This week I went to sit with a hot cup of coffee in my raggedy looking butterfly garden. The leaves of the plant have been partially stripped by my ravenous monarch caterpillars and the leaves are spotted from some disease. But, I love this garden of life that, despite its scraggly appearance, is like a sanctuary of life for many monarchs who come to sip the sweet nectar hidden below the surface of the fire colored blossoms.
If you have gotten this far reading, and if you are someone who is in the midst of pain due to a struggling marriage, deal with low self esteem, if you have a child who has strayed from the love of God, if you are one that doubts yourself or the love of God, if you feel inadequate as a parent or doubt your incredible worth and value, etcetera... then I want you to know that I am writing this for you! With great love I write, praying for God to comfort you and that you let these truths encompass you with the truth of God's love for you and your great purpose despite the heart wrenching or trying season you are in.
As I was about to sit to enjoy the crisp fall weather that had FINALLY arrived, I saw a butterfly with a broken wing flying around my garden. I was mesmerized! The timing of me seeing this butterfly coincided with me waking up early that morning to pray for a precious young woman going through a very difficult time in her life.
How in the world could this broken-winged butterfly fly? And yet, it flew delicately while bouncing and floating like a ballerina. There is a sort of romantic way that God touches my heart when I observe these butterflies. It nourishes my soul. God speaks tenderly to me amidst the ugliness of my worn garden (sometimes much like my own heart and life). God speaks in parables of love through so many things in my garden. I could write a blog about each one.
Back to the story. I ran inside to get my 70-200 mm lens so I could zoom in and capture this amazing butterfly. I stalked it with longing to capture it's broken beauty, as it twisted and twirled up into the sky dancing like vermillion lace in the wind. Trying to capture a butterfly in flight with a zoom lens is quite a challenging, yet invigorating, task. As cold winds gently kissed my cheeks and hands, I too danced in unison with the butterfly as it moved around my yard. Spinning like a child as I focused my lens towards the sky, I searched to find and then focus on this lovely parable in flight!
I was determined to get just one picture of it flying as I circled around in waltz like fashion. The Lord ministered to my heart as I tried to find this illusive butterly! But my greatest determination came because wrapped up inside of my heart was a love in which I embraced, in the unseen places of prayer, a young woman I dearly love... along with all the other treasures in my life like her. I had been praying that morning for her, her daughters and her husband. Because of painful marital wounds I was praying for her and her family. I saw symbolic parallels of God's love through this delicate orange butterfly!
Finally, I found my lens was able to capture the butterfly's delicate fragile strength against the the backdrop of a blanket of bright white clouds. I was in awe! This is me, this is my sweet treasured Merrill and this is you! Beauty in brokenness! Strong despite deep woundings and scars!
Last year I had seen a butterfly missing even more of her wing! I was about to try to catch her and put her into a container to feed her so she could live. I knew she would never do anything but flap helplessly on the ground. But, when I came outside she had somehow gained the strength and fought up into the air with more of an awkward elegance than the butterfly I photographed above. She managed to struggle upward and over my garage and into my butterfly garden. A ran around back and to my amazement that was when I realized that butterfly was female. She not only was drinking sweet nectar from the brilliant flowers, but she began laying eggs!!!! Whhhaaat? Is not the coolest thing ever!
She was, in a sense, "birthing" life despite the ravaged condition of her wings. I still so wanted to bring her close and keep her safe and rescue her. But she then rose up on broken wings and danced a limp like dance into the air. And I no choice than to release her with a prayer.
In the same way, I am saying a prayer for each of you, as I entrust you the strong and gentle winds of God's love. May He woe you and bring you to His garden of truth.... the truth of His powerful, unwavering and unconditional love for you. May you drink of the truth of His love so that in the pain and self doubts and trials of life, you may rise in your brokenness and find strength to nurture the lives around you (including nurturing yourself)! Speak truth to yourself! Fight off the lies in your heads! If it weighs you down, then it's a lie. If it lifts you up like a gentle wind or provides strength to face live's trials it is truth!
My prayer is that you will rise into the winds of God's love, that you will seek out the sweet nectars of the truth in God's word and find rest in His garden I love. To each of you... God loves you! And I deeply care for you and have a deep sisterly love towards you. I am available to let you share your struggles, cry any tears you have locked up and wipe them away with a hug and a prayer. Even across the miles, I am here with prayers and love! Reach out to me if you need to!
Much love... and 'til the next blog my sweet friends,