As I sit here writing my second entry for The Encouragement Village, it occurs to me that by the title, many of you will think I’m some carefree, whimsical, Jesus-loving sista with a hippy/flower child flair, but the truth is, I’m anything but. Except for the Jesus-loving part. I’m all in on that! In real life, I’m not a nature girl at all; I’m a writer/mom, Spoken Word Artist, an insurance professional that loves coffee and mega-doses of Soul music. I prefer the comfort of being indoors rather than out any day, but enough about me. Let’s get to the real reason why I’m here… to encourage the village.
Last time we spoke, I took you on a journey into my past with a blog entry entitled “Tough as Geraniums.” In it, I chronicled an experience I had several years ago where I’d found a dried-up root in a flowerpot while unpacking my home. The thing looked like something past ready for the garbage, but the Holy Spirit encouraged me to nurture it. I listened, and that root eventually blossomed into a healthy green plant with gorgeous white blooms. We talked about how I found that geraniums can thrive in almost any condition as long as they get a little water, sun, and a careful pruner who is willing to pick the dead blooms off. I shared with you that we are much like those tough little flowers in that we also have the ability to thrive through anything as long as we have The Word (water), the Son and our perfect pruner, the Holy Spirit. This time I won’t be talking about flowers though. I want to turn the page to a more recent time in my life’s history and talk a little bit about butterflies. See! I told you, you’d think I was carefree and whimsy, but that’s okay with me because I learned a lot from the graceful creature who decided to make my front porch its dressing room.
It was about three years ago this Autumn that my daughter and I noticed a glistening, green cocoon hanging from a beam on our porch. We were both so excited to see its formation and would rush home every evening to check its progress. We would marvel at its making for a few minutes each night, we would even tell “her” how we couldn’t wait to meet her and would dialogue back and forth on what color we’d thought she might be. My daughter was beside herself with excitement, and to tell you the truth, as a woman who felt like she was in a bit of a cocoon herself, so was I. I waited with eager anticipation to see the once not so attractive creature who had inched its way from the bottom up, transform into a beautiful butterfly. I was eager because I felt just like her. I serve a great God who’s been good to me for sure, but life has sometimes battered me to the point of feeling like I was barely inching along. I wanted to see what that great moment of emergence looked like because I was patiently waiting to emerge myself. Each time we visited the cocoon it appeared stronger and more ready for the butterfly’s grand entrance. That is until one cold October night when my daughter and I came home late from Bible study.
We hurried into the house to turn on the porch light, hoping to check on our little extended family member only to find that the once green cocoon had turned pitch black. We were devastated! Just that morning it looked so much like life and now it looked dark, dreary, hopeless and dead. I couldn’t believe it! I figured the unusually cold weather had gotten the best of our little friend, and I was overcome with how truly heartbroken I felt to see our glimmer of hope and expectation dashed right before our eyes. Why would God give me such a clear example of where I felt I was in my own life, only to have me watch it die before its time? My heart sank as I walked into the house to grab a broom. I couldn’t bear to see what now looked like a closed sepulcher, hanging from my front porch, so I was going to close my eyes and knock it down. I braced myself for the impact as my daughter looked on near tears until I heard the Holy Spirit say; “Stop! Just wait a little longer!” I knew it was the Lord and the urgency with which I heard Him say it, jarred me. I lowered the broom and told my daughter to cheer up, we’d wait another day to take it down.
We went on with our night as usual, but our evening routine carried just a hint of somberness. We got up the next morning and readied ourselves for the day, but when we stepped out on our front porch we were met with a beautiful surprise! The dark cocoon had opened up, and we could see the emergence of a magnificent black, orange and yellow butterfly! It was amazing! The night before it seemed hopeless! It looked hopeless! But in the morning, something beautiful remained. I could feel the Holy Spirit tugging at my heartstrings as my daughter and I celebrated over our butterfly. He spoke to me very sweetly and reminded me that in life we can feel as if we are just inching along, we can feel like we’ve been in our cocoon of waiting forever, we can feel as if our time of flight will never come, but we have to hold on. Oftentimes we become discouraged in the process of our unveiling. It can sometimes look bleak and hopeless, and if we are not careful, we can knock ourselves down just before the moment we’ve been waiting for.
At that moment, I knew that butterfly had been sent for my encouragement, and now I know she was also sent for yours. God could have chosen anywhere for this amazing transformation to take place, but He graciously chose my house. I believe with all my being that He chose my porch as nature’s pulpit to encourage me to hold on and trust His process and plan. He wanted me to see a real-life illustration of how dark moments don’t always mean death. Dark moments in our lives can sometimes be our warning sign that the night is far spent, and that beauty and joy are waiting for us in the morning. So, I say to you today, whatever you are going through, hold on! I witnessed a miracle on my porch, and what I know about God is, if He’ll do it for a little butterfly, then surely your time of flight is coming soon. Hold on. Don’t give up.