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!)

Stepping Into the Unknown With Fear and Trusting Jesus Will Never Abandon Us

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Island Park in a small town in NW Iowa. I remember the challenge of crossing the river on stepping-stones at the bottom of a waterfall.

A couple of steps were missing and left wide gaps of uncertainty. As I sat on a step and reached my bare toes underneath the water, I could still feel the missing step’s slimy, slippery foundation. Dare I step forward?

Sometimes I didn’t dare. Other times I risked it, but I soon changed my mind when I nearly slipped into the rushing water. However, there were also times I did brave it and got to the other side of the river with a shout of victory.

Sometimes a flood drowns out Island Park. The river rages and obliterates all traces of any steps at all. When devastating storms in our lives churn up chaos in our hearts, the way forward can get blinded by fear. What if we take the wrong step? What if we fail? What if we get hurt again?

When Peter walked on the water towards Jesus, he stepped out in blind faith. His eyes were fixed on Jesus, and he gave no thought to missing stepping-stones. But then his heart looked away from Jesus, and all he saw were the winds whipping up the waves to a frenzy. His courage crashed. And he sank in fear… Save me, Lord! (Matthew 14:22-34)

Jesus stretched out His hand and rescued him. Even though he doubted. And He will do the same for us, even when we become faint of heart. Jesus never holds our lack of trust against us. He rescues us anyway.

Our lives are like taking small steps of faith, aren’t they? Small steps, not without fear, but in spite of fear. Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but still forward.

We don’t know what lies ahead of us in this world. As we reach our toes ahead into uncertainty, our hearts may tremble with fear. Sometimes we slip and slide and fall wounded. Sometimes fear sinks us when we lose our focus on our only hope in Jesus. In panic, we cry out to God.

Again and again, Jesus will grasp our hand with His hand of powerful, unfailing love, pull us up again, and give us the strength to go on. He’s got us in His firm grip, and He’s not going to let us go.

“If God hadn’t been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, ‘I’m slipping, I’m falling,’
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.”
Psalm 94:17-19 MSG
“That’s right. Because I, your GOD,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.'”
Isaiah 41:13 MSG
“When struck by fear,
I let go, depending securely upon You alone.”
Psalm 56:3 VOICE

“I Am Not Alone”
by Kari Jobe

 

Remembering God’s Power

Godpower

“They did not remember His power
– the day He redeemed them from the oppressor.”

Psalm 78:42

The Israelites didn’t remember God’s power. The miraculous signs in Egypt, the wonders of the Red Sea and the Jordan River opening up for them, and so many other marvelous deliverances He got them through. They had a short memory span.

The disciples had this, too, when they were in a boat with Jesus. (Mark 4:35-41) A storm whipped up and raged, powerful waves washing over the boat. The boat was filling up, and it seemed they would be doomed to the sea. And where was Jesus? Asleep on a pillow.

They cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” They didn’t see how safe they were with Jesus in the boat. Did they not remember all the miraculous healing they saw Jesus perform, even the casting out of evil spirits? Couldn’t that same Jesus rescue them?

When Jesus got up, He rebuked the wind and waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately they calmed.

Jesus asked, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were afraid before, and now they were still shocked and terrified. You mean even the winds and waves obey Him? They did not know Jesus well enough yet, they forgot how much His power was displayed in His miracles, and they underestimated that this power was available also for them.

Both the Israelites and then the disciples failed to remember God’s great mercies in the past.

A short memory span. I have that, too. I focus on the past and present storms in life and blind myself to see and remember all God’s past mercies towards me. So easily I forget God’s power shown to me in the past, His Almighty ability to rescue me from the deepest pit, His watchful care over every detail of my life.

I underestimate Jesus and His power for me, even though He’s given me proof of it again and again.

I forget about present displays of God’s power, too. Displays that should remind me how faithful and powerful He really is. In the cold winter months, when because of chronic illness, I can’t go out into nature, I miss all God’s creation. I tend to sometimes get downhearted. But as I sit here and look out the window, I see the sun’s power melting rooftops of snow even when it’s still below freezing. God faithfully sent that sun and the power behind it. When I see bunny tracks on the snow, I need to remember that it’s God who gave His creature a warm enough coat to survive the winter. When the snow comes down, I need to remember God’s special grace, how He has the power to wash me whiter than the snow. I need to remember that God’s power is displayed in His creation, including us, even when we don’t see it or remember it.

Isn’t God amazing? He just keeps on giving and giving and giving. Even when we don’t receive or give in return. When the Israelites turned their hearts back to Him and asked for His help, He again and again showered them with His long-suffering patience and powerful mercy and grace. When the disciples were afraid, He didn’t hold that against them, but He again showed love and mercy. And when I time after time doubt His power and faithfulness, He is so forgiving, loving, and caring.

I know it’s not always easy, especially when storms toss us to and fro and blindside our memory, but let’s try to help each other remember that the same power God showed in the past and faithfully displays each day of life on this earth certainly has the power to get us through whatever storms trouble our lives.

“Who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-7

Praying Jesus’ ever-faithful power
will fill our hearts and our lives
and give us courage to go on!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews