The Life and Adventures of Bee Butler

Words.

I have always been an incredibly vocal child.

My first word was “duck” (or more accurately, duckduckduckDUCKDUCKduckduck!) and within a few months I was wowing people at my mom’s bible study by correctly using the word “tabernacle” in a sentence. I have a God-given gift when it comes to words. I can write poems, songs, haunting lyrics and uplifting messages. I can write fact and I can write fiction, and when I write, a lot of people listen. I am not saying this to brag, by any means, because this innate sense of what to say is directly from something outside of me, and to give credit to anything but Him would be blasphemy. I do know, however, that I have this talent, and I don’t use it enough.

I also don’t always use it constructively.

I have been full of words lately. I’ve been leaning on others words and blasting music that quells the feeling in my soul. I’ve been reading words from brilliant authors (devoured about 15 books during my first month of treatment) and I have been ravaging my own heart by reading the word-vomit that seems to fill places like Facebook and Tumblr. I’ve done quite a bit of wording myself, because in therapy and treatment, there is a LOT of talking. I have used words to gossip and to gather and spread information, and that was very damaging. I have used words to express my fears and my feelings, and that has been very helpful. I haven’t been using my words to communicate with the Creator from Whom all these words come, though, and that is destroying me.

 

Right now, I have a lot of words in my heart and my mind about Ferguson. I have tried to hold them in, because Lord knows all we need right now is another white girl with a blog spouting her white apologies and anguish. I also know that my words on this subject differ greatly from the words of many people I love, and to use my words might damage relationships.

In the words of Hawk Nelson, “words can build you up, words can bring you down; start a fire in your heart or put it out”. Words are so unbelievably powerful. I can hear the lyrics in a song and sob my heart out, because I FEEL those words. I can turn on another song and be filled with rage, joy, or the desire to do something crazy. I can be ignited by words of hate and encouraged by words of love. Words of peace give me hope, and words of anger instill in me a great fear.

But what about MY words?

People read what I write. Maybe not on a global scale, but they reach much farther than my little circle of family and friends. And even if my words only fell on those who knew me quite personally, they would still hold a significant power and impact. And I forget that, so, so often.

 

Do my words build people up, or bring them down? Do they start a fire in a heart, or put it out?
Do my words speak life? Do my words speak truth? Because I don’t want to say a word unless it brings the world back to Him. Lately I have failed so desperately in that aspect, and it aches. I have so much power, and such a vocabulary. My words have so much potential.

 

Let the things I say be the sound of His grace.
I don’t want to say a word unless it brings the world back to Him.

Please, call me out on this.

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Coastlines and Highways.

I cannot fathom why anyone on this earth wouldn’t want to live in California.

No, I mean it. Seriously.
Cost of living is high? I will gladly live out of my car (I’m not kidding).
Bad job market? I’ll be a sign-twirler or a vegetable picker.

 

This place is how I imagine myself personified in place form.

Liberal, imaginative, exciting, a little dangerous, but beautiful and full of possibility if you’re determined and willing to put forth the effort.

I have fallen in love with the Pacific ocean waves, the call of the seagulls as they scavenge the beach, the feel of sand between my toes, the feel of sea glass in the palm of my hand. The glint of the sun behind a peach-and-purple sunset behind a vast mountain range dotted with palm trees and flowers even in November.

 

Wherever your heart feels called to, I think you should live. If that’s Texas or Idaho or Detroit or Switzerland or India or a cheap apartment with somebody you love anywhere on this earth, then that’s where you should try to be. I feel at home here, at rest deep in my soul, and when I’m surrounded by this beauty, I feel like I’m closer to God than I’ve ever been in my life.

Home is where the heart is, and mine resides in SoCal.

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Its all I’ve ever wanted.

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Falling Slowly

Tonight after a dinner date with myself, I settled into a Starbucks to get a little writing done before I head back to the house on La Costa. Today I did something heartbreaking but therapeutic: I wrote a eulogy for my ex. He’s alive, but he and I are no longer in contact, and never will be again, and since I have never loved anyone that much in my life, my therapist suggested I let him go in a way that would give me real closure.

