A Flight of Hope for the Broken-Hearted

Do you ever feel trapped by all the bad things that happened in your life? Weighted down with grief over all the losses that left you feeling so devastated? Are you brokenhearted and crushed in spirit?

I had heard about “Flight of Hope” where loved ones are honored in the releasing of butterflies, but I had never experienced it. In the summer of 2011, a radio station announced this yearly event was taking place that afternoon. On a whim, an hour before it started, I decided to go.

My daughter-in-law and four grandkids picked me up and we were just going to observe, but I ended up purchasing one of their extra butterflies.

I told them my parents’ names, but in my heart I was also thinking how much I wanted to let go of the bad things in my life. Let go of all the pain but also the hidden grudges I have in my heart against those who have hurt me, whether through abuse or slander or lack of support, etc. That deep-seated bitterness I may not even be aware I have. That sense of betrayal that builds walls against meaningful relationships. That false shame that holds me back from feeling the freedom there is in Jesus.

Inspirational singing, stories, and Bible references resonated under the dome in Sertoma Park. As I held the wax envelope that confined the wings of my Monarch butterfly, we wondered, “Is he even alive?” Then music started and he began to move his wings and two front legs like he was pleading, “Let me out, let me out, let me out…”

I felt such a kinship with that butterfly and my heart ached to free him to fly. A deep yearning cried out in my soul, “Please free me, Lord, and let me fly free for YOU!”

I marveled how God in His grace freed my mom and dad through His salvation and then by taking them to Himself. Nothing fetters them anymore. Jesus, You have paid the price for them. Help me to let go of any clinging hurts and dwell only on the good memories You have given because of their presence in my life.

When their names were called, I carefully opened my envelope and let the butterfly crawl into my hand, but it flew away so quickly that the photo showed empty hands and mouthed “ohs.”

Then some gals from the sponsors saw us and let my grandkids hold a couple of extra butterflies. My heart rejoiced to see their awe and delight!

Those memories still linger in my heart. My faithful God’s blessings to a doubting soul like me just keep on multiplying.

My heart lifted with hope that day, but events like these don’t always immediately dissipate our pain. However, they can help us to take the next step in the healing process.

We all go through the grieving process in different ways.
What works for one may not always work for another.
Still, we all need to go through it in order to heal or cope.
What works for you?

AseraCare Hospice sponsors these events as a way to recognize and help families of patients with their grieving process. They chose the butterfly as a symbol of hope and transition.

Flight of Hope 2016

LORD, please wrap all hurting souls in Your love.
Please help us through the grieving process.

Even when our losses are not known to people
or are known but not understood by others,
You know and understand every pain in our hearts.
You care so much and You cry with us!
You have invited all who are broken to find
healing in Your arms of unconditional love.
Thank You, Lord, for Your willingness to
faithfully lead us through the grieving process.

32 thoughts on “A Flight of Hope for the Broken-Hearted

  1. What a beautiful act of release, Trudy. I admit your willingness to forgive. Often our forgiveness comes in fits and starts, and I trust the Lord understands that; he never gives up on us. Thanks for sharing about the butterflies. I love it.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. Oh, how true that our forgiveness comes in fits and starts. Sometimes I think I’ve forgiven, and then so soon afterward, I wonder if I ever have. It’s a process, isn’t it? Thank you for your encouragement that the Lord understands and He never gives up on us! May we learn ever more deeply to forgive as Christ so freely forgives us!

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    1. Thank you, Martha. I’m so grateful this was healing and comforting for you. I love your prayer and I join you in it – “May all our hurts and griefs sail away on the wings of the butterfly as God enfolds us in His loving presence!” Amen! Blessings to you, too!

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  2. The butterflies are beautiful, Trudy … what a neat experience to share with your daughter-in-law and grandkids! Your prayer at the end is just what I needed this morning too … thank you, my friend!

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    1. Thank you, Lois. I’m so grateful you felt included in the prayer and it was just what you needed. There are pains in our hearts only God knows, right? And no one understands us more than Him! My heart aches for you. In all our griefs and hurts, may we find healing in His arms of unconditional love!

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  3. What a beautiful ceremony of release! And even though it does not dissipate the grief immediately as you mention, it’s a memory of release that can be recalled through the process. And so kind that your grandchildren were able to experience holding the monarchs in their hands.

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    1. Yes, it was beautiful, Lynn. It still warms my heart and gives me hope that God will continue to take us step by step through the healing process. And the memory of the awe and delight of my grandkids makes me want to be in awe of the beauty and faithfulness of our God. May He heal all our brokenness ever more deeply!

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  4. Trudy, what a beautiful way to begin letting go of hurts! It sounds like that ceremony was very meaningful. How beautiful that God showed you how you could pray as you took the next step in your healing journey. Your pictures are beautiful, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. Yes, the ceremony certainly was meaningful. Not only the release of the butterflies and its meaning, but the inspirational singing and talks. And the awe and wonder of my grandkids with the butterflies added even more meaning to it all. May we continue to find our hope and healing in Jesus who cares so much!

