When buds are breaking

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I walk alone by the river to clear my head after a long day.

Well, that, and to burn off a few of the calories in that Chick-fil-a cookies ‘n cream shake I had for dessert tonight.

That dang shake was worth every pounding step.

As is the sunset. And the mountain view. And the water moving next to me.

I make it home just before dark, chat with my love, and sit to write for the first time in 6 plus weeks. Which is a trip, y’all, in and of itself.

The internal editor is loud after such a long blogging-silence, and I find myself struggling to still my insides, to fall into gentle step with the Spirit’s heartbeat within, let it guide the rhythm of fingers on keys.

What. a. season, y’all.

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I’ve been immersed in making it through, one day at a time. Focused on leaning into Jesus and husband and close friends for what sometimes feels like minute-to-minute doses of strength and perspective.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat.

Each inhale a cry of dependence. Each exhale a cry of surrender. Both to this season, and to Him within it. Moving. Forming. Shaping.

This poem made its way across my Facebook newsfeed the other day, and it has not left my heart alone since. It was originally written in Swedish by Karin Boye, but this English translation by David McDuff moved me in my core.

Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking.
hy else would the springtime falter?
Why would all our ardent longing
bind itself in frozen, bitter pallor?
After all, the bud was covered all the winter.
What new thing is it that bursts and wears?
Yes, of course it hurts when buds are breaking,
hurts for that which grows
and that which bars.

Yes, it is hard when drops are falling.
Trembling with fear, and heavy hanging,
cleaving to the twig, and swelling, sliding –
weight draws them down, though they go on clinging.
Hard to be uncertain, afraid and divided,
hard to feel the depths attract and call,
yet sit fast and merely tremble –
hard to want to stay
and want to fall.

Then, when things are worst and nothing helps
the tree’s buds break as in rejoicing,
then, when no fear holds back any longer,
down in glitter go the twig’s drops plunging,
forget that they were frightened by the new,
forget their fear before the flight unfurled –
feel for a second their greatest safety,
rest in that trust
that creates the world.


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My word for 2015 is Unfold.

I knew it was scary, and I knew it was what Jesus was doing. But I had no clue how it’d play out.

Actually, that’s not completely true. I had ideas. About loving huge and being poured out to see folks encounter the transformative Presence of Jesus. About being a part of a church family where I’d be free to learn, albeit gradually, to bring my whole self, my full voice, my unrestrained heart to the table.

And those things have played out as I’d hoped. Being with our church family here, and particularly pouring into and being so received by my worship team, continues to be profoundly healing and full-on life-altering for me. The sweetest gift.

What I don’t think I could have expected was how this profound joy could be so very present alongside great pain, how it could straight up hurt to unfold with so many watching, while being brought to the utter end of myself by various life circumstances.

All this unfolding of good and gut-wrenching all at once. The pouring out. The bleeding.

I hate to be so vague and so graphic all at once, but I’m thanking you all yet again for grace, friends, because I don’t think I’m ready to share specific details here in this space quite yet.

We are bumping up against some overwhelming mountains in our personal lives, but we’re by no means without hope. We’re pressed but not crushed, and the pressing is straight into His heart.

The pressing breaks me open, provokes further unfolding.

Whom have I in Heaven but You? Earth has nothing I desire besides You.

Gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger. Rich in love.

My portion. My portion. My portion.

These facets of God’s heart are my mantras and they are balm to my soul. I contemplate His scandalous extravagance, and in all the pressing and the stretching and the bleeding and the breaking open, He is wildly good. His tenderness runs deep and sweet.

He heals even while He expands my heart. He covers and comforts and satisfies even while circumstantial struggle lays my insides wide open.

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I can grasp for relief from the pain, but surrendering to Him within my right now life will leave me carved out to hold Him more.

And y’all? I want the More.

I want every. last. thing. that this season can accomplish on my insides.

