I should have been excited to leave on the trip that I had been looking forward to for a year, but I wasn’t. It was unlike me to feel like I did, but the events of the past few months and a seemingly uncertainty about ministry have left me feeling broken at times.
I walked out onto my deck with my coffee in hand to have a brief moment to myself before I left and noticed the beauty of my butterfly bush. It is a magnificent bush that stands 10 feet tall and is covered with vibrant lavender blooms. There was life in the bush as seven Tiger Swallowtail butterflies danced from bloom to bloom gathering the sweet nectar. There was a time when I used to share my testimony through the butterfly and for 3 years now the visual of a butterfly always reminds me of the incredible work that God has done in my life, transforming me. But as I looked at the butterflies I said to God, “I don’t feel like that beautiful, transformed creature anymore. I feel broken and tattered.”
At that moment, my favorite butterfly, the black and blue Swallowtail butterfly, came fluttering its way towards the bush. For a moment I smiled. Wouldn’t it be just like God to send my favorite one my way when I was feeling down. But as she did her final dance in the air and touched down on the blossom, I began to see that she was anything but perfect. Her beauty was marred. She was tattered and torn. Her appearance spoke of a rough spot that she had gotten herself into and she was now marred for life. She looked like she had just gone through an intense storm.
“That’s how I feel God. That’s how I feel,” I whispered to Him as tears filled my eyes.
I painted on a smile, which seems to be what I do lately, and I greeted my travel companion at the door and headed out on my trip. But I could not shake that visual of that tattered butterfly. It was later the next day as I sat in a session at the conference that I was attending that I started talking to God again about that butterfly. I believed that God sent that butterfly my way for me to see, so what was it He was trying to say?
This was the conversation that we had in my spirit…
“What was that all about God? What were you showing me?”
“When did you notice that she was tattered?”
“While she was sitting still on the bloom.”
“Sometimes people need to rest because they have gone through a terrible storm in their lives. You have been broken and wounded. Your storm was intense and tore you up. When that butterfly was flying, you did not see her wounds which she will carry with her the rest of her life. She continued on and flew as if nothing was holding her back.”
Then He brought to mind the words I spoke on April 29th, 2010 that I shared with the 300 people at her funeral…
And Christina loved the Lord and she loved learning about Him. She relied on Him heavily during those first few years after Keith’s death. Her strength came from Him, and through Him she felt that she could get through anything. She had told me that one of her favorite verses was Isaiah 40:31 which says, “Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” She knew firsthand the renewing power of relying on the Lord and the dramatic effect that can have on a life.
And now as we say good-bye to our friend, our sister, our mother, our daughter, our aunt way too soon, I think that Christina would want us to believe those words for ourselves. If we trust in the Lord through this devastating loss, our strength to go on will be renewed, we will soar again, we will run and not grow weary of the race that we are in, and we will walk through the life that is in front of us, no matter how different it looks now, and we will not faint.
Then my Father whispered to me, “My precious daughter, it’s time to soar again. It’s time to fly.”