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Monthly Archives: July 2014

“Oh be careful little eyes what you see…”

Sweet sister, let’s talk.

Usually, I wouldn’t say that a post is for a certain group of people, but for this one- I am talking to my married girlfriends who call themselves followers of Christ. If you don’t believe or aren’t sure about this Jesus, feel free to read too, but just know that my thoughts right now are for my girls who know the One who loves them, especially those who have grown up in church, and may have labeled themselves or by others as a “good girl”.

I went to Target today, as required in the stay at home mom contract. The kids wanted to look at video games, so we wandered over to that area. My eye caught the subtle product placement of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy on the end cap. My daughter, of course narrowing her focus on the ONE item I didn’t want to talk about, asked me “is that book about policemen?”

Because handcuffs. Thanks, Target.

With the trailer for the movie debuting this week, social media exploded with any and every opinion you can imagine about these books. There are so many blog posts being written about this, and honestly, I didn’t want to add to the noise. What could I say that hasn’t already been said? One very popular male blogger spoke about how, as a christian woman, I am “too good” for this movie.

I am not too good for this movie. I watched Sharknado.

Let’s be honest, in matters such as these, we don’t choose to not read a book or watch a movie out of philosophical convictions. We don’t eschew topics because we don’t want to set back the cause of women. As Christ followers, we choose what goes into our brains and hearts based on if it will bring us closer or farther away from our Father.

But I don’t really want to talk about that. Let’s be real, while there may be 50 shades of it, this book is not a grey area. And like I said, there are many blogs that have already told you why you shouldn’t partake.

Who I want to talk to is that sister out there who bought the books secretly. The one who has been trying to decide how to see the movie without anyone finding out. The one who has been thinking maybe, maybe it’s not a big deal and maybe it’s a good thing. I mean, it can make a person more receptive to physical intimacy, and that’s a good thing, right? It’s not like it’s a porn video or anything. There’s an actual story, and it’s a story of love and redemption…eventually.

There’s no shaming in my tone, sister. Shaming you might make you put the book down and save your money, but it won’t change your heart. I’m not here to convince you that 50 shades will hurt you. I suspect you already know that. What I want to talk about is examining why this story is appealing.

If you are reading this and thinking it’s nonsense and crazy that a christian woman would be drawn to this story and have to fight the temptation to indulge in it, then count yourself blessed that this isn’t a struggle for you. I’d also gently suggest you examine your heart and ask others if you are a safe person to talk to about these struggles. Men in the church have long be able to express their struggle with lust, there’s practically entire conferences just on that subject alone, but it is a very brave woman who can admit her own struggle. Don’t be fooled- it’s just as intense, just as pervasive, and maybe even more damaging, because it is so often what I call Voldemort sins. It is the Struggle-We-Shall-Not-Name.

There are tons of theories on why porn appeals to men. I personally don’t want to speculate on that, because I tend to get annoyed when men tell women why they do something, so I won’t do the same. Nor do I want to speak for *all* women. But in thinking through this story, here is what I’d ask you if we were on my couch, drinking coffee…

Do you feel protected?  I don’t mean in the “my husband will take care of me if someone breaks in” kind of protected. I mean can you trust your husband to follow through on whatever you both have decided are his responsibilities? Can you trust his financial choices? Are you confident that he speaks well of you with his friends? Does he advocate for you with his family of origin? Does he structure his time and energy so that you come before anyone else, including any children? Do you feel important?

Do you feel known? Does your husband know your favorite restaurant, flower, candy, book? Your favorite way to relax? Can he imagine what would be your dream vacation? Does he know which public situations make you anxious and which ones energize you? Could he tell you what your worst insecurity is and how you typically deal with it? Do you feel important?

Are you sexually satisfied? Do you avoid sex? Is sex painful or uncomfortable? Are you bored? Do you and your husband talk about your sexual relationship and how to improve it? Is your husband completely aware of your needs and desires? Do you feel important?

Look at your answers. Now, it is not a surprise to me that a story about a hot, powerful, wealthy man who falls in love with a average woman and fulfills her needs emotionally, mentally, and physically is compelling. Ana is important to Christian, so important, that he changes everything he’s ever been about and done, and transforms into a man who retains all his good qualities and gets rid of his bad ones. 

You aren’t stupid. You know this isn’t realistic. You know it’s not healthy. But I wonder sometimes if we run to what is fake unhealthy to avoid dealing with what is real unhealthy. And somewhere along the way, maybe we start to believe that this is all there is. And once you believe that, trying to escape that is almost a certainty.

Maybe that isn’t your story. Remember, I don’t want to speak for you. But if it is, let me encourage you that you are protected, known, and loved. You are important. You were worth dying for.

Talk to someone. Don’t run from the problems in marriage and in life. There is abundant joy in a marriage that is full of intimacy, real intimacy. Ask for help and be brave. Don’t settle for an imitation.

