the caged bird sings.

the hopeful song of a second chance.

January 22nd.

Bee ButlerComment

On this day two year ago, I sat down with my laptop and wrote a note on facebook. One I'd been holding in and crying over, one that had been bubbling to the top till it boiled over and spilled out all over what had become of my life.

I am in bed right now next to a man who loves me and a dog who thinks I'm her mother. He and I have weathered 13 crazy months, and a lifetime of storms, and many of them are because of things I felt way back when, four years ago, when it all happened.

This is that note, for all the world to see.
I live in California now, I've been back to Hollywood, and my new boyfriend loves to hear me sing.
I got over you.

January 22, 2014 at 6:49pm

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I left my school. I was a senior. I'd started the transfer process to Pepperdine behind everyone's backs. I was planning on breaking my lease without even telling my parents or roommate and I was going to move into your parents house until I got my funding and we got an apartment. You begged me every single night on the phone to get out there, to hurry up, you hated being so far away... So I did.

 

Then when I realized that wasn't going to be enough, I signed up for eating disorder treatment. I went online and instead of doing the research I should've, I looked up places in Southern California. ONLY Southern California. I wasn't going anywhere far from you. And I planned on moving out there long before I could get into treatment just so I could move in with you and we could be together. I dropped out of ACU unofficially. Tried to collect financial aid for that semester that was my "living off of" money by telling them I was in treatment or that I'd be back, I was down in SoCal for an evaluation... I lied my ass off to everyone on the school's campus and to my parents and friends.

 

I got a phone call that I wouldn't get that refund and that I was being withdrawn from school. I got a call that my broken lease had been reported to the credit bureau and then all the debt I'd accrued from flights, buying you things, paying for everything (did your lazy ass ever once have a job while we were together? Did you buy one single meal for us? Did you pay for any of my plane tickets or even your own? What about gas when I drove you around? NONE OF IT, but I digress) hit me at once. My bills were due. All of them. I was suddenly looking at about 15k that I owed across the board to my school, my apartment, my credit card company, and my own bank, because when billpay autodrafted it wiped me out and put me in the red. I lost everything. 

 

Then I got us our dream. I got us a show. We were going to perform side by side onstage in Hollywood at the most famous and historic venue in the state. We started rehearsals... and then it happened.

 

You ended it. You got fed up with me, angry that I wanted you to play the guitar I bought for you instead of the cheap fake piece of shit you'd somehow managed to buy years before. I'm sorry, but an authentic Gibson Firebird sounds a hell of a lot better than your stupid Epiphone mess and we both knew it. You were upset. I'd changed. I wasn't being fair. I was the only one at fault. I ruined your whole life. I'd destroyed you. I was the worst thing that had ever happened to you.

 

I got you through the first and only death you'd ever had to experience. I struggled with you and held you and loved you through the thought of losing your parent to cancer, even sending flowers to her from JUST ME because I fell in love with your whole family when I fell in love with you. I bought you everything you ever wanted. I encouraged you to be better. I told you that you deserved the world. I encouraged you to get back in school or to start working somewhere that made you happy, and I paid for things while you "looked for that job" (you lying bastard). I gave up my life in Texas, my relationships with my best friend, some of my family members, my school credits, my credit score, my WORLD. I gave you every single part of me and took all of your messes and cleaned them up for you.

 

By the time the show was over (during which you STOPPED PLAYING IN THE MIDDLE OF A SONG, ONSTAGE, AND SAT DOWN WITH YOUR GUITAR LIKE A TWO YEAR OLD HAVING A TANTRUM WHILE I FINISHED THE ENTIRE SET ON MY OWN) you were done. I flew back to Dallas the next day. It was too late, though, because I had to come back for treatment. I'd already registered with the facility and the paperwork was started. Two months later came back to California. During that time I apologized for everything I had done wrong and for millions of things I hadn't done at all just so that you'd take me back. I did everything in my power to fix what you'd broken. I spent more time crying then than I ever have in my life. You started to talk about it possibly being okay, maybe this could work, maybe another try. Then you stopped. You even refused to let me stay with you (and from here on out we'll be clear, you still lived with your parents. In fact, you do right now. I don't honestly think you'll ever move out. They won't make you and you're a lazy brat). Your mother, however, stepped in and told you to shut up and that I was welcome in that house until the day that I died, ESPECIALLY now when I needed you the most and that treatment was something wonderful. 

