Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I read a devotion last week that mentioned caterpillars. I laugh a little right now because it makes me think of my childhood. I was such a outdoorsy tomboyish girl–to an extent. I picked up caterpillars and lizards and frogs and I would proudly show them to my momma in the cup or jar that I had captured and put them in…only for her to snatch the container from me to throw it out the window of the car because she was scared of them. Lol. I still am fond of caterpillars because they transform into what is probably the only insect I like besides ladybugs and fireflies: butterflies. In my elementary and middle school science classes, I was fascinated with how a common caterpillar would eat everything in sight to stockpile its energy for the metamorphosis it had to undergo in order to become its truest, most beautiful self. And now, after the last 5 years, I understand personally how that happens.
Many of you know things about me. You may even know intimate details of my life and my testimony. But you don’t really fully know me. Truthfully, I did not know me until I took the leap of faith a year ago today when I arrived in New Orleans. I left the Charleston area and South Carolina on July 28 to a puddle of tears right after I hit Summerville because I left and I could not turn back. In this last year I have experienced a multitude of emotions and gone through plenty, things in my family, things at my job, things in my friendships, things within myself…on every front, tested, tried, and trials abound but to cause a catalyst within me. I withdrew into myself, seeking the truth of who God called me to be, seeking who that woman was and allowing her to spring forth. It was much like a caterpillar’s cocoon.
Today’s science lesson: the caterpillar’s metamorphosis. Caterpillars are the second stage of the butterfly or moth’s lifecycle. They begin as eggs, hatch into hungry larvae (caterpillars) and eat everything in sight, growing rapidly and shedding its skin to accommodate its growth. The next stage is called a chrysalis. In addition to being known as the pupa stage, this stage is also known as the protected stage of development. After its adult structures and skeleton is formed, the new butterfly emerges from its protective casing to be reborn as a beautiful butterfly. There is a wealth of knowledge here about our own transformations as Christians and specifically my own process.
From the time I went to college, then before and immediately after I had my transplant, I was eager to do God’s will, seeking and searching for His plan and purpose for my life. It was at this time that my blog was born now 4 years ago. I studied God’s word, read books, prayed, and searched for the church that I was to call home. I was a hungry caterpillar, trying to eat all the Word I could. During the last four years I have changed a lot and grown a lot. I have learned so much about God and who He is. I have went from drinking milk to eating baby food and now solid foods in this period of time, all in preparation for what I was to endure in just this first year of being in New Orleans. I will admit that in some ways I am still in the caterpillar stage, while I know in others I have been in a chrysalis and have begun to emerge to stretch my wings. It has been since I have come here that I have grown in leaps and bounds and I cannot take credit for any of this that has happened within me. Yes, I still have a lot of growing to do, but I know it is a direct product of this isolation, this cocoon, that has caused me to grow like this.
I must note two things: a cocoon is both a protected development experience and it also leaves you very vulnerable. Most caterpillars find places that are discreet and unassuming to predators. However, while predators may be the least of their concerns, they have nature, the elements, and other external forces–things completely outside of their control that can affect whether they survive the changes they are experiencing within the cocoon. For me, this part of the process, surrendering to God and acknowledging that I had no control over those things external to me–people, primarily–was the most difficult. It required me to trust the process that was happening within me, much like the caterpillar does when it becomes a chrysalis and I had to rest in knowing that when it is time for me to break forth as a new creation, that it was for the glory of God to be revealed.
No one likes to be alone. No one likes to feel lonely. I experienced a multitude of emotions over this last year: loneliness, worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, to name a few but that has now transformed to my complete trust in God. Sure, I have my days when I am sad to be here like this, but I realize that this is just a period in my development and soon I will not be in this phase. I share all this to encourage you to allow the process. Trust the process. I will never forget those words because I heard them one day crystal clear as I took a bath. I was crying about the different things I was feeling but it gave me peace. We have to trust the process. And no, our process may not be the same as someone else. Our process may take us hundreds of miles away from loved ones, nieces, and best friends, or it may isolate us in the same town as our family and loved ones. But the beauty is in allowing the process to happen. Caterpillars do not resist their transformation. Why? Its encoded in their DNA that when their time has arrived, they must go to the next phase. And likewise, as Christians, it is encoded in our DNA to seek after God and do that thing that He has placed in us. However for us we have the choice to resist and go about things our own way. I encourage you to trust the process today and allow God to mold you into the new You. Allow Him to shape you into the man or woman of God He has called you to be. Resisting only prolongs the phase you are currently in and honestly, it will leave you unfulfilled and seeking natural ways to appease the longing within you. Turn away from anything that is holding you back. Take the next step and be transformed…your future awaits!
Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:24 NLT