This is part two of a two-part series. You can find part 1 of Raising Butterflies: Caterpillars HERE.
A butterfly that is prematurely released from its chrysalis would not be able to fly. The strength necessary to free it from that tomb is what creates the “muscles” necessary for flight. This part isn’t new information to us, as it’s been included in many a motivational speech or sermon. So we don’t interfere. We respect again these laws of nature. We would not rob this creature of its ability to fly.
And what if the butterfly did not push its way out of that prison? What if he had seen these changes take place and yet lost the battle in his mind? What if instead he found himself comfortable in that tight shell?
Beyond that, what if, just as he started struggling, an ill-advised friend happened by and thought, “Hey, let me get you out of there! That looks uncomfortable!” This attempt to bestow freedom to another would create bondage instead. Those beautiful wings would become a ball and chain rather than the illuminous liberators they were intended to be.
None of us welcome the struggling, do we? Maybe if I got a pair of wings every time I survived a difficult season, I’d be more inclined to lean in, but that hasn’t been the case. My feet are still planted firmly on the ground for the most part. Still, I believe in the change that is taking place. And when His Light hits me just right, I believe that others see it, too.
And so we waited some more. And we watched. Knowing the time was near, we took turns watching so we wouldn’t miss the big reveal. Fortunately, this was the week we had received an update on our smart phone allowing us to use time-lapse video.
Just like that. A tiny chrysalis was holding that grand spectacle! The insect’s abdomen is filled when it first emerges. This fluid is pumped into the wings to inflate them to full size. In a few moments, those wings will release that liquid, and when its wings are dry, it’s ready to fly!
And so it goes. We know that we are a new creation in Christ. We also know that we live in a broken world. Does the butterfly analogy parallel our journey to salvation (where we emerge from the chrysalis as a believer) or does this describe our eternal destiny (whereas, we remain in our pupa state until heaven)?
These are just thoughts to ponder, not a reason to debate. Just like you, even as a believer, I have experienced the pangs and struggles of one trapped in an earthly body. I have questioned; I have complained; and sometimes I have given up and just rested in my own sarcophagus. And there is a time for resting there. God IS working even then. But then there’s that necessary time of struggle—when my wings are in strength training. And there are times when I think the only relief will come on the other side of earthly life.
Yet sometimes my surrender lines up with God’s intentions for me, and I am right where He wants me. And in those moments, it feels like I’m flying—like I’ve become fully who I was created to be. Sure, I always manage to find my way back to the ground, and there are other times when I try to get right back into that chrysalis. But you know what? I don’t fit in there anymore. I am looking for my next opportunity to ride the wind.
God, thank you for the lessons of the butterfly. Father, help us to hold fast to the hope of our true identity in You. Let us be confident in the promise of the work You are doing in us. Help us to surrender to You even when we don’t understand what’s happening. May we trust You through the struggles we face believing that nothing is wasted. And give us wisdom and courage to be transparent when appropriate so that others may be encouraged. Finally, may we recognize the opportunities to use the wings you have given us. And may those opportunities bring praise and glory and honor to You! -Amen
Lori Mosteller is a wife and mother of three. She lives in Columbia, MO. She enjoys photography and exploring nature with her family. Lori is a singer/songwriter with a passion for worship. Her original song, I Am (watch on youtube), was chosen as the theme song for LeadHer, and is available on iTunes for download here. She shares her talents with the local church as well and is currently finishing her first album. You can like her on Facebook to keep up with that project