 

You played if off and told everyone we knew that you had "graciously" agreed to let me live there again even though I was the worst thing that ever happened to you and that you honestly couldn't stand the sight of me. I let you do that. I got there and you got angry because you wanted to sleep in the guest room (you thought that bed was more comfortable and it was YOUR house so why couldn't I sleep wherever you put me?) and when you were again told by your mother that no, I was the guest, be an adult, you sulked. I tried to talk to you. We watched a few movies. Your friends came over, and they really, really liked me. All but one, but she'd hated me from the beginning because she'd wanted to be with you forever and we both knew it. I hid from her when she came over (and you invited her over A LOT even though you didn't like hanging out with her, which you made clear when she wasn't around, just so that I'd lock myself in another room. Everybody else, though? They didn't get why we couldn't reconcile. I hung out with them and eventually it got to a point where you were furious that nobody else could hate me like you did, so you told me to stay away from you. Do what you want, just stay out of my way. 

 

Looking back, I was in love with a child, and boy did you ever prove that with the pathetic and embarrassing way you acted once you'd ended things... especially since your own mother told you to grow up, and she has only told you "no" maybe a handful of times in your life.

 

Fast forward.

 

I got out of treatment. You never called or came to visit once, but your mom sent me cards. I moved to Long Beach (over an hour from where your parents lived), but once I found out that you were okay with me visiting and hanging out because I was out of treatment (and maybe, just maybe, you felt a little guilt for the bullshit you'd pulled all year), I skipped sessions, ignored curfew, put over a thousand miles on my car in just two months to visit you on every chance I got. We went on a date. You didn't want to talk on the phone anymore or text, so I only heard from you to set up times for me to make the drive (you never drove anywhere, that would've cost gas money for YOU). Then it happened. I got there and you wanted to sleep with me. Being me, that vulnerable little girl who was still so madly in love with this person who didn't care and maybe never did... I said okay. You promptly kicked me out afterwards. Every time. Because every time I saw you, we'd watch a movie, we'd do that, and then you'd make me leave. I sabotaged my time at the step-down treatment center for you. And just like that, after being eating-disorder-behavior free for over 45 days, I started right back up again. I couldn't handle the pain and you weren't giving me any promises or real hope, so I coped the only way I'd learned how. 

 

That summer on those long drives, I listened to a song that perfectly described our relationship and what it had become. I heard it in my head at night when I tried to go to sleep. I played it on my car stereo and my iPod. I hummed it, sang it, choreographed to it in my room in Long Beach, and prayed that maybe the outcome would change.

 

 

At the end, I left the treatment center. I'd been diagnosed with cancer, I had been a terrible patient because I'd chosen you over rehab, and suddenly I was in big trouble. I had nowhere to live for the month of August. My dad was flying down on September 1st to drive back with me (my parents agreed that I wasn't allowed to drive 1300 miles alone in my condition). Your mom immediately offered the house (she had no idea I'd relapsed and neither did you, and I was NOT about to tell you guys) and so I moved back in with you, one. last. time. 

 

The first day I was there, you helped me unpack. You kissed me. We slept together and watched a movie. I thought, "hey, maybe... this could work, I can do this" and I tried my hardest. 

 

That was the last time you ever kissed me and the last time we ever slept together. I lived with you for 29 more days in solitude. You made it clear pretty fast that you'd only done that to appease my sad little broken heart and that you were finished. You were ready for me to leave. I cried myself to sleep every single night and I couldn't bear it, but I had to stay there. Honestly, I didn't want to leave, because that would mean that it was really and truly over, forever. I couldn't take that. I drank wine with your mom, watched TV shows with your dad, and occasionally said hi when you friends came over, then politely declined when they asked me to come hang out in your room because I knew you didn't want me there.

 

My last night I didn't sleep. You begrudgingly let me curl up in bed with you and I watched TV from 1AM until I left in the morning at 7 to pick my dad up from the airport and start the drive back. I kissed you on the forehead when I left and told you I'd miss you. I tried not to cry, but I couldn't help it. I didn't lose it until I got in my car, because seeing me sob would've just annoyed you. You said goodbye, and that was it.

