, to not sit - but to follow me around and talk to me while I sweep up toddler crumbs and pour milk into plastic cups with twisty straws.]

I want you to laugh with me at my kids’ quirks and enjoy them maybe, for a minute, almost as much as I do.

[And possibly to laugh at with me when I stick my cell phone in the fridge or put the milk in the pantry.  Not saying I ever do stuff like that.  But, hypothetically - you know.]

I want you to drink iced coffee with me and share your heart and life and victories and struggles- in the midst of my messy/noisy/beautiful-but-mundane days.

Please Understand

And please don’t be offended or feel un-cared-for when I have to say, “Sorry – just a second,” and deal with the needs of a kiddo 12 times in about as many minutes.

Or when I leave to change a diaper and come back having completely forgotten what we were talking about.

[And when I do forget?  Please remind me.  You can even smile and say, "Sooooo, back to ME," and I'll love you for it because it means you're confident that I genuinely desire to hear your heart even though my focus is pulled in a thousand directions all at once.]

Thanks for being patient with me.  Thanks for taking the time to know me – and let me know you – in this season of my life. Thanks for asking me questions and waiting while I wrangle my sleep-deprived brain and mouth to form the words of an answer.

Thanks for digging and inquiring and mining the deep things God’s put in my heart.  For believing they’re still in there even when they get buried under piles of dirty laundry. Thanks for loving me well in this season.

Because I Care Deeply

And about this season: it will pass. All-too-quickly, actually.

And one day I’ll once again be able to meet you for coffee at an actual coffee shop and we’ll have conversations that aren’t constantly interrupted. I’ll be able to really zone in on your heart and ask you all the profoundly insightful questions that I always wish I’d thought to ask when you were here, sitting in my puffy chair [or following me around - bless your heart].

But for now? Please come over to my house.  And please sit in that chair and talk to me, and let me talk to you while I fold laundry and feed bottles and change poopy diapers.

8.28.13(2)

And know that I absolutely will come across as distracted at times while we’re together. And that I really don’t like that, because I hate the thought of communicating a lack of value for your words.  Your life.  Your heart. Your friendship.

But please know that my distractedness does not – NOT – mean you’re not dear to me.  That I don’t love you. That I don’t enjoy spending time with you.

Or that I don’t really want you to say “Soooo, back to ME” 23 times per hour if necessary, when the oven timer goes off and my little guy needs a snack and baby girl spits up, and whatever we’d previously been talking about falls right out the back of my brain.

I care about you.  Deeply.

So come over, please.

Because This Is Sacred

And really?  This season of mommying little ones?  Of wiping noses and spit-up?  Of singing the ABC’s and roaring around the house like a dino?

It’s sacred.  A crazy, chaotic, awe-inspiring, character-building gift from God. A place of Divine encounter.  Grace.

But it so often goes unseen by anyone but Him.

8.28.13(1)

And can I just tell you – it means so very much to me when you come into my house and my life and really see.  When you acknowledge- either with words or just by your attentive presence- that this season’s hard, and that I’m living it well before Him – failures and all.

And this compassionate witnessing of my life?  And your talking and asking and reminding me that I’m still me and all that’s inside me hasn’t been lost in this season of crazy? It’s sacred too.  Just you being here.  Being a blip of community for me in the midst of my days.

I’m not always aware of how much I need it. But I do. So please come.

Invite yourself if I don’t invite you.  Please.

Be with me for a little while in the crazy-beautiful chaos that is my life as a mom of littles.

In case I’ve forgotten to say it to you personally- you are so much more than welcome in my world.

Oh – one more thing: I don’t hate Starbucks, and I don’t often get to darken the door of one.

Sooooo, if you happened to swing by there on your way to my place and grab me a grande-one-pump-peppermint-white-mocha?  I might kiss your feet upon your arrival.

Maybe.

Just sayin’.

BUT- Starbucks or no – please just come over.

I so want you in my life.

~Dana

PS - I wrote this from my heart and out of my own life-circumstances.  Obviously. :)  But I’m genuinely hoping that it speaks to, and from, the hearts of other mamas in similar life stages to mine.

If this resonates with you, why not pass it on?  People need to know – to be outright told - that we need them.

