What happens when butterflies get broken? Can they be put back together again? These thoughts went through my mind as looked at the beautiful, unique, one-of-a-kind necklace my daughter sent me from Japan.
The necklace is from Nozomi Project (or “Hope” Project) begun by Sue Takamoto of Asian Access to help women in Ichinomaki, Japan, where the 2011 tsunami hit. She saw it as a way to help the Japanese women who had lost nearly everything bring beauty out of brokenness.
Jenny lives in Inchinoseki-shi about an hour and a half from Ichinomaki, the area was devastated. When Sue and her family went to help following the tsunami she saw beauty in the broken pottery that seemed abundant in the area. Her idea now provides employment, dignity, biblical community and hope for women whose lives were broken by the disaster.
The necklace Jenny chose for me, has pieces of a butterfly on it. The butterfly has become a symbol of my own transformation, which she knew. As I looked at the piece, I saw the butterfly’s body was on one side and one of its wings on the other. It was a broken butterfly.
Many times the butterfly is used to symbolize new birth in Christ, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”1 As Christians we are butterflies soaring to new heights, no longer caterpillars crawling on the ground.
But what happens when the butterfly finds itself broken? When the cares and worries of life have grounded it, when it’s wings are tattered or pulled apart? Maybe it happened in an accident. Maybe someone abused it. Maybe it made bad choices which just crushed it.
What happens then? Can a butterfly be put back together or is it doomed to never be a butterfly again?
Looking closely at my necklace, the cross leaped out at me. The writer of Hebrews tells us to throw off those things that entangle us and weigh us down and run “the race with patience fixing our eyes on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”2
The butterfly can be mended if it but trusts the Creator to teach it how to fly again. Perhaps some flight lessons will be order. Some rearranging of priorities and giving up of entanglements will be necessary but there is no doubt God who gave the butterfly life can make it fly again.
The small, rectangular tab hanging on the chain is inscribed with the word, “hope.” While joy is involved in getting rid of things that keep us grounded even after we’ve been made into butterflies, hope is even stronger.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that in Christ we have hope that is an anchor or our souls.3 For those who have no hope of getting through the brokenness of ever coming out on the other side to be useful or whole again, it is hope in Jesus or in Japanese, “nozomi,” that gets us there.
This butterfly is flying again. Did it ever think it would fly all the way to America from Japan? Did it ever think it would be a symbol for those who have chosen to be made into something even more beautiful than they were originally?
It is only in the design and craftsmanship of those with hope and newfound joy that this butterfly was resurrected from the bottom of a trash heap into a magnificient work of art.
It can happen to you too my friend.
More about Nozomi
Nozomi is a social enterprise bringing sustainable income, community, dignity and hope to the women in Ishinomaki, Japan and the surrounding region by training women to craft high-quality jewelry products. Nozomi women are creating one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry featuring broken pieces of pottery left in the wake of the tsunami. As broken shards are being transformed into beautiful treasures, lives are being filled with renewed dignity and hope.
1 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
2 Hebrews 12:1 NIV
3 Hebrews 6:19 NLT
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