 

 

Here we are, years later. 
I'm back in school and I miss living in California immensely, but I can't imagine it without you. I haven't been back since. When I do go back, I'll be in Agoura and Venice Beach and Marina Del Ray. I won't get anywhere near your hometown. I'll even be avoiding Hollywood, because that place haunts me sometimes, too. 

 

I don't know how you are. We don't talk. You don't care. When I got sick again I let your mother know and she wanted me to come visit, but I declined. I couldn't do it. 

 

I'm officially in remission now. 
That doesn't mean anything to you.

 

Despite all that I did, gave, let go of, became... I was never enough and somehow too much. I made stupid choices and destroyed my life for you, and I'm still rebuilding. I'm still in debt. I'm graduating YEARS later than I should have, and my singing career, at least in Hollywood, is over. I still haven't forgiven myself for any of it (though I'm trying), and over time I somehow came to believe that your words were true; it was all my fault. I've carried that burden into every relationship since, and it's poisoned them. A guilt that isn't mine turned into a disparaging self-doubt that has kept me from loving myself after all this time. 

 

I'm working on it. On all of it. But you can hear the song now, and I hope it echoes in your mind for the rest of your life as you realize what you did and who you are.

 

You have to live with that.

I'll Show You.

Bee ButlerComment

When I was little, I stood on the risers in the cafeteria of my elementary school and sang a solo in my 3rd grade program. The song was called "Fight Fair", and I still remember my part.

Years later, I stood onstage at the Whisky A Go-Go and belted my heart out to a crowd of people who didn't know my name or my face. I left everything on that stage and hoped it would be enough to keep the momentum of my career going.

It wasn't.

I wanted to matter. To sing. I wanted people to hear my voice and know that I wanted it more than anything. I booked five shows in Hollywood and released a bunch of covers on free streaming sites. I pushed and pushed and threw myself out there waiting for someone to catch me.

No one did.

The boy I'd fallen in love with (and bought a guitar for) left me because of the way that tiny glimpse of fame destroyed me. He was embarrassed and hurt onstage when he forgot the chords. I let him stand there and kept singing. I don't know what I could've done differently, but there must've been something. I still have pictures that people took that night, him sitting on the stage, guitar in his lap, looking like he'd been punched. 

I walked away and went to a meeting at The Rainbow Room with some producers. He went home and told me he couldn't look at me anymore. I never got over it.

Singing was a drug after that. I got drunk and hit karaoke bars. I actually attempted to fill the hole in my heart with liquor and show tunes and attention. It didn't work and I lost my best friend, every other guy I dated, and watched as some of my family walked out on me.

I wish I could blame singing or that moment in the spotlight for my downfall, but I can't. That wouldn't be genuine or fair.

The relationship I'm in now has nearly collapsed under the weight of my desperate need to live on the stage. Many a fight has been fought in the truck on the way back from a bar where I got sloppy and sang. The last time I brought up going to sing, I nearly had to buy a plane ticket back to Texas, because the man I love was ready to put me out on my ass. I deserved it.

I can't let myself fall apart anymore. I can't drown the loneliness with liquor. I can't slam the drinks back until my head swims. I can't late-night-text my exes and ex-friends looking for validation. I have a "normal person" job. I'm in classes online. While I have contact with the current booking agent at the Whisky, I haven't even tried to set up a show. I'm miles and hours away from Hollywood. I don't see that changing anytime soon. 

 

I can't tell you how much it hurts, but I can let you listen to this song, and maybe that will help.

(Disclaimer: I've disliked Justin Bieber for a long time, but when I heard this I full-on LOST it. He's just a kid with a dream like me. Damned if I don't feel every word of this.)

These are the posts I hate to write.

Bee ButlerComment

Right before the new year started, I got a job. I was excited about it (and I still am), and was even more overjoyed after I had a blast on my first day. 

Then, as is typical for my body, I got sick. Walking pneumonia sick. Then a kidney infection. As a result, I missed over a week of work, and since it's early in the year and sales are low, I'm not getting any hours right now. I've been told I will soon, but not knowing just makes me anxious and scared.

