Updated: Jan 6, 2020
God speaks in ways He knows will touch our hearts the best! Over the last several years God has revealed the tenderness and depths of His unrelenting love towards me through nature. He has chosen to comfort and romance my heart through flowers and my scraggly butterfly garden. This unpretentious garden continues to nourish new life despite its scraggly condition. I see my own life mirrored in my garden. I feel His heart for others as I study the wiggly striped, sticky footed creatures that abide in my weary looking garden.
Texas summers are brutal and by the end of summer and into winter my garden is not a beautiful site. Christmas Eve day 3 monarch butterflies emerged from their jewel lined chrysalis'. Christmas day 2 butterflies eclosed (came out). And as the seconds counted down to a new year another butterfly eclosed clothed in its beautiful vermillion colors. And then the next morning a new flame colored butterfly rested on the top of the container the chrysalis' hung from. Whaaaatt!?!!! How. Cool. Is. That!!!! Seven butterflies! Seven in the Bible, is the symbol of completeness and perfection! "Being confidant of this, that He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it!"Phil 1:6 This is His promise to us for this new year and decade!
I receive that as a words of hope for my life... and yours. Hope that awakens courage to face the unknown fresh pages of a new year. A beautiful emptiness! Remember, God's promises life amidst the desert areas of our lives... and in the places that feel empty right now!
The above monarch is my "ring in the new year" butterfly. The other below is the one that came out while I was sleeping. A new year had begun in the darkness of night. In the night hours the Lord worked knowing the newly eclosed butterfly would be another way He could romance and speak to my heart! I guess you could say the Lord gave me a bouquet of butterflies. These butterflies, I do not believe are just for me. I believe they are for also for the friends and people who read this. He would have timed their entrance into a new year just for me. But, I also know God knows me. And He knows I would share this with others to breath life to others.
I hope though these butterflies feel like a gift to you as well. In the darkness, my friend, He IS working. In the areas you feel worn and exhausted by life's trials, He is there... working in ways you cannot see and in ways you cannot fathom!
Try to wrap your brain around a little egg laid under a leaf. It is out of sight and unseen. It makes it through brutal weather. It starts out minuscule. Only eyes that look relentlessly under leaf after leaf can find it.
I have never seen a caterpillar come out of an egg. But God sees. How in the world are those cells made to multiply as leaf after leaf are devoured? Oh, and by the way, monarch caterpillars poop a LOT... they are messy creatures. I have to clean containers out often! But the beauty that awaits is soooo WORTH IT! Our messy world and lives are worth it to God. He deals with the mess, because He sees what awaits!
I pursue the caterpillars that are in my garden. Probably, much like God tries to pursue us in the hectic, busy and often busy lives we lead. I look under leaves where they hide away munching away or being still waiting for it to warm up outside. I put them in containers with food (milkweed) and then take them to a place safe away from predators and rescue them from any below freezing temperatures we may have.
It may be odd to say, but, they capture my heart from the moment I first find a caterpillar. I revel in the process of metamorphosis. I marvel at the mystery of a bunch of goo in a chartreuse tomb speckled with golden jewels as a chrysalis hangs upside down. It is not like its old self. And it is far from being a beautiful and elegant butterfly. It is dead to its old life.
My mind soaks in the mystery of it all. God is at work inside of a vulnerable and resilient, yet fragile, not-yet-creature hanging by a steadfast, stubborn thread. What in the world do you categorize a chrysalis as. It's not an insect and it offers nothing... yet!
I feel the above metaphor has been my life for more years than I would have ever chosen. And now... I feel as if I am resting upside down waiting for my wings to dry. I really feel upside down. The vision in my heart does not seem sensible. Stay "tuned" for the details. I will probably blog or post on FB and Instagram within the month.
Life has been messy inside of me for some years. But the years prior and leading up to it, I feasted on the nourishing leaves of God's word. I stored them in my heart. I held on when I felt like a gross mess inside. There have been deep woundings. The enemy has warred fiercely against me. I have held on tenaciously while clinging to God's steadfast love and promises. I have felt vulnerable in the tender areas of my heart. It may not make sense to anyone else. But, it doesn't have to make sense. God's ways are not our ways.
Friends, I don't know what season you are in. Do you feel like a baby caterpillar? Are you feeling messy inside, seeing no glimpse of your value or the destiny and purpose you have heard each life has? Does the garden of your heart feel cloaked in aphids and invested with mites much like the leaves of my garden? Does retirement cause you to feel without purpose. When the doors close at home does it feel like a desert or life at the bottom of a volcano... uncertain with the next explosion may occur? Does sorrow over children not walking with God haunt you like a sad song? Does unforgiveness, bitterness and the sins of others against you cause you to doubt your value and purpose? Hold fast sweet friend! You DO have a beautiful purpose! God has a plan in the seasons in which the garden of your life feels tortured by heat and when you feel unlovely and lacking worth!
It's a fresh page of our lives. It's a new year! A clean slate! Together, let our hearts rest in His love and power to do "exceedingly and abundantly ABOVE and BEYOND aaaallll that we can ask, think or imagine!" And if you think about it, our gooey chrysalis seasons are metaphors "exceedingly and abundantly ABOVE and BEYOND aaaallll that we can ask, think or imagine" seasons. For from our gooey messy (maybe even tomb like) seasons come a vermillion, flame colored army of butterflies ready to pollinate God's earth and bring life and beauty... for His glory and to make His name and love known. Hold fast sweet friends, God IS AT WORK in ways you cannot see. Turn the page... and trust Him!
If I could have a soundtrack to play in the background of this blog, with all of the photos of caterpillars and butterflies I have taken over the years, I would have "Way Maker" be the song played. If you have heard it yet, google it. Leeland is my favorite rendition that I have heard so far.
"You are here Moving in our midst I worship you You are here Working in this place I worship you You are here Moving in our midst I worship you You are here Working in this place I worship you
Way maker Miracle worker Promise keeper Light in the darkness My God That is who you are You are here Healing every heart... You are here Turning lives around... You are here Mending every heart...
Way maker Miracle worker Promise keeper Light in the darkness That is who you are Way maker Miracle worker Promise keeper Light in the darkness…
With love sweet friends,