***Resurrecting this post from the archives today because it is one of my all-time favorites – and it rings true for me in this season as much as it did a little over a year ago. Thanks for grace while I’m away at Allume.***

Posted in Community, Home and Family Management, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Parenting, Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Day 23: How ’bout You Be Still?

Hola, my beloved friends!

Today finds me on a plane, flying to South Carolina for Allume! I’ve been looking forward to this for over a year, and am so thankful for my always-supportive hubby who’s parenting solo for a few days while I’m gone. I covet your prayers for Stan and for my kiddos while I’m away, and that Jesus would divinely orchestrate conversations and details for me at the conference.

While I travel today, I’m bringing you words I wrote a few days ago (and… ahem… a total photo dump), and this might be one of my favorite posts I’ve written in quite a long time.

Rooted Final 500 x 500

It’s 4:15 in the afternoon.

The kids and I load up Isaac’s roller skates, our picnic blanket, sandwiches, chips, and bananas. We head out to Liberty Memorial, quite possibly our family’s numero uno fave spot to hang in the entirety of Kansas City.

photo 1-4

photo 2-6

The trees are every shade of yellow, orange, and red imaginable, and I struggle to stop photographing their brightness. The ground around several of them is already carpeted with beauty, and the expansive lawn stretches out before us, just begging to be frolicked on.

photo 3-5

photo 1-6

photo 5-4

Isaac plays his 4 year old version of hide-n-seek behind the trees — yells, Mom, come find me!” as he races from the backside of one tree to the backside of the next, pretending I can’t see exactly where he’s going.

Maia and I run after him, sneak around trees and “find” him. Tickles and laughter explode, and passersby grin at our wild mirth.

We make our way up toward the monument itself, and it seems like every conversation we pass is about one subject: THE ROYALS. 

Twelve plus years of my adult life I’ve lived in this city, and we have never come close to a World Series. Not remotely. And I marvel a little at how fun it is that in our last few months here in KC, our baseball team is kicking some serious tale.

photo 4-4

photo 2-4

I set Maia free from her stroller and she toddles around, climbing up stairs, exploring the monument, which I imagine must look absolutely, otherworldly gargantuan to my 34-inch-tall little bean.

And I can’t quite make out what he’s saying, but I hear Isaac quietly encouraging Maia as she makes her way up a set of stairs to where he’s standing. “…..because you’re my baby sister.” Funny how easy it is to utterly melt my mama heart.

unnamed-1

photo 1-5

photo 5-2

photo 4-3

Stan gets off work and drives to meet us after an hour and fifteen minutes or so. We spread a blanket out on the grass, and when Isaac sees Stan coming he does a happy dance right there in the midst of our picnic, then takes off running across the grass to be swept up in his daddy’s embrace.

Stan’s smile is visible from afar, approaching the 3 people who will always be more ecstatic to see him than anyone else in the world.

We chow on turkey and cheese sandwiches, hear about each others’ days, and relish the sunset and the perfect temperatures.

I help Isaac pad up and practice skating with his new birthday roller skates, and then we pack up and head back home for baths and bed. With Maia snoozing soundly, Stan sits down in the rocker in Isaac’s room to read him a few Bible stories.

photo 2-5

For a minute, my brain is buzzing with all the things I could be getting done during the 5 or 6 minutes they’ll spend reading. I very nearly jump up and run downstairs to be productive, but — and this has really never happened to me before in this way, at this time of day — Jesus stops me in my would-be tracks.

Dana? How ’bout you be still a few minutes?

The prompting is so strong that time almost feels suspended and His presence is suddenly palpable.

photo 3-4

Holy. The moment is holy.

So I sit there, on the carpet, back against the wall of my son’s room, and I listen.

And it takes a minute or so for it to dawn on me exactly what I’m hearing from the rocking chair where my boy sits on his daddy’s lap:

Jesus told Martha, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it won’t be taken from her.”

The words land heavy on my heart — the kind of heavy that comes when I know in my gut that God is drawing my attention to something. That He’s connecting truths and experiences in my soul.

Remember, Dana. Mary. The heart of Mary.

Yes, Lord. Yes.

The heart of the one who chose to sit at her Master’s feet when protocol would have dictated that she run crazy and do, do, do. Mary was countercultural, even offensive, in her determination to be near Him. To sit at His feet and hear His heart.