While I was sick, I was having a lot of trouble breathing. When I addressed it with my doctor, he told me he thought it was panic-related, because my lungs were clearing up. He prescribed me some Xanax to get me through the next few days so that my body would stop freaking out.

That was five days ago, and today is the first day I haven't taken one. And I am miserable. MISERABLE. Depressed, lonely, sad, feeling like I can't accomplish anything, and desperate for something to do. I've been working hard lately to get things going for school, setting up my bank, fixing my credit, and working on my relationship, but after just a few days back on the anti-anxiety meds, I feel like the world is ending. 

This is why I stopped taking it a few months ago. It "chills me out", but it numbs me, too. It robs me of the joy of everyday life. It makes me want to sleep all day and take Tylenol PM every time I wake up so I can just nap my way through life. I am so afraid that it will get worse, so I am getting rid of those pills today.

Tomorrow I'm going to get an appointment set up with a new psychiatrist, because my old/current one has never listened to me and I am sick of being ignored and looked down on. I'm also going to try to find a cheap therapist. I may even buy a month's worth of beginner's dance classes at the learning center here just so I'll have something to look forward to.

This is my life. I want my life to be good. I deserve to be happy, and I am so over letting that be ripped from my hands.

Tonight I'm going to try to relax and see if the boy wants to go out and grab something to eat or see friends, and tomorrow I'm going to jump on that to do list. I'm not falling back into that pit. Not again.


Sephora's End-Of-the-Year Sale haul!

Bee ButlerComment

If you know me at all, you know I"m pretty cheap when I comes to makeup. I'm madly in love with brands like e.l.f., Loreal, and when I splurge a little, sales items from Origins (it will leave your face smelling fresh and minty, whether you're using the skin care line, the foundation, the powder, and their A+ medicated shine lip tubes. I can drop a pretty penny at CVS or Walmart or Target, and usually I'm proud of it, but after getting this new job, I realized that my face was gonna be all over the city and I desperately wanted to impress my boss/coworkers, and above all, myself. 

So, today I finally caved and went shopping online for good deals at Sephora.com. I can't recommend that site enough1

[Disclaimer: Right before Christmas, I bought the Smashbox Photo-finish primer, the trial size of the CC flawless color cream (which came with a mini primer and hydrating face spray that also acts as a setting powder. I was fortunate enough to find the "Bare Minerals Must-Have set, which included the mineral powder, a loose pigment blush, a lose pigment shimmer cream-color shadow and a nice face-correcting primer moisturizer, It was all small/travel sizes, but you get a lot of product for so cheap.]

My awesome bf's sister got me a nice brush set for Christmas, as well as a lower-grade contour kit. It works really well for the price.

 

Today, I went nuts.

I finally caved on this baby, because not only does it boast 9 eyeshadow, it also has prow pigment in packed powder form. It triples by having a four-shade contour kit, and for the price I paied, I saved several hundred dollars. Be on the lookout for a tutorial based on this kit.

Guys, I fought this as long as I could against this, but as most artists will tell you, it helps even out coverage, add moisture (run a little water on it first!) perfect color every time.

I've always been a lazy chick when it comes to cleaning my brushes, but I have to be honesty... I'm concerned about the icky buildup that accumulates after just one use, and I'm sick of having to repurchase brushes because I suck at maintaining the routine. 

Another big motivator to grab the brush cleaner... high quality face brushes! I can't wait to see what a big difference this makes on my day-to-day beauty routine!

This is my FAVORITE BROW KIT. You can't beat Benefit when it comes like this. I've already gone through one of those, so this is now a repeat purchase. Easily portable and comes in a variety of colors to fit your face!

I splurged pretty big here, but I've always wanted to try the Benefit roller lash, and since it bundled with two other awesome things, I just went for it.

I splurged pretty big here, but I've always wanted to try the Benefit roller lash, and since it bundled with two other awesome things, I just went for it.

As you can see, I went ahead and hooked myself up with a brown eyebrow shaping wand that doubles as a comb AND a slight pigment enhancer. The Roller Lash looks great, but I'm the most stoked about the gorgeous High Brow stick, which cuts down on the time it takes to ad a little highlight to the little areas on my face that need a touch up!

