The caterpillar certainly identifies with the feeling of loss and lack of control as his body slowly scrunches into a pupa or chrysalis. Darkness engulfs him, and he can no longer move.
His old self slowly dies but transforms into a beautiful butterfly that slowly emerges from captivity through a tiny opening. A struggle is necessary to push the fluid out of his body into his wings. If the struggle is hurried, the result will be shriveled wings and no ability to fly. After he stretches and dries his wings in a world of light, he is freed to fly.
“Perhaps the butterfly is proof
that you can go through a great deal of darkness
yet become something beautiful.”
– Beau Taplin –
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Chang Tzu –
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
“I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him.” John 12:46 VOICE
Nothing Is Wasted
by Jason Gray
“The hurt that broke your heart And left you trembling in the dark Feeling lost and alone Will tell you hope’s a lie But what if every tear you cry Will seed the ground where joy will grow
And nothing is wasted Nothing is wasted In the hands of our Redeemer Nothing is wasted…”
Have your heart and your life ever felt like shattered glass? Broken into a thousand pieces? Irredeemable? Worthless?
Chris McGahan and his son, Micah, take broken pieces of glass, pieces that are thrown away and worthless to others, and arrange them on a ceramic plate. They then heat them and roll them up on a blowpipe. The result? Beautiful blown glass they call Redento Raffinato (Italian for “Redeemed Elegance”).
Broken, Flawed, and Worthless
Transformed into Graceful Beauty
Do you see the parallel to the work of Christ in our hearts and lives?
“There are remarkable parallels that accompany every step and point toward the work of Christ in our lives, starting with the broken pieces. We all have failures and shortcomings in our lives. Who would have thought that the broken or discarded ‘worthless’ pieces that represent failure could be used to make something even more beautiful and valuable than what was originally intended? But that is exactly what we do. Every single step throughout the process points clearly to Christ at work in our lives.” (Chris McGahan quote from AFA Journal – Brokenness to Beauty)
Are you broken into pieces? Do you feel worthless and irredeemable? Do you think there is no hope for you?
There is hope in Jesus! He will never throw us away when we seek His grace. He has bought every broken piece of us with His blood. He died and rose again for us. He has the power to pick up every single broken piece, even those hidden deep in our hearts where no one else sees. He lovingly blows the breath of His love and grace into our brokenness. The result? Redeemed elegance beyond what any person can make out of broken glass.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1b HCSB
“Mosaic of Grace”
by Shelly E. Johnson
“Just a pile of broken glass Pieces of a painful past Shattered by the storms of life This is all that’s left inside He can take the fallen pieces And lay them in the perfect place When His work is finally finished You will be a mosaic of grace In your pain you may not see The beauty of the masterpiece But there’s a greater work of art Than what each piece alone imparts…”
I remember helping one of my sons with his Algebra many years ago. He wanted the answers NOW. He didn’t want to have to go through a process. It was hard for me not to just give him the answers, but I knew it would benefit him more to work through it and “discover.” Out of love, I had to deny him immediate results, because I wanted him to learn to grow in knowledge and understanding.
I was a firm believer of the discovery process when I was a teacher, too. Children would retain more of what they learned if they had to go through the process. Hand-feeding them immediate answers did not help them in the process of learning to their advantage.
Spiritual life is a process, too. A continuing, life-long process as we become more and more refined into God’s image, into the person He has created us to be. We need to become more deeply saturated in the knowledge and understanding of His Divine character and His genuine love for us.
The process is grueling and self-stripping, leaving only the love and grace of Jesus. Some of the things God uses to bring us through His process can be downright frustrating. We want the complete healing NOW, but that wouldn’t benefit us. If God would give us immediate answers, we would be in a sorry state. We wouldn’t really, truly learn, would we? Can you imagine how “entitled” we would become?
Like Paul, I begged God to remove the cross of chronic illness from me. God again and again reminds me that the cross must stay, but His grace is sufficient. This cross is part of the process to grow in Christ. I’m trying to learn to accept it more as a gift. That no matter what, God loves me and only wants what is good for me.
“Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Because of past sexual, spiritual, and emotional abuse, I still deal with deep, unhealed pits of shame in my soul that will take a life-long process to overcome. Yes, in Christ we are wholly and completely healed, but He chooses to lead us through a process that will bring us closer to Him and give us a deeper knowledge and understanding of what depths of suffering He went through to save us. What deep, bottomless love He has for us! And He wants us to learn to have a deeper relationship with Him and His love.
These last weeks, I took a break from blogging. I felt overwhelmed, and I wanted to ground myself more into who God really is and who I am in Christ. But I’m learning there are no quick answers. Nothing comes at the snap of our fingers, and that’s a good thing.
I’m not very good at uncertainties, but I have to learn to believe God is with me through the process and He has me in the palm of His hand. This life will always be a struggle until that day of complete perfection in Christ, when we may finally be with Him face to face. And I’m learning that’s ok. I just need to lean into Jesus and trust He is a safe Confidant and a faithful Promise-Keeper.
I thought I shouldn’t come back here until I’m more grounded, but God doesn’t expect perfection from us. As Holley Gerth says in You’re Loved No Matter What :
“We can spend our whole lives trying to ‘improve’ who we are to please someone else. But we’re better off embracing who God made us, enjoying it, and sharing who we are to others.”
I’m coming back with all my imperfections and trusting God will supply all I need as He has promised. Maybe the times when I groan with what to write are growing pains and part of the process. Maybe it’s God’s way to make me more dependent on Him for every word I write.
My dear readers, we are so utterly dependent on Him, aren’t we? Let’s try to let Him lead us through life’s process, however painful it can be. However frustrated we may become. Immediate answers would harm us, but God’s growing-in-Him process will only prosper us.
“Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery –
there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” ~ Rick Warren
I hope that we can together support each other through this journey of discovery. Let’s rejoice together on our mountaintops and lift each other through those deep valleys. May we discover ever deeper what amazing, matchless love Jesus has for us. May we encourage each other that Jesus is always with us, no matter what. May we remind each other that His learning process will not leave us alone and unloved but will lead us into the glorious beauty of His love, grace, and mercy. In the end, the answer is out-of-this-world!
“But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)!” 2 Peter 3:18 AMP
“Live Like You’re Loved”
by Hawk Nelson
May we grow in the grace
and knowledge of Christ Jesus!
May we realize how precious we are to Him!