While Stan and Isaac keep reading, a hush falls over my own heart. I close my eyes on Isaac’s bedroom floor, and I whisper to Him my yes.

Yes, Jesus. Keep my heart. Slow me down — just keep drawing me to your feet — and I’ll consider all else a loss for the sake of knowing You.

_________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

If you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Attending to His Presence, Encountering God in the Beautiful, Family Moments, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Day 22: When Jesus Invades Your Ordinary Motherhood {a story that’s beyond precious to my heart}

Rooted Final 500 x 500

These are ordinary days. Days of nose wiping and grilled cheese making and sibling spat refereeing.

Days of giggles and cuddles, kisses and correction. Of heart shepherding and soul shaping.

As a Jesus-loving mom, you try and you try to rightly reflect the heart of the Father to these precious souls that’ve been entrusted to you, because you long for their hearts to grasp how long and high and wide and deep — how extravagant is His love for them.

You teach and instruct and guide, and you hug away a zillion tears.

Then you grow frustrated because they’re once again ignoring the words that are comin’ out of your mouth, and the words that come out land harsher than you planned.

Some days you love well. Other days you fail epically.

Most often, you do both — multiple times in the same day.

And you confess and confess and confess your need for Jesus to empower your parenting because there is no. way. on. earth. you can do even a halfway decent job stewarding these sweet, fierce little people apart from His supernatural help.

Some days you feel His empowerment. Other days feel more like mere skin-of-your-teeth survival, and part of you wonders how your ordinary motherhood is really going to accomplish much of eternal value.

And then….

And then there are the moments when the Holy Spirit just breaks right in. When He tangibly invades and inhabits all your trying and failing and getting back up and trying again.

When you’ve disciplined your son and you’re sitting on the couch talking with him about how important it is to be kind to his little sister–

And out of nowhere he wails, “I NEED Jesus to forgive my sins!”

And you’re dumbfounded, because although you’ve shared pieces of the Gospel with him in many and varied openhearted moments, that topic hadn’t been on your radar in this particular conversation. Not remotely.

So you throw up a silent cry for the Holy Spirit’s help, and you try, however haltingly, to guide this wide open 4-year-old heart into a deeper understanding that yes, in fact, he does need Jesus to forgive his sin.

That he needs a Savior, that Jesus died to save him from the ultimate consequences of his sins, that he gave his life so we wouldn’t have to be separated from God by our sin, so that he could come and make his home in our hearts and we could be with him forever and ever.

He listens, asks questions, sobs out, “I need Jesus to forgive me,” and the Spirit’s movement on his heart is tender and apparent.

So you ask him, “Buddy, do you want to pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, to come in and be in charge of your heart?”

And he nods this teary-eyed yes, says he wants to pray on. his. own, and with eyes looking toward the ceiling, weeps this prayer of Jesus, please forgive me for my sin. Please forgive me, Jesus! Thank you for dying so I could be close to you… Please be in charge of my heart and be my Savior….”

And you hug your boy and marvel at the holiness of the moment, at the commitment of Jesus to your little one’s heart. At the Holy Spirit’s tender power to soften a heart and bring gentle conviction and understanding to one so young.

And you grin and rejoice and tell your boy that Jesus is inside his heart now, that Jesus will never leave him, that he is his best friend forever and ever.

That He wants to help him do what’s right, help him be kind to his baby sister, that there’s forgiveness now for every wrong thing because that’s what Jesus died for — to make his little heart clean.

Tears turn to smiles, and then to outright excitement that his heart belongs to Jesus now.

So you call Daddy and you call Gigi and Grandpa, and Nana and Grandpa, and your little mister tells them all this excited, jumbled version of how Jesus died on the cross so we could be close to Him and how he asked Jesus to forgive his sins and be in charge of his heart.

Family members rejoice — his daddy most of all — and you breathe prayers of profound awe because your son, in this mystical exchange of death for life, is now somehow your spiritual brother too, and this door has been opened for the Holy Spirit to come in and shape and mold and introduce Himself facet by facet for eternity to the heart of this small, budding God-lover that you so wildly adore.

photo-21

And you shake your head in wonder at how great is this Father who moves in and takes right over, who captures your child’s heart in the midst of your imperfect, ordinary motherhood.