Huge sucker for Stila gel gloss. It comes in 12 shades, so there's no harm in grabbing more than one, or even making a return if the shade doesn't match. I may go back for the red one, soon!

The final crazy purchase was this beautiful all-in-one pigment set from Stila. It includes the perfectly posey-shaded all over cream highlight shimmer. It also has a gorgeous lip glaze in Kaleidoscope. The perfect pigment pot in this set is Convertible Color lip and cheek cream in Hibiscus, and the whole thing rounds off with a subtle but elegant deep brown liner pencil.

You guys, Once this stuff gets here, you'll be seeing my face quite a bit more on this space, but I think it'll be worth it!

What are your must-have beauty faces?


Southern Cooking Rules (from a California Texan)

Bee ButlerComment

I could spend the rest of my life watching cooking shows and be happy. Ina Garten is a little too fancy for me, and Guy Fieri is a little too trashy, but somewhere in the middle is a perfect mix of classic cooking with a down-home spin, and since I've been cooking since I could reach the fridge and pantry, I've got some solid tips down. Here, in no certain order, are my tips/rules/suggestions for making everything taste better.

  • If a recipe calls for mayo, use Duke's. Hellman's will do in a pinch, but the tangy, creamy consistency you're looking for isn't gonna be found in any other brand. If you sub in miracle whip, the only people eating it should be your sad friends who are on a diet. You only live once. Don't use crappy mayonnaise.
  • Need a good barbecue sauce? SWEET BABY RAY'S. If you're in Iowa, stop by and grab some Bubba-Q, which is just as fantastic, but not quite as easy to find. If you're making your own, don't skip the liquid smoke. You need it. Seriously. Texas is all about BBQ, and the sauce is all about that smoke.
  • If a recipe calls for grated cheese, ESPECIALLY if it is being melted, GRATE THAT STUFF YOURSELF. Pre-grated, in-a-bag cheese is coated in that awful flour crap to keep it from sticking together, which keeps it from melting correctly and makes it taste a little funky. I am not a fan. Do yourself a favor and put in the extra work, I promise you, it's worth it.
  • There are two kinds of people in the world: Those you use diced tomatoes in their homemade pasta sauce, and those who actually know how to make pasta sauce. Tomato paste and WHOLE PEELED TOMATOES ONLY, PLEASE. No shame in buying that in a can, mind you, just don't make your sauce look like a sad salsa. Italian food is not Mexican food. 
  • Speaking of Mexican food... mozzarella and queso fresco are not the same thing. Never forget that. Neither is sour cream and Mexican crema. Wonder why your at-home version is never as good as the restaurant's? That is why. Use the right thing.
  • Whenever you can, substitute broth for water when boiling ingredients. Couscous? Chicken broth. Rice? Chicken or beef broth. Potatoes? Beef or veggie broth. Even noodles do well in broth, and it adds flavor like you wouldn't believe. Yes, it's more expensive (because water is free), but if you're making a meal for other people, it's definitely worth it.
  • Similarly, good frozen drinks and smoothies are blended with juice or tea, not water. Calories are not the end of the world, people. Bad-tasting drinks are.
  • When making fried chicken, YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BRINE IT. The best brine calls for buttermilk. Don't trust those shady people who use regular or 2%. Also, when coating your chicken post-brine, do it dirty like we do in the South: Put your coating in a big brown bag, toss in the chicken, roll the top closed, and shake what your mama gave ya. It works much better than flipping it around in a shallow plate of flour, and it also allows you to "exercise" a little while you're cooking, so the enormous amount of calories is slightly lessened.
  • This is coming up soon in a post, but here me now: Scrambled eggs require butter and milk. ALWAYS. ALL OF THE TIME. Butter the pan, crack in the eggs, pour in the milk, whisk to combine, and about a minute before the eggs are done, turn off the heat and let them finish cooking in the pan. Don't salt and pepper until you're ready to serve, because it breaks down the egg and makes it dry and crumbly. The way I just taught you gives you perfect, fluffy, delicious eggs every time, and people will notice.
