I’ve always loved butterflies. They are one of God’s most amazing creatures, aren’t they? They start out as ugly caterpillars and, with a little time and patience, they turn into something beautiful. The metaphor here is obvious. Butterflies remind us that no matter how ugly something is in our lives, we just need to hang on and God will turn it into something beautiful. My life has been full of caterpillars. God has turned many of them into beautiful butterflies and the rest I know he will turn in his time. More stories for a different day.
Yes, butterflies remind me of God’s transformative power, but that’s not the only reason I love them. Butterflies also remind me that God is always doing something new. That what I may be used to seeing as a hairy caterpillar now looks like a butterfly. It’s a reminder to always be on the lookout for the new things God has placed in my life, and not to be scared when they look different than I expected. This has been an important thing for me to remember the last several years because my life has looked so different than anything I’ve ever known.
I love the metaphor of the butterfly so much that I even had one tattooed on my ankle a few months ago. No, really. I’m not joking. At the age of 50 I walked into a tattoo shop and had a big bald guy with full body tattoos, piercings and ear plugs permanently engrave this on my skin:
In case you’re wondering about the scripture reference, it’s:
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ~ Isaiah 43:19
Every time I look at my ankle, the butterfly reminds me that God can make anything beautiful. The scripture reference reminds me that he’s doing something new in my life but I need not be scared because he will make a way to do the things I deem impossible. I also think about my husband since butterflies were always our special symbol because of the way we felt “butterflies” when we were around each other. You can say “awwwwwwwww” here. It is very sweet. Sappy, but still sweet.
Lately, I have even another reason to love butterflies. I knew writing this blog would be healing for me in some way. I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg of the places that need healing here so far, but even so I’ve already noticed something amazing. In the past, when I would reflect on the painful parts of my life, I would get stuck in them. I would wallow in the pain and relive it over and over. I couldn’t get past it. But now I have finally reached a stage in my healing process where something different is happening. As I am writing some of my more difficult posts — the ones that reflect on painful events — I can literally feel a lightening in my spirit. I feel the painful emotions as I write and then I can feel them leaving my body for good. It’s as if a kaleidoscope of butterflies each takes a piece of my pain and flies away with it, delivering it up to God where it belongs. If I close my eyes I can actually envision it happening. It’s a beautiful thing.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~1 Peter 5:10