Re-reading these last few lines, I realize I’ve said essentially the same thing over and over in this space for years and I’m not sure if y’all are tired of it yet or no, but guys, it’s all I’ve got tonight, this heart-cry.

I want it all, Jesus. I so long to live this undignified, ripped open, wholehearted yes to you, in the midst of my right now. By your grace, I will hold nothing back, no matter how much it hurts when buds are breaking.

What you are forming inside me is infinitely beyond worth it — all of it — and this hand-in-hand journey with you is the destination.

It’s the continually deepening awakening, the walking and abiding and drawing near. Again, and again, and again.

This forever-learning to live in perfect step with the God who is pulling me more and more wholly into Himself. Who is tenderly present within the joy and the breaking and everything in between, fiercely committed to satisfying every solitary need of this fragile soul.


Thanks yet again, my friends, for allowing me to write my insides while waiting to share the outsides. Y’all’s gracious receiving of what I’m able to share is such a gift.

To be clear, Stan and I and kiddos are well overall, just navigating a painful set of challenges in this season. I will share more here in the coming weeks, as I’m able. We covet your prayers for our family in this season.

I love you guys so dearly.

This entry was posted in Attending to His Presence, Confidence in God, Encountering God in the Messy, Freedom From Perfectionism, Grief and Loss, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, One Word, Presence. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to When buds are breaking

  1. Barbie says:

    Pure, raw, unedited beauty. What more could I expect coming from you. So have longed to read your words again. I am also in a season of lack of words as far as blogging. I know God is at work, but it’s been hard. Praying for you my friend!
    Barbie recently posted…Worry..Sin In Disguise // Share The Brew With Diana RockwellMy Profile

  2. Joanne Viola says:

    Dana, praying this morning for our God to give you strength & courage. May He guide you as you navigate these uncertain & painful times. Blessings.

  3. Tara says:

    Dana, God’s grace is sufficient and I’m so glad I/we can extend it to you and your family. That poem is beautiful. And so much THIS: ” forever-learning to live in perfect step with the God who is pulling me more and more wholly into Himself. Who is tenderly present within the joy and the breaking and everything in between, fiercely committed to satisfying every solitary need of this fragile soul.” Prayers being lifted for you and your family too!
    Tara recently posted…Always Try (A Five Minute Friday Post)My Profile

  4. This right here is what saves us all. “He heals even while He expands my heart.” If I didn’t have the healing going along with the expanding, I am not sure the “expanding” would be effective. Having friends who listen and gently ask the hard questions, spending time in quiet with My Father are some of the ways which I cooperate in my healing, but without God, true complete healing is not possible.

    Praying right now for God’s continued leading in you life.
    carol longenecker hiestand recently posted…To my SonsMy Profile

  5. Jane H. says:

    Oh Dana, how your words have touched my heart today. Those hard steps are just that, so very hard to take, to put one foot in front of the other, knowing that you might be walking right into pain. And yet when we have Him, what else can we do? We have Him walking with us, holding us up when we have need to be held, encouraging us to be brave and to trust when he know our hope is faltering. I have 2 adult sons who do not love the Lord, even though they were taught. How it hurts our heart as parents and yet, we have to just keep living our lives with joy and with hope. We are the examples for our grandchildren and we do not want them to see us in despair, because truly we are not. Our daughter and 5 year old grandson live with us…….what joy that child has brought into our hope….he makes us laugh every day. I thank the Lord that where there are some painful, sore to the touch spots, I also see signs of healing. He knows what you are going through….exactly what you need and He loves you all so much. Our sermon this morning was from James….it starts out saying that James was a slave, servant to Jesus and that we can be confident in Him, in being His servant because He is always, always right. Even when it looks so wrong to our eyes, even when we are disappointed, even when it makes no sense, He is right. Hugs to you from Michigan….your photography is breathtaking. God does the best handiwork, doesn’t He?

  6. Pingback: the thing I thought I’d never do {or, the core cry of all my soul-cries} | Dana L. Butler

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