  • If you're making a cheese sauce, you need a base. Making a roux with flour and butter is a good start, but you're going to be sorely disappointed if you try and turn that into a creamy, thick sauce and your only other ingredients are shredded cheese and milk. Bring on the heavy cream, and if at all possible, toss in cream cheese. Velveeta works too, and don't sit there and tell me how bad that is. Outback Steakhouse uses Velveeta in their sauce, and I could live off of that macaroni. And again, grate the real cheese yourself. Trust me on this.
  • Invest in a garlic press. There are a million and one ways to crack and mince garlic, but none are as easy or as uniformly perfect as a good garlic press, and you'll use it so often that you'll wonder how you ever did without it.
  • Same with a food processor. It's a staple in any good kitchen, and these days, a lot of recipes call for one. You can only chop and stir so much on your own.
  • If it can be made in a microwave or the oven don't be a wimp. Make it in the oven. Only in dire emergencies should you resort to baking in a microwave. Microwave taquitos are disgusting. Bake that shiz.
  • Risotto and grits recipes are not kidding, at all, when they say "keep stirring". It's a huge pain in the butt, but the consistency just doesn't work without that extra love, and you'll regret it when you sit down to eat. A lot of sauces are the same way. When in doubt, stir it out.
  • Salting your water before it boils doesn't actually do much, but it also doesn't hurt. Go wherever your heart leads.
  • When seasoning beef, chicken, lamb, pork, or other meat that used to walk around, season both sides. You'll look like a janky chef if you only do one, because when all is said and done and you cut into a piece, one side will be kickin' while the other is bland, and that is no bueno. Both sides, even if it's just salt and pepper. You'll thank me later.
  • With fish, slow your roll. You usually only need to season one side if it's filleted, and even if it isn't, it soaks through much more quickly than in any other meat. Overseasoning your fish is like overcooking it. Gross. 
  • Garlic salt is not the same as regular table salt. Duh. But did you know that Himalayan Pink salt isn't the same as table salt? And subbing it will make your dish taste markedly different? Don't sub in recipes unless you absolutely have to. Similarly, don't use regular salt on top of garlic salt, or any other seasoning that contains salt (check the container) unless the recipe directly calls for it, because you'll end up with some sodium overload that bites. My mom always taught me that it was rude to salt your food after someone lovingly prepared it for you, but some people are picky buttholes who like to ruin there meals. Let them do it on their own. Don't over salt.
  • When barbecuing any meat, it will taste 100% better if you marinate it in Dr. Pepper. I know that sounds absurd, but I swear, it's true. Or you can add DP to whatever marinade you like.
  • The old 'poke test' is tried and true for all cakes. If you don't have a broom you feel like pulling a piece from, break off an uncooked spaghetti noodle and stick it in your cake. If it comes out clean, you're done baking. If not, back in the oven you go.
  • When cooking any type of gourd (pumpkin, squash, etc.), place it cut-side-down. Example: Cut a butternut squash in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper lightly, then place the flat side down (skin pointed up... I don't know how to be more clear about that) on a lined baking sheet and pop it in. This creates a natural flow of heat that doesn't overcook the outside or undercook the inside, and makes everything more fragrant and delicious. This counts double when you're making squash spaghetti, because it's really hard to drag a fork through tough squash. 
  • Anchovies are disgusting, but Caesar dressing is delicious. Just because you hate an ingredient doesn't mean you'll hate the outcome, and if you sub, it's gonna taste wrong. Honestly, just don't sub anything, ever, unless you have to. I get that you're trying to be skinnier, or healthier, or lazier, but in the end, eating is an experience that you should enjoy. Have smaller portions, or spend additional time walking, or shake that bag of chicken and flour like it's going out of style, but PLEASE don't sub ingredients unless you're SURE that it works or the recipe allows it. Seriously.
  • Deck out your spice rack. Man cannot live by salt and pepper alone. "When am I gonna use cayenne pepper?", you may ask. "I'm a white woman in the suburbs with picky children!". You'll use it if you know what's good for you. I put it in my mac and cheese sauce, and even the teeny amount I toss in makes a world of difference. Lawry's Seasoning Salt is great, but it's not an all-inclusive pass to skip stocking your cabinets. Make sure you've always got cajun seasoning, too. 

