From Darkness and Captivity to Light and Freedom to Fly

The caterpillar certainly identifies with the feeling of loss and lack of control as his body slowly scrunches into a pupa or chrysalis. Darkness engulfs him, and he can no longer move.

His old self slowly dies but transforms into a beautiful butterfly that slowly emerges from captivity through a tiny opening. A struggle is necessary to push the fluid out of his body into his wings. If the struggle is hurried, the result will be shriveled wings and no ability to fly. After he stretches and dries his wings in a world of light, he is freed to fly.

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof
that you can go through a great deal of darkness
yet become something beautiful.”
– Beau Taplin –

“Just when the caterpillar
thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly.”
– Chang Tzu –

“And we all, who with unveiled faces
contemplate the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into His image
with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord,
who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:18
“I am here to bring light in this world,
freeing everyone who believes in Me
from the darkness that blinds him.”
John 12:46 VOICE

Nothing Is Wasted
by Jason Gray

“The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted…”

Our Voices Matter to Our Creator

“There is NO ONE alive who is YOUER than YOU!” So true, isn’t it?

God created each of us as His unique creation, even down to the tiniest details. We weren’t created on an assembly line. Each of us is a masterpiece of the Master Designer.

It may be hard to believe we are personally valuable to God, but we are. Every part about us is important to Him and created for His purpose. Including our voices, those deepest emotions of our inner souls. That one-of-a-kind way we express ourselves. How we feel in our heart of hearts. What are we passionate about? What are our dreams? What do we feel committed to? What makes us cry? What gives us hope? What revives our strength? What depletes us?

Painful experiences we’ve been through can crush our voices and make us feel like it doesn’t matter how we feel or what we think or say. We may become afraid of the consequences of speaking up. Afraid we will be hurt, rejected, or slandered again.

Sometimes I still ignore my inner voice, the true me God has created. She can get buried inside of me until I remember again how precious I am to God, how much He loves me, and how He wants me to be myself. To believe I am special to Him and to recognize the true feelings, gifts, and rights He has given me. To say and do what He has placed in my heart, not to say or do what others want me to or to run and hide in my shell.

Have you ever in your heart felt strongly about something but you kept silent? Have you ever tried to fill the expectations others have for you? Perhaps out of fear, to avoid conflict, or to make them feel better? Have you ever hid behind a smiling mask because you’re afraid if you expose your brokenness, you won’t be accepted? Then you’re not alone.

It can be hard not to beat ourselves up for not speaking up when it’s important. For not being authentic like God calls us to be.

It’s a comfort to know that God’s love is unfailing. He cares about us, even when we hide the unique person He created us to be. He is love Himself and will never hold our failures against us. He longs to heal all the hurts inside that hold us back from expressing the true voice He has planted within us. That voice that was created in His image and needs to come out to His glory. May He give us the grace and strength to do so!

“Who I am does not change who God is;
yet my knowing who I am, in God, changes me.
It changes me from a false identity to a true one,
from a life of slavery to one of freedom.”
Jennifer Camp

“To know what you prefer
instead of humbly saying Amen to what
the world tells you you ought to prefer,
is to have kept your soul alive.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

“Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance,
you feel a loss of energy, loss of power,
a sense of spiritual deadness.”
Shakti Gawain

Remind Me Who I Am
by Jason Gray

“When my heart is like a stone,
And I’m running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I can’t receive Your love
Afraid I’ll never be enough
Remind me who I am
If I’m Your beloved
Can You help me believe it
Tell me, once again
Who I am to you, who I am to You, whoa
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you, that I belong to You
To You…”

 

Not Ignoring Either the Pain or the Beauty In Our Lives and In This World

Courtesy of Little Birdie Blessings

“Why? Why? Why?” The only word she would speak. On and on in a croaky voice.

This woman recently passed away at the care facility where my granddaughter works. Over-analyzer that I am, I wondered “why” she did this. Were there deep hurts in her heart that she could not voice?

It wouldn’t let me go, and I realized that deep down in my heart many whys are like heavy sludge, refusing to loosen. Why do so many vulnerable children and adults suffer from abuse and neglect? Why is there so much hate and injustice in this world? Why won’t God heal me from this chronic illness? Why does my heart sometimes refuse to see myself through Jesus’ love and grace? Why do I condemn myself when God doesn’t condemn me? Why can’t I let go and trust God completely with all that overwhelms me? Why? Why? Why?

I too easily get bogged down with the pain and ugliness in this world. How dare I be happy when so many people are suffering in this world? I can’t seem to let go of these concerns and place them into the hands of our God who has the whole world in His hands. And I forget to remember the beauty He still gives us.

I recently read an article about living in the tension of beauty and pain. Alia Joy‘s reflections resonate in my heart and speak to the anxieties that sometimes burden me. She challenges us to keep turning our eyes toward beauty.

“We keep turning our eyes toward beauty,
not to ignore the ugliness in the world,
but to have the strength to do something about it.

He has equipped me with everything I need.
He’s not calling me to ignore
his blessings or my pain,
he’s asking me to bear witness
to life as it is.
The pain and the beauty.

He’s calling me to peace in the tension,
not an escape nor another thing to do
but a place to abide in him
and be met with hope.”

Focusing too much on the pain and darkness can overwhelm us and drain our strength. Turning our eyes toward beauty, especially the love and hope to be found in Jesus, strengthens us. Our calling is to abide in Him and His love and to bear witness of life as it is, both the pain and the beauty.

During my break, I again revisited a 2012 post, Depression and New Beginnings. It helps to remember how God graciously sends beauty in the midst of pain to help us move towards the light of His love and grace and how He gave me the vision for a changed focus at this blog.

It’s good to remind ourselves of past mercies, isn’t it? To purposely look back at how God rescued us again and again. To remember that even when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, God is still loving us and working quietly to strengthen us to make it through the darkness.

Pain in your heart and life, in mine, and in this world is real, and God doesn’t want us to ignore it or hide it. May we be authentic with the pain and the ugliness but also bear witness to the beauty of His unfailing love and compassion.

Though I have returned, I need to give myself more grace. I hope to be here through the summer, but there will be times when I share something short or even skip a week or two. I look forward to hearing from many of you again. As always, readers, though I would love to connect with you, don’t ever feel pressured to comment. Whether or not you join in the comments, it is my prayer that Jesus wraps you in the safety of His love and grace. I hope you never leave here without His hope!

Steady My Heart
by Kari Jobe

“Even when it hurts
Even when it’s hard
Even when it all just falls apart
I will run to You
‘Cause I know that You are
Lover of my soul
Healer of my scars
You steady my heart…”