Since I write, and I’d suffered a loss comparable to the death of my hopes and dreams for the future and the loss of the love of my life, I felt it only appropriate to write a goodbye that really meant forever.

 

I finished it a few hours ago.

I sat down in the coffee shop just now, opened up my laptop, and “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard came on over the speakers. I nearly cried. Of all the songs, in all the coffee shops in the state of California, the song that we fell in love over was the one to come on. I see that as no coincidence.

 

“Raise your hopeful voice, you have a choice, you’ve made it now.”

That refrain used to mean that I’d made a choice to spend the rest of my life with this man. Now those words remind me that I have made the choice to let go of the past, say goodbye to the pain and emptiness that he’d left in his wake, and that there is hope in the finality of my decision. I will be okay. I will get through this. I will do well, survive, more than survive; I will live an extraordinary life. His choice not to be a part of it is his loss, not mine.

I learned something from my time with him. I found pieces of myself, got wounded and had old hurts surface. I realized what my true priorities were. It started me on my journey to recovery from this disorder. Oh god, how I missed him in the moments where nothing seemed that it would ever be okay again. The ache I felt in his absence was unbearable. I didn’t know how to breathe without my other half.

Now, I’ve discovered my other half is within me already, begging to be set free. I have spent my life piecing together my identity from those around me in the hopes that I will be good enough to be loved. I have cultivated a personality from a mix of people and archetypes, movie characters and perfect girlfriends, rockstars and writers, heroes and hopeless loves, and not once did I think that perhaps my authentic self would serve me better than anything I could produce otherwise ever had. Now is the time for me to strip off all the old coats of paint and restore the battered but beautiful soul that’s been hidden from view.

 

 

I had to tell him goodbye, because he didn’t give me a choice.
I chose to let him go, because I wanted a choice again.
I’m choosing to be happy, to be myself, and to believe that I deserve so much more than I’ve ever allowed myself to dream of.

 

So this time, falling slowly, I’ll take this sinking boat and point it home, because I’ve still got time.
Glen Hansard’s lyrics and haunting melody are a perfect reflection of my life once again, except this time, I’m singing it to the right person: me.

 

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Praise Him in Uncertainty.

In the first two devotionals we talked about praising God during painful circumstances and praising Him for second chances. Today, it’s all about uncertainty.

As you all know, I’m about to go to treatment for an eating disorder. For those of you who have little or no exposure to an ED or the healing process, I’ll break it down for you. First, you have to cut off the bad food behavior, which means when you step into treatment, the immediate concern is getting you to eat. That is HARD to do. When you have an addiction (and yes, an eating disorder is an addiction) your first step is to enter sobriety so that you don’t die, even when you feel like you might just die from giving up your addiction. However, while that is priority number one in recovery from an addiction, it is probably the easiest.

No really, I’m serious.

The thing you’re addicted to is an outward manifestation of something entirely different. Nobody picks up bottle of whiskey and starts chugging it daily just because it seems fun. No, they do it because something in them is broken. My eating disorder is a reflection of my desire to control my circumstances and numb pain from a childhood that did not go the way it should have. Most people have a catalyst moment – the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, the end of relationship – that catapults them into the downward spiral. This means that even after you kick the habit, you’re still sick. If I began eating regularly right now, I would still be sick, because my underlying problem is not being addressed or treated, and that is where it gets really, really difficult.

Next in treatment, you spend a lot of time talking and “unpacking” your issues. You have to reopen old wounds and dig deep to find the root of your behavior, and then you have to acknowledge it and stare it in the face, toe to toe, and fight it instead of medicating it. Relapse generally occurs when a triggering situation comes up and those old hurts swoop back in. It’s a lot like cancer in that aspect: you have to cut it out, and then you have to do chemo and radiation to kill every last cell of it. It takes time and it takes courage to willingly do something like that…

but you have to.

In 2 Timothy 1:7, it says that God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but one of power, love, and self discipline. That means that even though it is hard, the Lord has ALREADY EQUIPPED YOU TO DO IT. He wouldn’t ask you to do something without preparing you. You may not realize during your “preparation” that you’re training for an obstacle you will later face, but it’s happening, and because of that fact, you need to answer the call when God places a battle before you.

