I had the privilege to butterfly-sit for a friend last week. She was leaving for vacation and afraid the two chrysalises would hatch before she returned. She showed up on my doorstep and delivered two tiny butterfly boxes. All I had to do was hang them by the window, watch the miracle unfold, and release them.
The skin of the chrysalises grew darker and translucent. I was certain the darker one was ahead of the other. What if we missed it? What if the butterflies hatched while I took the kids to gymnastics? The kids go weekly, but how often does one get to witness a transformation miracle?
I conceded the greatest miracle was not butterflies but people and made peace with the likely possibility I would miss it while faithfully fulfilling my duties to my children. (I had to phrase it that way so I could view it as a win-win!) I did talk to God about this and then left it alone. I mean, it was just a butterfly, right?
Friday evening the orange of the monarch’s perfectly formed wings blazed like it was burning to break through the thinning membrane.
Sure enough, Saturday when the kids and I returned from gymnastics, the butterflies had already emerged. One was pumping its wings, the other still adjusting to the shock of entering the world.
We gazed at the beauty of new wings never flown. One male and one female. (I learned to spot the difference – literally. The male’s hind wings are marked with a black spot with thinner veins while the female has thicker veins and no spots.)
My son pointed out the first to hatch crawled outside the open box and perched on top. So I gently carried both boxes outside into the sunshine.
We watch a lot of Wild Kratts at our house. (If you’ve never seen them, two adult brothers film animal adventures through real life and cartoon storytelling). We saw the monarch butterfly episode and knew not to expect them to fly immediately. The blood starts in the center of their body and has to be pumped by wingbeats into the outermost wingtips. It doesn’t go quickly. At least, not quickly enough to hold my children’s interest.
While the kids played with legos inside, I sat in the sweltering sunshine oblivious to everything except the butterflies – camera in hand, stooped in grass. I snapped an absurd amount of pictures – telling myself my friend will appreciate them. But they were for me, too.
As I watched the first one take flight, something stirred in me – and took flight less than twenty-four hours later.
Sunday morning during worship team practice, I stood with microphone in hand being commanded to do anything except stand like a statue. “Why are you here?” my leader demanded to know. He hadn’t singled me out. He simply wanted to ensure everyone was there because they wanted to be and not because they had to.
Still, I stood there like a rebuked child, cut to the quick. But truthfully, it wasn’t far to cut. Just as that membrane around the chrysalis had stretched paper-thin, so I felt God stretching me. Why was I there? Did I love Him enough to move for Him? I did, surely. At home, when no one watched, I was happy to dance and twirl and sing uninhibited with my children. And what was the difference when onstage under lights?
“We have permission to worship, too,” I was told. But what about all the eyes looking at me? I sensed the answer was to focus on looking up sometimes. Right. Easier said than done. The reason I was here?
“At some point I have to just get over myself and do what I was made to do,” I heard myself say. It wasn’t a challenge. It was a reminder. Could I live that?
So I chose to move. I looked up. I closed my eyes. I motioned. I knelt. It wasn’t fake. It had been forming there, slowly, surely, and simply needed to break through. My only two thoughts were: I want my worship to be a gift to God. I want to fly free like the butterflies.
Each time I’ve sensed God call me deeper into His love, I’ve harbored the fear that giving God my all would leave me all embarrassed. I wasn’t. The joy and contentment reached soul-deep and steadied me. And while I was not unaware others watched, their opinion at that moment – good or bad – did not matter to me. Afterward, some thanked me with tearful eyes. It confirmed that when I let God’s love move me, it moves others.
In what ways have you allowed God’s love to move you? Or how would you like to move in response to His love? I’d love to hear your story!