And you thank Him, because despite all your falling short in your shepherding of your boy’s heart, the Good Shepherd is wholeheartedly committed to his deep-unto-deep process of shaping your son.

And you can rest in that Divine commitment. Ordinary-ness and imperfection and all.

________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Encountering God in the Beautiful, Family Moments, Freedom From Perfectionism, Home and Family Management, Learning Authenticity, Motherhood is Funny, Parenting, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Day 21: All Good Things Cast Shadows

Rooted Final 500 x 500

Monday morning comes early. So early, in fact, that I’m nearly unable to keep my eyes open as I try to drag thoughts out of my head and give them air in my morning pages.

I scribble ’round and ’round how exhausted I am, how I don’t feel like writing morning pages today. I pep talk myself: C’mon, Dana. Keep… going. 

I make it through my shower and downstairs to where coping skills await me in the form of coffee. Kiss Stan g’bye as he heads out the door, eat some breakfast, feed Maia some bites of omelette, and put my slightly sniffly, fussy girl down for an early morning nap.

photo 1-8

All the while, the thoughts running through my mind are around my music and the releasing of it into the world and the question that hadn’t even occurred to me before I sang that first song into my iPhone video camera a couple weeks ago: What changes might this bring for me? What doors might Jesus choose to open? Any? None at all? 

I marvel at the intricate, intimate detail of God’s goodness, wondering what He has planned, vacillating between trusting Him almost entirely, and feeling the weight of a thousand fears. Wavering between finding my identity in Him, and an acute awareness of these gaps that remain in my identity — gaps that manifest in the form of this fear that I won’t have human approval.

Or… that I will.

photo 4-5

I make my way downstairs after laying my girl in her crib, and I discover something amazing: the best way to get Isaac to play for an extended period of time by himself? Ask him to clean up his toys in the playroom, and tell him it needs to be done before he’ll be allowed to watch a movie.

My just-turned-4-year-old decides playing sounds more fun than cleaning (shocker), grabs car carrier truck and rescue helicopter and a million smaller vehicles, and plays totally on his own for nearly an hour and a half. Granted, he’s in clean-up avoidance mode, but he’s having such a great time that I decide to leave well enough alone.

So my girl sleeps, my boy entertains himself, and I start a load of laundry.

And then — I do something I never do while either of my kids are awake: I plop down on my couch, and I read a book.

It’s An Altar in the World, and while the entire book is rich so far, I find myself turning over and over this one phrase in my heart: All good things cast shadows.

photo 3-6

I contemplate the shadows cast by the good things in my life… the shadows cast by my strengths.  I circle ’round the realization that the more I follow God’s nudges in moving toward toward the things I know I’m made for, the more my strengths seem to highlight my weaknesses.

How they bring my broken places right to the surface so I’m divinely held in this place of acute awareness of the depth of my need.

And this awareness, I know, is an invitation to intimacy with the Almighty — a drawing to press my weak places into His heart yet again, to move forward into whatever lies before me, leaning into Him as I go.

And the goodness of this God who paints beauty on the backdrop of weakness — it undoes me all over again today.

_________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

If you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Encountering God in the Messy, Learning Authenticity, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Day 20: In Which Community Is Rich {and an apology to my email subscribers}

Rooted Final 500 x 500

This past weekend was one that lent itself to richer fellowship than Stan and I have experienced in awhile.

We sat over barbecue around our dining room table and caught up on friends’ lives and stories and prayed for one another.

I sat across a Panera table from a friend and we shared the deep places of our souls, of our heart’s journeys. I rambled. A lot… because this is the kind of friendship where the deep places and the not-quite-solidified-yet places are safe to come out and be known.

Then Stan and I sat over (more) coffee and pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with still more dear friends and enjoyed our 2 kids and their little one. We talked around painful heart-lessons learned in this season and the airing of those things was medicine to our souls.

We took our kids to a pumpkin patch, and try as I might, I got not a single Christmas-card-worthy family photo. Ha. Thwarted by my kids’ kid-ness.