 

I'm sure I'll be updating this at some point, because I'm nit-picky and bossy, and I know how to cook. Keep checking the site, because recipes are about to start going up, and you won't wanna miss them, if only for the food-porn glory that recipe photographs entail.

Bon Appétit!

Matthew 4: Jesus as Israel, Adam, and God's Son.

Bee ButlerComment

Genesis 9-11 was the exit of life post-ark, the Tower of Babel, and the introduction to Abraham. While I found it interesting, it wasn't what caught my eye or my heart today. Thankfully, Matthew 4 is the beginning of Jesus' ministry, and, as I've said before, I feel so much safer and more connected to Jesus than I do God, especially in the OT, because Jesus survived so much pain and is still loving and full of mercy in a very obvious, physical sense. 

Jesus is tempted for 40 days in the desert by Satan at the very start of His ministry. He eats no food and nearly starves to death (your body runs out of fat at that point and begins to consume organs for sustenance). Satan tries to get him to cave by telling Him to use His powers to make food for himself, or test God (by jumping off a building... WTF Satan), and to simply cave and worship him (Satan) to gain everything in the world. He goes so far as to use Scripture to tempt Him, which is just sick, in my opinion. Have you ever had someone throw your own words back at you when they were angry? Nothing makes me mad more quickly than being mocked, and that's exactly what was happening here. Jesus was starving, probably cold (having zero body fat makes that happen), weak, shaky, and tired. He could've caved easily, but He held out. That was the solid foundation on which His ministry was built.

I've been pointed to a beautiful parallel here that I didn't notice in the past. Israel spends 40 YEARS in the desert, falling prey to temptation over and over again. They stumble constantly, and it separates them from God. They are God's chosen people, and they break His heart. Jesus, on the other hand, goes to the desert and allows himself to be tempted, but He doesn't fall for the tricks of the master of evil, and makes God proud. 

When I was younger, I actually contemplated changing my name to Israel. I made so many mistakes and continued to fall, and I felt like I was in my own desert, desperate for a place to call home and feel safe and loved. I love the redemptive story that comes from their suffering, and seeing it in this light with Jesus recreating the struggle and proving triumphant really helps me to feel like there is hope. 

 

I'm grateful that after three chapters of Old Testament every day, I get to close with a gospel story. I'm feeling better about things. 

I need to sit down and write out an exhaustive explanation on why I'm taking this so seriously and where I'm struggling, but I'm too tired for that tonight. 

 

Be blessed,


Yes, I read my chapters yesterday... at 11:00 PM.

Bee ButlerComment

I also didn't annotate in my Bible since I read online (the AMP Bible on BibleGateway.com), and I wasn't that into it, because the story of Noah is one I've studied extensively, and there isn't a whole lot in it that I feel is controversial.

Also, it's about God murdering everyone again, and this weekend I had a pretty awful time reading the story of the fall and stupidly trying to discuss it with someone who openly mocks my desire to read the Bible, so that was my bad. My very bad, actually. Like, I cried myself to sleep over it. 

I'm having a lot of trouble convincing some important people in my life that I'm serious about getting back into the life of Christ following that I'm so accustomed to, because when I made friends in California outside of treatment, there wasn't a whole lot of Jesus going on. Especially because those friendships were made at a bar/a family friend's house that was notorious for throwing raging parties. And I regret that. And I hate that I got myself into a situation where I cannot be who I am and talk about what matters to me with people around me. I really wish I could fix it, but at this point that would require more than I can give, because of who and how this all came about.

UGH.

This is one of those things that proves (to me, at least) that when you try to get back to God, Satan will block your path at every turn. In Hosea, it talks about God "hedging you in" to keep you from trouble... pretty sure Satan "hedges you" out once you leave.

I have a heavy heart and a weary head, and I'm not looking forward to today's reading because of it. I'll update when I've done it.

TITW Day Two: Genesis 3-5 & Matthew 2.

Bee ButlerComment

Oh man.