Two great examples of this are David and Goliath and Abraham. Nobody thought David was capable of making a difference on the battle ground, but God had given him the ability to slay a giant by fighting off animals in the wild while looking after his sheep. I highly doubt David killed that lion (1 Samuel 17:34-35) and thought, “Cool! Now I’m trained to do battle with a giant!”

Abraham (then just Abram) had a much more difficult journey that resonates more with me, because it required him to give up control and follow God blindly out into the desert. God literally said, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;” (Genesis 12:1). No map, no compass, not even the name of the place he would eventually reach. God called him to do the most absurd thing on earth, and he did it.

It’s like that in therapy for addiction. They sit you down and say, alright, let’s talk about this problem, knowing full well that if it were that simple, you wouldn’t need their help. The hardest part of recovery is walking away from your old life into a scary desert place with only the promise of healing somewhere down the road.

God does not choose the qualified, He qualifies the chosen. He has made the way for you to come out from under whatever you are clinging to that holds you back, and He is patiently waiting for you to begin to let go so that He can catch you and put you where you need to be. In times like this, the only thing you can do is praise Him. Go gladly, as impossible as it seems, and rejoice that you have within you such a great power from such an awesome God.

What is holding you back? If you’ve been looking for a sign, this is it. It is time to take a leap of faith, singing as you fall, and become free. He’s waiting there to catch you. It will be hard, but YOU ARE CAPABLE, because He Himself has said so!

Praise Him in your uncertainty, and watch what He does for your life.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21.

 

2 Timothy

Boldly going,
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Praise Him for Second Chances.

Today in part 2 of Rocktober, a Season Praise.

Yesterday we left off with a story that tore me apart to write. After two attempts at his life, my sweet, loving, hopeful brother was trapped behind a wall of Satan’s lies. My brother had become so sick of all the falsifying, hatred, corruption, and greed. He had just ended a relationship, and in minutes he’d gone from checking out of his own free will to being tossed into a cop car, handcuffed and laughing maniacally. He’d injured my father and his best friend as well, but showed no remorse. To hear my father tell it, our little Bubba wasn’t himself anymore… and it was llooking like he never really would.

Then the phone rang and my entire family freeze.This was the moment you never want. The moment you lay awake at night going over and over. The feeling riiiiight as you trip, but right before you hit the ground.

I am here to tell you today is the GOD OF SECOND CHANCES.

My brother was doing well mentally and physically, got out of a toxic relationship, made amends with those he hurt, told us he loved us, and was excited to let us know he’d been praying not only for help, but that his ex would come to know Christ.

Remember when Jonah blatantly disobeyed and went in the EXACT OPPOSITE DIRECTION from the place to where he’d been called. God being Himself chose to snatch this crazy man up in a hale and have him be SPIT OUT and onto the dry land of his calling. My brother made some choices that were questionable at best and prison-worthy at most, but instead of landing him in jail, God put him in a hospital, and all of our tears of praise from within the storm turned into a sea of smiles as the prodigal one came home.

[ Psalm 63 ] [ A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. ] You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 NIV

Wherever you are today and whoever you encounter, remember that you might be their second chance. If someone had not interceded he would be dead. Just a smile, a hello, a text, or heck, PICKING UP A PHONE could be all it takes to bring them farther away from the edge. Everyone you encounter is fighting a battle; do good always.

Now how bout you? What second chance did you get that you didn’t deserve? What second chance are you praying for? As usual, you may message me and I will confidentially send the prayer out to another group member without using your name. I’ll be praying for each of you daily.

As for me? My brother and I had a falling out over a year ago and had he succeeded, I never would have spoken anything to be proud of to remember. Now my last words to him are, :I love you, Bubba. Be safe.”, and those are only the last words of the day, because he wants to live.

{To all of you who prayed for me and my family, THANK YOU for standing together and asking God to save a life of someone you’ve never met, but that someone would be desperately missed by someone like me. Prayer works, you guys are proof, and I am grateful.)

 

second chances future

 

Humbled and in awe,
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