We had such a sweet time together though– until we got back in the car and experienced the Epic Meltdown of the Century, complete with both kids yelling and crying. But Stan and I were able to remain fairly lighthearted, so I s’pose that was a victory in and of itself.

Also? I read and responded to a number of comments on the new song I shared yesterday, which, if you missed (or if you’re an email reader and I once again neglected to provide you an easy link to view the video – please forgive me!), you can find here.

You guys and your support and encouragement of my art and my heart – you simply undo me.

All of this to say — I’ve not found much time to write this weekend, and this week as I prepare for Allume, my posts may be a bit on the shorter side.

BUT.

By God’s grace, I will continue to show up here. Because I believe He’s in this. Because I value what He’s doing in my heart, the ways He’s stretching me and whispering inside me over these 31 days. And because I deeply appreciate y’all’s companionship here.

Many blessings on your Monday, my friends. So thankful for you all.

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

If you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Allume, Community, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Music | 4 Comments

Day 19: Singing for You Again {The Way You Love}

Rooted Final 500 x 500
Happy Sunday, my friends! Today I’m sharing another song with you, written by yours truly. I give you a bit of the story behind the song on the video, so I’ll spare you that here.

I’ll tell you though, that it’s been interesting this week to see how fear has reared its head for me in the wake of sharing last week’s song. The questions have had their moments of running rampant in my mind and heart — questions of ”what if you can’t do that again?” and “what if your next song (and the one after that, and the one after that…) doesn’t impact hearts to the same degree?”

It’s Friday night as I prepare this post, and today, I was able to get still and quiet before the Lord — enough so that my fear was calmed, covered by the reality of His love and my identity in light of it.

And finally, this afternoon, I was able to sit and play this song for you out of a more deeply grounded place in my heart.

And for that — for His faithfulness to root and ground me in Love yet again — I’m so very thankful.

So. Without further ado…

The Way You Love

The Way You Love

I– just wanna love you
I– just wanna pour my heart out
I– just wanna love you
I– just wanna pour my heart out

And worship you
For who you are to me

And I– I just wanna come, God
Right now, simply bringing you all my devotion
And I– just wanna come, God
Right now, simply bringing you all my devotion

And all else fades
Away–
Under your gaze
And all else fades
Away–
Under your grace

Chorus:
Because the way you love me
Overwhelms my heart
And all this beauty
Speaks of who you are
And the way you love
The way you love
The way you love

©Dana Butler, 2011
Disclaimer/Copyright

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

P.S.  I will be sharing this post with my friends in Lisha and Kelli’s lovely communities.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Creativity, Give Me Grace, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Unforced Rhythms, Writing | 30 Comments

Day 18: My Heart for You Today {annnd Sunday comes ’round again…}

A blessing for your Saturday, my dear friends:

Rooted Final 500 x 500

In the midst of the hustle and bustle, or the resting, or the playing,
may you find yourself hushed by this holy pause.

May His whispered affection reverberate down to your very core,
where you are intimately known
seen
affirmed
defined
embraced
by Perfect Love.

May you find your every fountain in His heart alone.

photo 1-7unnamed-2

PS. Tomorrow is Sunday, which means I’ll be introducing another of my songs to you here — another raw, unedited invitation into my living room and my heart. As always, your presence means more to me than words.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus | 4 Comments

Day 17: In Which I’m Requesting Your Prayers

Rooted Final 500 x 500Day 17. New post.

Must… type… words.

Y’all, it’s official. Maybe.

I’m {possibly} running out of words.

Today’s the first day I’ve sat down to write a 31 Days post and instead of feeling inspired to write words, felt inspired to take a nap.

Or write a song. Not sure which.

Honestly, I’m tired. Vulnerability fatigued, perhaps. Word-wrangling fatigued. Soul-excavating fatigued.

I’ve loved the last 16 days because writing so consistently has kept me so very awake inside. Kept the eyes of my heart wide open for Him inside me and coming out through me and present all around me.

But pouring out my soul here day-in and day-out is a challenge, and yup, I’m finally feeling worn thin.

And yet my heart is full, because y’all have been so kind to me.

I share my music, and you celebrate my heart and my art. I confess my fear of my creative rivers running dry, and you encourage me, tell me you believe in me, remind me I’m not alone in this fear.

