Butterfly Blessings from God

Nature is one of the channels God uses to breathe life into fainting spirits and to give assurance that He is still in control over all, no matter what happens in our lives and in this world.

At the end of May, my youngest brother was admitted to ICU with severe pancreatitis. I cried out to God to heal him and spare his life. I was afraid, and I could not trust God’s plan for him. Other anxieties for those struggling emotionally, stories not mine to tell, were also storming in my heart, threatening to drown me.

One day I took a walk and spotted a Monarch and a Painted Lady on a lilac bush. As I gazed in awe, the storm in my heart stilled as God whispered, “I’m with him, My child. I’ve got him. I’m with those who are emotionally in pain. I am with you.” The heavy load that threatened to crush me drained from me, and I could release all of them to His care and His plan.

Some time later, I was with some of my siblings and families in a park. It had been my turn this year to plan a reunion, and I needlessly worried about it for months. I love them all dearly, but crowds aren’t my thing. I’m more a one-on-one gal. I was also worried about over-doing it, because sometimes when I get out of my slower routine, health repercussions follow. Probably deeper though was the anxiety I have for anyone hurting and the helplessness I feel that I can’t “fix” things. (I’m still a work in progress in surrendering everyone’s needs to God.) As I sat at a table underneath a shelter, my heart felt grieved, my spirit disconnected, and my body tired and achy. Then there it was! A butterfly fluttering near me! And God whispered, “I’m here. I’m still with you” as He breathed His sufficient grace into my weariness. Later on, the butterfly flew by again with its reassuring love note. Thank You, God!

God continued to send me love notes through butterflies at timely moments throughout the summer. I could be looking out the window at home, driving along in our van, or taking a walk.

What was your summer like? I know many of you are suffering from losses in one way or another, and I’m so sorry. It can be hard to open our hearts to God’s messages of comfort when we are weighed down with grief, can’t it? I pray God strengthens each of you.

Did God sometimes strengthen or comfort you through His creation? How? Please feel free to share with us!

“The Lord Himself goes before you
and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8
Some butterflies have battered wings,
but they still fly and spread God’s encouragement.

♥️ A lesson for us that God can use us, no matter how broken we are. ♥️

He Is With Us
by Love and The Outcome

“Remember when your hope is lost and faith is shaken
Remember when you wonder if you’re gonna make it
There’s a hand stretched out through your deepest doubt
We can’t pretend to see the ending or what’s coming up ahead
To know the story of tomorrow
But we can stay close to the One who knows

We can trust our God
He knows what He’s doing
though it might hurt now

We won’t be ruined
It might seem there’s an ocean in between
But He’s holding on to you and me
And He’s never gonna leave, no
He is with us, He is with us (always, always)
He is with us, He is with us (always)”

(P.S. My brother’s life was spared!)

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.

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“God Of All My Days”
by Casting Crowns

“In my worry, God You are my stillness
In my searching, God You are my answers
In my blindness, God You are my vision
In my bondage, God You are my freedom
In my weakness, God You are my power
You’re the reason that I sing
‘Cause You’re the God of all my days”


Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommend
links, books, quotes, etc.
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ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 This month I have added an “S” Word:

❤︎  Saving Love ❤︎
“For God did not send His Son into the world
that He might condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 3:17
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Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

Hope When It Hurts by Kristen Wetherell & Sarah Walton

This has been on my wish list for some time, and I finally ordered it. I have only read the first chapter, but I am already loving it.

“Life hurts. We’re no strangers to this fact. It’s why we wrote this book. And not simply because life hurts, but because there’s hope even when it does.

Sarah and I have walked through, and are walking in, difficult times. So these thirty biblical reflections are full of realism about the hurts of life—yet overwhelmingly full of hope about the God who gives life.

We wrote this book for you, to point you to hope, because there’s more to our suffering than meets the eye. This book is about the God who offers hope, even joy, in suffering. It’s a journey through 2 Corinthians 4 and 5, where we see that God wants to give us hope not just beyond our hurts but in our hurts; that he wants us to see how he is able to work in and through suffering and ultimately give us himself.

With a foreword by Nancy Guthrie, Hope When It Hurts contains a biblical reflection for each chapter, along with questions, prayers, and a space for journaling.

We pray this book greatly helps you, as you cling to the God of all hope.”

– Kristen & Sarah

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 They Ask How You Are And You Say Fine But Are You? – “Even though depression affects millions of people throughout the U.S. alone, it’s still difficult for people with depression to talk about it. Sometimes, your friends and family mean well when they ask how you are and you say fine, but are you? Individuals with depression tend to write off their depression, both to other people and to themselves. So, we’d like to explore why that is and why it’s okay to say you’re not fine.” (BetterHelp)

💞 What To Do When Childhood Trauma Holds You Back – “Once you experience childhood trauma, your life is forever changed. Children who are abused or neglected or suffer a major loss may continue to have serious psychological problems even after they are adults. If you find you have difficulty having healthy relationships or being successful at work, it may be childhood trauma that’s holding you back from having the life you want, even if you don’t recognize the signs that you were abused, neglected, or suffered some other kind of trauma. The good news is that you can identify and heal from childhood trauma. When you do, you can move past the trauma and create the life you want most.” (BetterHelp)

💞 You Can’t Rush Grief by Kimberly Key – “‘I’m trying to get to acceptance as soon as I can.’ That was a brush-off line that someone told me one day after their father died. They didn’t want to expound on the feelings they had just shared and said they didn’t want to talk because they were trying to get to acceptance as SOON as they could. I understand it and do the same thing. I don’t want to feel pain or linger in any sadness for too long. I don’t want to feel out of control and am probably afflicted by that same universal fear that lies deep within all of us…what happens if I feel the pain and I can’t come out of it? So my reflex is to take control and move through it. FAST.”

Nature Retreat

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures
from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~ Francis of Assisi

I don’t take many new nature photos during the winter, so I’m always delighted to see and share what my brother, John, from Arizona captures. These are some of his more recent photos: a Chihauhaun Raven, a Crested Caracara, a Great Horned Owl, and a hummingbird in her nest.

🐾 NANPA’s Showcase Gallery 2018 – A variety of breath-taking photos of North American Nature Photography Association’s top 250 showcase images

🐾 3649 God’s Creatures Great and Small – Explore Toni Mayben’s pinterest collection of amazing photos of God’s creatures great and small

🐾 Butterfly Photos  Over 3 million beautiful butterfly photos on Flickr

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Quotes

New quotes this month are about Truth.

❤︎ “Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself. – Augustine

❤︎ “The only way to speak the truth is to speak lovingly. – Henry David Thoreau

❤︎ “You were only meant, created, commanded to be who you are.– Shauna Niequist

 

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