Have you ever experienced an incidence when God speaks through an unexpected guest?
On this particular night this is exactly what happened.
I had just put all three of my toddlers to bed, did a quick skim of the kitchen—meaning the normal wipe down of the kitchen table from sticky syrup the kids dripped during breakfast to the left-over Chick-fil-a crumbs from my shot-gun dinner plan—when I glanced outside and noticed the trees swaying to the cool breeze, routinely making its way through my neighborhood that evening. A stirring in my heart triggered this longing to be out right now on my patio, winding down after a long afternoon by myself with the kiddos.
Oftentimes I push this felt desire aside, as my never-ending list of to-do’s always seems to take priority over spending some much needed time of solitude with Creation.
Tonight I wasn’t going to let this happen.
I quickly filled up my water glass and opened the French doors leading out to the area I call my oasis—two simple patio chairs between a teal round table which compliments the tranquil hues of my pool.
I began to get settled and fought past the urge to “check-out” with my phone holding those drippingly addictive apps—one that starts with “Face” and ends with “book.” Tonight I wanted to simply clear my mind and be free of distractions—of being bombarded indirectly by my insecurities that sometimes follows me after spending 5 or 10 minutes comparing my life to others from a silly little app.
After only a few moments, I decided to make this night perfectly relaxing for me—a small glass of wine might suffice to calm my overwhelmed-with-life nerves.
I made my way back toward the house, walking with stride, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a pattern that always catches my attention. Ever since I had an intimate experience with The Creator two years prior, meaning has been given to me when I encounter this beautiful creation: the butterfly.
God often speaks to me through butterflies. Or through her cousin—the moth.
And there she was… I saw with wings spread out, what looked like a drowned butterfly floating silently, unmoving in the still water of our pool.
I actually kept walking… one-and-a-half steps more before I stopped, backtracked, and gazed down sadly at this small lifeless beauty.
I decided I couldn’t just let her coffin be this floating abyss where gravity plays tricks on all who enter. I gently lifted her out of the watery stillness with the tips of my two fingers…
Instantly sensation sparked through my fingertips.
A wriggling sensation.
A fluttering sensation.
Shocked at my discovery that this little creature still had life, I quickly inspected her.
Her wings still looked intact and undamaged. Her body and feet were all in place. Her antennae’s frantically searched for understanding of who her rescuer was.
I then noticed her flattened wings began to pull back to a more upright position, hiding the beautiful shades of orange and yellows speckled on charcoal gray wings, which being sandwiched together now revealed her everyday-matte-gray finish. This little gal was perhaps a hybrid of the butterfly and moth species. (I won’t bore you with the details of how I know it’s a hybrid, that is not the point.)
I took my little hybrid gal over to my sitting chair and began to wait for her to warm up. (I completely forgot about my wine desire by now.) She crawled around aimlessly on my fingertips, slowly gaining bearings of her surroundings again as her wings began to dry.
The cool breeze picked up speed and dropped to a crisper level, sending a slight chill over me. The sun was now past the horizon. Dusk had approached sooner than expected as I was enjoying my unexpected guest, completely oblivious to time.
I gently set her down on my teal round table next to me. Steady gusts began to shake through the trees, yet she seemed to have reached her bearings now, grasping the table with her sticky feet well enough to prevent being blown over. I scurried back inside to grab the warmth of my quilt and just as quickly, scurried back.
But she was gone.
I searched the ground for her to see if she was blown off. Nothing. I carefully checked the chairs and surroundings. I honestly didn’t think she was ready to fly yet after her very recent half-drowning episode.
Only a few more minutes of searching the premises I decided to accept that she survived. Flew off toward her destiny. No longer drowning in the waters that nearly took her life.
I am overwhelmed these days to the point where I often feel like I’m this butterfly—drowning—unable to lift my wet wings out of the abyss that’s holding me down. The stress levels on certain days are to the point where it comes out in raging bursts, sadly with the one’s I love most. I’m not proud to admit this. It breaks my heart the moment I see these outbursts of stress come out of my mouth or displayed in my actions. Yet being honest with myself helps me search for understanding behind this issue, as well as prevents me from hiding behind a mask that far too many of us are overly skilled at.
My mask is that I’ve got complete control over my emotions at all times in my life. That I always have it together. That I never get stressed out with the demands of 3 children, working part-time, building a ministry with my husband, investing in friendships,… the list of demands seem endless.
God clearly showed me a parallel tonight, opening the fog to this issue that I am constantly battling and struggling with.
I am that butterfly, drowning. I’m relying on my own strength all too often these days, trying to get out of the abyss that is seeking to bury me. My energy feels drained. Time always seems to be my enemy. My mind is in a constant stage of stress.
Why do I insist on always trying to do everything on my own strength when the Father of all Creation is saying, “you can’t! You need ME!”
God’s got this. He is in control. He is my strength when I am weak. He is my fortress when I am feeling overwhelmed.
Sometimes I put God in a box, limiting His abilities to enter my life and help me when I need help. I have to force myself to open the box and let God into the messiness of my life in order to find strength beyond my own, peace beyond my understanding, and love beyond boundaries.
Maybe you need to know this too right now, that with God by your side, the impossible is made possible. The hopelessness is transformed to hope. The unlovely is stripped down to its beauty. The anxieties boil down to peace.
But you have let God in first.
I’m resting right now in the tranquility that surpasses all understanding because I know God has saved me, and is saving me day by day, moment by moment. I am not in control but He is… I am out of my own strength but He lends me His. Therefore, I have no need to feel overwhelmed.
I am stretching my delicate wings, getting ready to fly with the assuredness that my God has saved me from death, and continues to save me daily from all my struggles and failures and shortcomings. I am a new creation in Christ, therefore I will boldly fly, with faith, in the shadows of this world.