I have to be honest and up front here; I have not gotten to the Matthew 2 part yet, because Genesis 3 kicked my butt, hard. Same with Genesis 4. I joked with my boyfriend yesterday that when I finished the Genesis reading for the day, I had officially come to the end of the "whole" part of the Bible. Never again would I reach a verse where sin had not effected the relationship between God and man. I didn't realize how much it would hurt when I read further today.

I struggle greatly with trusting God and believing that He is good. What is "good" about a God who is jealous? Jealousy is a trait we as humans look upon with disdain. Jealousy implies a petty, childish nature. What is "good" about a God who kills His own people? Tyrants do that. Terrorists do that. I am afraid of Donald Trump because he plans to do that. Hitler, anyone? Death is not good. And I learned yesterday that what God defined as good, or "tov", meaning WITHOUT DEATH, was what he ended up killing. In verse 19 of chapter 3, God kills the first animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve. Death. Isn't. Good. What is "good" about a God who knowingly condemns those He loves? God knew Adam and Eve would eat the apple. He placed the tree in the garden anyway. He knew that they wouldn't 'die' in the sense that they would perish upon eating (or even closely following). While I've read that the term 'die' in this sense means a spiritual death, or even that they would become mortal and eventually die, it seems intentionally dishonest. Also, God kicks them out of the garden so that they may not eat of the tree of life... so God just killed them. They didn't die from eating the fruit. God intentionally kept them from consuming the fruit that would give them eternal life. 

Typing that out just filled me with rage. I am ANGRY that I have to grapple with this. NONE OF THAT IS GOOD. How can God be good if He does things that are bad or cause harm? I don't understand. I also know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever... so why was He so horrible in the Old Testament, but so willing to let His Son die and redeem us all in the New Testament? He doesn't seem the same to me. And maybe that's part of the fall. I have very limited knowledge (from His point of view) on all of this, and so I struggle to trust Him, just like Eve did when she believed the word of the serpent. 

My sweet friend Drew is an excellent source of wisdom in times like this, and he talked to me about chapter 3, pointing me to verse 9 and 21 where God shows kindness as He seeks to find out what happened. I sent him this, "Reading Genesis 3 right now and something just occurred to me that really messed me up. One of the biblical references I read uses the John 8:44 "Satan is the father of lies" defense to prove that the serpent in the garden is Satan, but I went back and read the text again, and the serpent is telling the truth. "You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil". That is absolutely, 100% true. God told them they would die, and they didn't. God cannot lie... I'm really struggling with this one." and he responded with, "A better (and more direct) biblical reference is Revelation 12:9. Which explicitly calls "that ancient serpent" Satan. Also, though vs 4-5 are basically true, the question the serpent leads with in vs 1 is a lie." Drew, thank you! It is much easier to wade through these verses when I can talk to someone else and unpack them with help.

Chapter 4 upset me, too. God (seemingly flippantly) dismisses Cain's offering, and the Bible never tells us why. It is theorized that maybe Cain failed to bring an animal offering, and thus dishonored God, but Cain worked the fields. His offering could not have been what Abel's was, because they worked in different 'professions', if you will. It's also been said that Cain didn't bring the best of his labor, but it doesn't say that in the text. Another source says his attitude was wrong, but while God chastises him for his 'tude, the verse never says anything about his offering being of poor quality... it simply says God didn't like it.

When I read that, my mind went to a dark place. God sounds like a spoiled little seven year old princess at her birthday party who isn't happy with the gift she's given from the poor kid. Cain seems like a hard worker who is rightfully mad that his brother, who works with animals and can therefore give a more "perfect" sacrifice, is viewed with favor by God, while his offering is tossed aside and ignored. How is that "good"?

Reading these chapters hurts. I went through the text and wrote in my Bible and read every translation and commentary I could find, and my heart still isn't satisfied. I don't know what to do or to think. I'm going to keep praying on it and hope that I can come to some peace, or at least acknowledge my own lack of understanding.

(I should point out that I read the theory that the failing with the tree of knowledge was that true knowledge or discernment cannot be taken, it must be given by God. I totally agree there.)

Back in a few, gotta read Matthew.

 

Done.

Matthew is so much easier. Clear cut, God speaks to people in dreams and warns them... I don't understand. I just don't get it at all.

 

 

Help me, Lord. Forgive my disbelief.