Butterflies of Hope: I Am With You Always, My Child

As I walked a nature trail towards the beginning of summer, memory triggers swept through my heart and left me desolate, alone, and afraid. Help me, God! I’m sinking fast!

Lift your eyes and look around you, My child.

I tried so hard to see His love and care in His creation around me, but still those memories of past pain and betrayal kept sucking the life out of my soul.

I sat down on a bench, tears ready to gush forth, my soul pleading for strength and comfort. My eyes lifted and my heart gasped with wonder. A butterfly flew in front of me along with God’s whisper – I am with you always, My child. Then another one flew by as if to confirm God’s promise.

As I walked back to my van, my heart was still heavy with grief from the past, but a hope arose in my soul that God would again get me through this tough spot.

God graciously continued to send me reminders throughout the summer. When my heart was despondent as I drove home from the doctor, one flew a couple of feet in front of the windshield. As I reclined in my chair, feeling sick and drained of energy, one fluttered past the window. And many other times, as one flew by, I had to smile as a calmness seeped into my soul.

One day I told some of my grandkids how when I see a butterfly it’s like God is whispering to me – I am with you always, My child.

“Boy, Grandma, He must have really been yelling it then when we went to the butterfly house!” Lexi said.

One of my counted blessings this summer was when one of my granddaughters, Lexi, asked me to go to the butterfly house with her. 🙂

Some butterflies had broken wings. God helps the broken to fly! 🙂

Butterflies convey God’s message of hope to me, and I’m awed how often He sent them to me this summer. But I’m trying to remember His promise isn’t any less true when the butterflies don’t come.

“And be sure of this:
I am with you always,
even to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20b

The promise of God being with us doesn’t come and go like a butterfly. He has promised He will be with us, and He will be, whether or not we can feel it.

Yes, it can be so hard to grasp and hold onto the promise of God’s faithfulness with our weak and shaky hands. But it’s a comfort that even when we can’t hold on, He won’t let us go. He will hold us up with His victorious right hand!

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT

“Faithful”
by Sarah Reeves

“Even when I cannot see, You are moving
Even when I cannot hear, You are singing over me
Even when I can’t hold on, You won’t let me go
You are faithful, You are faithful

Hallelujah
My soul will sing
Hallelujah
You are good to me
You are faithful, always faithful…”

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.

What I Learned This Summer

gods-glory-in-butterflies
I had fun with this collage template and some of my butterfly photos. Every butterfly I see is God’s whisper to me – “I am still with you, My child.”

When I decided to take a break this summer, I was so overwhelmed. Every time I went back to the computer, that feeling would become even worse. It was time to step back and rest in body, mind, and spirit. Time to examine where I was in my relationship with Jesus and my purpose on this earth. These are some of the lessons I learned or relearned:

I need Jesus like the very air I breathe. Without Him I will suffocate in this journey of life. I have had times in my life where it felt like my bronchial tubes closed up and I couldn’t breathe. I thought I would die. Without Jesus breathing His love and life into me, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, I will not survive.

I can worship God just by taking time for Him, by resting in His love and rejoicing in His goodness. I don’t give more glory to Him by doing more. I need to be more concerned with filling up at His fountain instead of how much I “do.” When my well is dry, I can’t offer refreshment to anyone.

I need to concentrate more on encouraging one person at a time, whoever is placed in my life’s journey. I need to quit beating myself up over not making enough of a difference in this world. At the beginning of this break, I thought that without my blog posts I wasn’t encouraging anyone. But God opened my eyes more to the needs of people He sets in front of me each day and reinforced the truth that even a smile or a compliment can encourage and make someone’s day, whether to a loved one, an acquaintance, or a stranger.

At the beginning of the summer, I was struggling with rebellion against chronic illness. I cried out – Lord, I am so weary of all this. Won’t You just take me now? What good am I doing here when I can’t even think to write a blog post? Why won’t You heal me, Lord? Why won’t you make me stronger in body and mind? Why does this have to get worse as I get older? How is this to Your glory? And on and on. At the same time I felt guilty that I was feeling fretful and complaining so much. After all, don’t others have it much worse than I do? I should be ashamed of myself. But God taught me that it’s okay to bring all my questions and troubles to Him. What is invisible to others is so visible to Him. Even when others have it worse, that doesn’t mean I should chalk off my own troubles as nonexistent. It’s still important to acknowledge I have a chronic illness and emotional trauma from past abuse and to grieve the losses. But it is also important for me to open my heart more to what I can still do that others can’t. To open my heart to all the blessings still surrounding me. To be grateful for His upholding love and grace through every loss in my life. To remember that He can transform the physical and emotional weariness into the beauty of growing stronger in Him.

grievinghowplanschange-6

I want to open my eyes more to the beauty around me. To see God’s beauty everywhere. To thank Him more. Even for ordinary, everyday things like seeing a dog as he sticks his head out of an open car window, the wind flapping his lips into a silly grin. So happy in the Creator who created him. I want to automatically whisper, “Thank You, God, for showing me this.”

I put too much pressure on myself to perform at this website. If I don’t post something every week, I feel like I’m a failure to God, to others, to myself. That’s not true. If I feel in my heart I need to rest from it, I need to listen. It’s ok if a new post doesn’t come out every single Tuesday. It’s ok if I don’t feel strong enough to write vulnerably every time. It’s ok even to just share nature photos and/or a sentence or two. God can make one word or photo breathe hope into someone’s heart just as well as many words. Nothing is impossible with Him!

possiblewithGod

“Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’ He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”
Matthew 6:31 NLT

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

A Child's Trust What is something God taught you this summer?
Are you in the midst of a heavy trial? What is giving you hope?

“Find Rest”
Francesca Battistelli

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