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Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

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“Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out, honestly, I wanna see you be brave…”

My precious girl is off to camp this week while my oldest son and my husband are in Ethiopia. This is Selah’s second year attending Pine Cove camp at The Towers and she LOOOOVES it. Some of you might remember that last year, I found this list she had written down about all the things she wanted to do at camp. I still laugh reading that list!  You can read it here-

http://followingbutterflies.org/2013/07/26/there-are-watercolour-ponies-on-my-refrigerater-door-and-the-shape-of-something-i-dont-really-recognize-drawn-by-careful-little-fingers-and-put-proudly-on-display-a-reminder-to-us-all-of-how-tim/

This year, we’ve been dealing with a good amount of anxiety. One of the funniest things about Selah is that she isn’t scared of things she should be scared of, and she IS scared of things that likely will never happen. She can deal with anxiety even over things she has done multiple times, and sometimes she doesn’t recognize what is happening in her mind and body as anxiety. I’ve been working with her a ton this year on stopping and recognizing what is happening to her physically and emotionally, being able to put a name on it, and making a plan to relax. What happens when she DOESN’T do these things is that she will get nervous, get unfocused and impulsively act on whatever idea pops into her head. I don’t think I need to tell you that those ideas are not always wise (see also multiple self inflicted haircuts).

So this month, I started seeing her display anxiety and I knew part of it was Wes and Josiah leaving and part of it was her going to camp. Even good stress is still stress, but sweet Selah just doesn’t always recognize that, so one afternoon I snuggled with her in my reading chair and asked her to make a list of all the things she was worried about for camp week, and asked her to write down some truth about those fears and a plan for how to fight off that anxiety. The following is part of her list (some of her fears are too personal for blogging), and some of her methods for calming down.

 

What I am scared of, by Selah Nicole Butler the First

1. What if daddy and Josiah have so much fun and don’t want to come home?

Truth- Daddy and Josiah have more fun at home because we have more fun things like pizza and sports on tv and Watermark and friends. And I am here and Mommy is here so daddy will always come home for mommy.  I should write to daddy sweet words so he doesn’t forget that I live here in AMERICA.

 

2. I am nervous because what if there’s a rat when daddy is gone and it bites me.

Truth- Mommy will just call a brave man in our community group but I don’t know who that is. I should find out. Mommy will call the xfrigerader (so close) to come and set traps. I can make my own trap with a pipe cleaner and cheese and a net. I need a net. I can use tights. 

 

3. Scared because a girl at camp last year said I talk too much.

Truth- God made me have all my words and HE LOVES ME SO THERE. Pray that she likes me. Pray that if I have too many words, they should mostly be about God. Some of them can be about horses and Taylor Swift.

 

4. What if it floods at camp?

Truth- Selah, remember about Noah. If it rains a lot, we can build tree houses. God, can you make it rain a lot?

 

5. What if an Ethiopian person gets mad at Josiah about talking about Jesus and he hits him with a broom or a rock or throws him into a crocodile pit. 

Truth- Daddy is there and he is strong. Josiah can run really fast. He can swim fast too. Maybe if he hits him with a broom then Josiah will catch the broom and then sweep his kitchen for him so he will want to listen about Jesus. Mr. Tim will protect him too. And Ms. Baker will because she is a teacher so she knows what to do when kids are mean. I wish Ms. Baker was my teacher. If Josiah gets hurt, I will never stop crying. I will be very mad at that man and I will throw a evangle cube at his face. 

 

6. What if I ride a horse and it gets spooked by a snake and it runs away and I fall off of it and I land on top of the snake and it makes the snake mad and the snake is Voldamart’s snake. 

Truth- I’m just kidding about the Voldamart part. If my horse gets spooked, I will just say whoa nelly and feed it carrots. If the horse doesn’t like carrots, I will feed it mexican food. If I fall off the horse, my counselor will carry me to the hospital and mommy will drive really fast to come visit me and bring me some flowers. I will forgive my horse because it’s a horse and I don’t even know if they have brains. I would be so scared if I saw a snake too, especially if it has jewels on it’s back. It’s like snakes are trying to trick people because they are shiny with diamond on their backs but they are mean. That’s just like STAN (pretty sure she meant satan) because he tricks people that he’s nice but he just wants to steal, kill, and destroy. He even wants to kill horses. 

 

7. What if my counselor is mean or doesn’t love Jesus or doesn’t like me or is a boy.

Truth- I don’t think my counselor is a boy because that is not aprowprate. I think my counselor will like me because I am nice and I will make her bracelets and I will brush her hair and I will sing to her but I WON’T SING JUSTIN BEIBER DON’T ASK ME. If my counselor is mean I will ask her what’s wrong? and give her a hug because everybody has a bad day. 

 

8. What if a girl is mean to Mela because she has brown skin? What if Mela cries?

Truth- I will WANT to punch her but I won’t punch her because I will get in BIG trouble and that girl is just sad and she might not have any friends. I will tell Mela how pretty she is because she has really pretty curly hair. I will make Mela a special BFF bracelet and I will make the other girl a bracelet and tell her she can only wear it when she will use kind words. I will hold Mela’s hand if she cries and give her tissue and ice cream. I will cry too because that’s so so mean. I will pray with Mela because she loves Jesus too. But I might not pray with the mean girl until later because I will be so so mad. 

 

Well, there you have it. Let’s hope none of these things happened at camp this week!

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Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

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