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  5. I imagine the release of the butterfly was a powerful reminder of what it looks like to surrender all to God. The visual must’ve been beautiful and the opportunity to have your parents names read out loud must have added a layer of finality to the process. Grieving is so difficult no matter what the reason is. Letting go aids in the process but not until our hearts are in sync with the actual letting go. Thank you for sharing a story that is so difficult for you.

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    1. I love your thought, Mary, about the release of the butterfly being a powerful reminder of what it looks like to surrender all to God. I wish I could surrender as easily… It’s so true what you write here about our hearts needing to be in sync with the actual letting go. It can be an up-and-down battle, can’t it? I’m so grateful God is so patient with us! May we fully surrender our hearts and lives into God’s Hands who knows what is best for us!

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  6. I’m glad you got to go and take part in this, Trudy! It sounds like a beautiful way to release your hurts and step further into God’s freedom. The butterfly is a wonderful symbol of that. The photos are amazing too!

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. Yes, the butterfly is a wonderful symbol of releasing our hurts and stepping further into God’s freedom. Such hope and transformation in them. That’s why they are a part of this site and why I named it “Freed to Fly.” May God release us more and more from all that binds us and free us to fly in and for Jesus!

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  7. How beautiful! I had never heard of this. Thank you for writing about it. It really helps me picture “death” in a different way… we are freed to fly into our heavenly Father’s arms! I love that. Love and hugs to you, dear Trudy!

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    1. I love your thoughts that “we are freed to fly into our heavenly Father’s arms,” Lynn. Such a comforting truth, isn’t it? Love and hugs to you, too! May God free us more and more to fly freely and fully in Him and for Him!

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  8. Dear Trudy,
    Oh what a beautiful post! I love the thought of picturing our hearts flying free, just as those butterflies found such freedom to fly! This brought tears to my eyes because God has used butterflies to speak to my heart many times over the years to symbolize the new transforming life that He brings to us. But to connect this new life with a deeper forgiveness is so beautiful too! I am so glad that you were able to have this opportunity and to share it with your grandchildren also! Blessings love and hugs to you dear friend!

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    1. I’m so glad God has often used butterflies to speak your heart, Bettie. We have a kinship in that. It’s why my site is called “Freed to Fly.” 🙂 God breaks us free from our cocoons of pain and sin, transforms us more into His glory, and frees us to fly in Him and for Him. Someday we will be fully set free! Blessings and hugs to you, too! May God further transform us into His likeness and for His glory!

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Oh yes, that continuous yearn for release… It’s beyond comprehension how much God longs to heal our wounded souls, isn’t it? He is so compassionate, loving, and forgiving! May we more and more be released from ourselves and our pains and plans and wholeheartedly rest in our Healer who always knows what’s best for us!

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  9. Hi Trudy,
    A butterfly release is so powerful since it embodies the release of what’s holding us back in our lives. Moving toward healing with a tangible act of remembrance is such a beautiful memory like yours was that you can carry with you always. I love it that your grandkids got to hold butterflies a little longer to engrave a lovely memory on their minds and hearts of you and this event, too! xoxo

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    1. Yes, a tangible act of remembrance is powerful, Valerie. I had forgotten about this for some time, but God brought it back to me, and it’s still so comforting. I can look back 7 years later and see how God is giving ever deeper healing. Thank You, God! It was so special that the women there gave the extra butterflies to my grandkids since they were a little disappointed that ours flew away so quickly. 🙂 xoxo to you, too! May we be released more and more from what’s holding us back in our lives!

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  10. Trudy, this experience and its releasing act for those who are grieving fits so well with your blog’s theme of being freed to fly, including as it does the addressing of our hurts along the way. And allowing space for God’s healing power and grace to accomplish the freeing and forgiveness we desperately need. How lovely and symbolic to be able to do this with actual butterflies! Such large beauties as well. I’m glad you and your grandchildren got to be a part of it and have those sweet memories to look back on. I love butterflies too and they always speak to me of freedom and joy. Blessings and hugs! xo ❤

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    1. How God transforms us and frees us to fly is what my blog’s theme is about, Joy. Thank you for noticing the similarity. I’m always awed, too, by how a cocoon can’t be peeled away quickly as it would damage the wings. The butterfly needs to slowly squeeze through a tiny opening in order for fluid to spread to its wings and allow it to fly. If it doesn’t receive that, the wings will be shriveled up and unable to fly. Easier isn’t better. The butterfly needs the struggle in order to fly. Just like us, right? We so need the oil of God’s grace to free us and give us wings to fly, don’t we? May we open our hearts more and more to the freedom and joy God longs to give us! Blessings and hugs to you, too!

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