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!)

New This Month: Links, Quotes, Books & More

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“My Shoes”
Have you ever wished you were in someone else’s shoes?

“I know what I’m doing.
I have it all planned out—
plans to take care of you, not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for.”
Jeremiah 29:11 The Message

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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 another “C” Word:

❤︎ Cleansing Love ❤︎
“I will cleanse them from all the sin
they have committed against Me
and will forgive all their sins
of rebellion against Me.

Jeremiah 33:8

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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. 🙂

Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

From the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans comes a heart-rending yet uplifting story of friendship and redemption. On the cusp of womanhood, Penny  is swept off her feet by a handsome farmhand with a confident swagger. Though Trent Taylor seems like Prince Charming and offers an escape from her one-stop-sign-town, Penny’s happily ever after lasts no longer than their breakneck courtship. Before the ink even dries on their marriage certificate, he hits her for the first time. It isn’t the last, yet the bruises that can’t be seen are the most painful of all.

When Trent is injured in a welding accident and his paycheck stops, he has no choice but to finally allow Penny to take a job cleaning houses. Here she meets two women from very different worlds who will teach her to live and laugh again, and lend her their backbones just long enough for her to grow her own.

I highly recommend this book! Christian fiction doesn’t often bring awareness to the reality of domestic violence, but this author brought forth a story so gripping and real that it was almost like a victim telling her story. She doesn’t sugar-coat the painful world of domestic violence and the psychological hold many abusers have on their victims. 

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Hope Harbor

💞  Links That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

Worry, anxiety, and stress can be so hard to avoid sometimes. Especially when you’re a professional worrywart and over-analyzer like me… Situations in our world, country, and families can cause so much anxiety, can’t they? I’m still a work-in-progress of casting all my cares on Jesus and trusting Him with everything. But truly, Jesus is the Answer to peace and freedom.

💞  Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress  – A chart of sensible tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

💞  How to Stop Worrying – 13 Practical Steps by Whitney Hopler – “So many of us, even those strong in faith wonder how they can stop worrying. Living in a fallen world gives you lots to worry about, but living in a relationship with Jesus can free you from ever having to worry about anything. No matter what happens in your life, you don’t have to worry about it if you choose to rely on Jesus to help you manage it and find peace in the process.”

💞  Worry and Anxiety Bible Verses – “Find comfort and peace through Scripture that promises you hope and a future. Learn how to be free from worry and anxiety by meditating on the Word and casting your cares upon Jesus!”

Nature Retreat

“In every walk with nature
one receives far more than he seeks.”

~ John Muir

I have some more of my brother’s awesome Arizona photos to share. Desert flowers, a rattlesnake, bees, and… Hold your nose! Stink bug beetles getting ready to shoot out stink bombs.

🐾  NANPA: North American Nature Photography Association Blog – The nature photos at these blog posts are spectacular. The stories with them promote nature photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection.

🐾  Art in Nature Photography – “Floris van Breugel is passionate about exploring nature and sharing his unique perspective through photography with the aim of inspiring viewers to learn more about the natural world.” His photos truly do give inspiring views of nature.

🐾  Abbott Nature Photography – Galleries of a variety of amazing nature photos (wildlife, macro photos of insects, and more) by John and Kendra Abbott.

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Quotes

All quotes this month are in the gratitude category.

❤︎ “The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see. ~ Mary Davis

❤︎ “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’ ~ William Arthur Ward

❤︎ “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault

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Letting Go of Our Burdens to a Living Jesus

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As a woman walked along the seashore, she added shell after shell to her netted bag. Shells of fear, worry, shame, stress, to-do lists, etc. Her shoulders stooped as her bag became heavier and heavier, and finally she was dragging it through the sand.

Then an amazing thing happened. She took the bag and flung it, the shells emptying and scattering. As she faced the ocean, she raised her hands to the heavens and proclaimed, “I am free!”

“Casting the whole of your care
[all your anxieties, all your worries,
all your concerns, once and for all] on Him,
for He cares for you affectionately
and cares about you watchfully.”
~ 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Are you bowed down with all these things? Do you, like me, too often let these things weigh you down? What a blessing if we can let go and give our burden over to Jesus, to fling away those weights that bow us down, and proclaim freedom in Jesus!

This story was a short and powerful clip before a film I saw that showed Jesus through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, the one of whom Jesus cast out seven devils. From then on she desired to follow Him and did until His death.

As Mary Magdalene followed Jesus, she witnessed many miracles. She saw the many women Jesus healed and saved. She experienced how He showed love and compassion to all, including women, even though women were disregarded at that time.

Then something happened that choked the hope and life out of her soul. Jesus was crucified and buried. She was bereft of any comfort without her Jesus.

As the woman in the clip, Mary Magdalene was bowed down under a heavy load. She mourned and wept at Jesus’ grave. She thought He was the Messiah. But now all her hope was gone. All Jesus’ promises seemed to mock her. Will she ever feel joy again?

Wonder of wonders, Jesus revealed Himself to her. Yes! He is alive! Yes! He is the Messiah! Yes! He is the Savior who would free her!

Do you know of times like these when you can’t feel that Jesus is truly alive? I’m afraid I sometimes live too much in a mournful state as if Jesus is still dead. Do you struggle with this, too?

May Jesus break us free from the chains that still sometimes bind us. May we learn to fling all our burdens to the cross. May we remember Jesus IS yet alive today and forever!

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in.

She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.

“Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put Him.”

She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize Him.

“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought He was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.”

“Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to Him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

~ John 20:11-16 NLT

You can view this movie on youtube,
but it doesn’t have the clip at the beginning.

“I Am Free” 
by Newsboys

May we let go of our burdens
to Jesus who is alive forever!

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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