Solidarity. It’s a gift, and most days I’m not aware how much my soul needs it.

*****

This morning, I clean up messes, dress littles, and herd us all out the door to Little Monkey Bizness. It’s medicine to this mama’s heart to see my kiddos play hard with other kids, and our time this morning does not disappoint.

Isaac hooks up with another little boy and a slightly older girl, and the three of them run around, climbing and sliding, giggling and pretending. In this season of less-than-normal amounts of community for us, the companionship is every bit as sweet to his heart as it is to my watching eyes.

We make the trek home, eat a quick lunch, and — sigh. Nap time is a thing of beauty.

I wash a few dishes, clean up a puddle (a result of Maia’s realization of the fact that she can now reach items on the dining room table), and sit down at my computer.

And as I think ahead to the next few days’ blog posts, it’s on my heart to ask y’all for your partnership in prayer.

Would you ask Jesus to lead me in which of my songs to share? In what heart words to continue to write in this space?

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a quick, simple prayer for your weekend, like I did last Saturday. Then on Sunday I’ll share my next new song (via unedited iPhone video again, of course).

Also — final thought: In the second half of next week, I’ll be headed out east (via plane instead of car this time – thank you Jesus!) for Allume. I am so excited, y’all, because I will get to throw my arms around fellow creatives who’ve become dear to my heart, but whom I’ve not yet met in person.

I would love your prayer, too, that Jesus will keep my family and me healthy leading up to my trip, and that He’ll even now be setting up divinely orchestrated conversations with women I’ll meet there.

I don’t know what He has planned for my trip, but I trust that it’s good. If I can authentically connect at a heart level with several friends — either new or already-established friendships — I’ll consider Allume a win. It’s all I’m after.

I’m asking Jesus to allow me to whisper truth, identity, healing into the tender places of a handful of hearts. Asking that I’ll be fully present to those He puts before me, that I’ll continually have an ear out to what He might want to speak, how He might want to move in various conversations. That I’ll deeply see and hold space for stories and souls.

I would love your partnership in prayer around that, friends. And also that I’ll receive whatever He has for me during those few days.

Also {gulp}, I’m bringing my guitar. I’ve had several people request that I bring it, though I don’t know if/how there will be opportunities for me to play/sing. But there has been a request for a singalong. So… we’ll see what happens.

Okay. Annnnd this is the most randomly practical post I think I’ve ever shared in this space. But these are the things that are rolling around in my head and heart today, and here I am, laying them before you.

Again.

And now… moving into the living room to break out my notebook and pen and guitar.

Much love to you today, my precious friends. Thank you for the way you see me, desire me, believe in me.

This is Day 17 of a 31-day series. You can find the rest of the series here.

Also, if you’d like to follow along so you don’t miss any of my 31 Days posts, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Allume, Creativity, Learning Authenticity, Uncategorized, Writing | 8 Comments

Day 16: Can I Make a Confession?

Rooted Final 500 x 500Hey, can I make a quick confession, my friends?

There’s this fear that’s cropped up in my heart in the last few days.

I share my music publicly (albeit totally raw) for what’s really the first time ever, and the response all at once blesses me and frightens me.

I’m so thankful Jesus has touched hearts through my small offering… but what if that’s all I’ve got? What if I run out of new ideas?

What if my internal creative river runs dry?

Those are the questions churning beneath my heart’s surface last night as I make dinner, chat with my family, load the dishwasher, clean up a zillion crumbs.

Before I leave the house to run errands, I dig out my old iPhone and charge it for a few minutes. Then I take it with me in the car, and I spend my drive to Target and Whole Foods listening to old voice notes, still buried in my former phone.

Six, seven, eight months ago, I spent many hours during my kids’ naps (which were longer then) just sitting before the Lord, guitar in hand. I’d strum and play and spontaneously sing my heart to Him.

And sometimes, I’d hit that little record button on my phone while I poured out my heart. So last night while I listened to some of those spontaneous songs, I realized — there is a rich pool of creativity here. Of anointing and ideas for the crafting of new music.

Gosh. Even saying that in this space freaks me out, you guys, because I’m so afraid I won’t be able to continue to write songs now that I’ve “come out” to you here.

BUT.

In one of those spontaneous worship sessions in my old voice notes, I sang for 12 minutes straight around the idea of these internal rivers of creativity and power — rivers of Him on my insides, flowing from me.

The water is alive, I sang, over and over, and daggum it, I believe that, y’all.

I believe that rivers of living water will flow from my inmost being. (John 7:38)

And despite the fear, faith is rising inside me. Faith that my Creator is my ultimate creative Source. That He who’s begun a good work in me will complete it. That as I create unto Him, my art is worship. That it glorifies Him. That it delights His heart.

This morning I wake up and get back into the rhythm of spilling my heart into a notebook at the start of my day. Then, picking up my phone, I open my Bible app, and y’all, You Version’s “verse of the day” today?

It’s John 7:38:

“Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within Him.”

Seriously? Jesus, really!?

Sometimes He speaks and it’s straight up unmistakable. This is one of those times.

“Step out, Dana. Move forward in faith, hand-in-hand with Me. I’m leading. I’m opening and closing doors. I’m trustworthy. I’m your Source. From me and through me and back to me are all things.”

All things.

Including, and especially, these creative rivers.

So. I’m still a little afraid, to be honest. But I’m saying yes to Him. Moving forward in creative partnership with the Ultimate Creator.

Gulp. Here we go.

________

This is Day 16 of a 31-day series. You can find the rest of the series here.

Also, if you’d like to follow along so you don’t miss any of my 31 Days posts, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Creativity, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Uncategorized, Writing | 6 Comments

In Which I Bare the Burning of My Soul {with some measure of brevity, believe it or not}

Rooted Final 500 x 500

I skipped my morning pages today.

Stan woke me up, sick and in need of a couple more hours of sleep, so I stumbled downstairs to make coffee and sit with our early-rising little guy instead of sleeping another half-hour and then spilling bleary words into my journal, as is my custom of late.

And while the morning was peaceful (not quiet, for sure — but peaceful), I can already tell a difference in my creativity level today. A difference which by no means frightens me, but definitely heightens my awareness of how true it is that “creativity begets creativity.”

Not sure who first said that, but it is most certainly reality for me. The more mornings find me pouring utterly disorganized words onto ruled pages, the more my heart’s depths seem to rise to the surface, making themselves more readily available for intentional excavation.

So y’all. Getting real with you {again} here.

Sunday’s post, in which I shared one of my own songs with you on video for the first time ever — I’ve been absolutely undone by the response it’s received. Just… dismantled inside.

Laid low.

On my face before Jesus, thanking Him for how He has used my small offering to awaken longing, to usher in His presence as you beautiful folks have listened. As you’ve deeply heard and received and even celebrated my heart poured out through my music.

I am so grateful.

The last couple evenings, y’all, I’ve sat at my computer and continually clasped hand over mouth, heart full to exploding, as you all have overwhelmed me in the best way possible with words of how Jesus has intimately touched and awakened your hearts through my worship.

I said this last night in response to one of the comments on that blog post, but I’ve gotta tell you here today: over and over again as I’m before the Lord these days, I ask Him that my life — my worship, my writing, my authentic presence — would awaken hearts, would provoke longing, would stir this deep, burning desire for intimacy with the Almighty.

That He would increase and I would decrease, and in my decreasing come so utterly alive on the inside that merely seeing me or hearing me or reading me would cause His heartbeat to echo in souls –

Eternity.

Eternity.

Eternity.

Woven into our hearts, this deep-unto-deep burning for what we were all created for — the fiery passion of knowing Him, of intimately knowing His heart, and the fully alive joy of making that Heart known to a world that’s desperately in need of that same holy, pure, white-hot intimacy with their Creator.

And right now my kids are waking up early from naps, so I’m wrapping this post up at a radically short (for me) four hundred eighty-something words… and asking Jesus to somehow make His heart known here today through this royally un-thought-through outpouring.

One final thought: I so love y’all, my friends. I can never thank you enough for the gift of your companionship here. For loving Him beside me, arm-in-arm.

*****

This is Day 15 of a 31-day series. You can find the rest of the series here.

Also, if you’d like to follow along so you don’t miss any of my 31 Days posts, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Creativity, Learning Authenticity, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, This Blog's Mission and Purpose, Uncategorized, Writing | 5 Comments