Repent, therefore, and reform your lives, so that the record of your sins may be cancelled, and that there may come seasons of revival from the Lord,
A couple of years ago, God began nudging me for revival. I shared this with some people I was praying with/for at the time and they let me know that they had either felt the same thing or agreed with the need for revival.
I heard God speak to me about this today saying that revival begins in the heart of man and by man, I took that to confirm my prayers for change in myself. The word revival has many meanings, to include restoration, reintroduction, regeneration, and resurrection. It applies to so many things for me right now…a restoration, regeneration, and resurrection of my faith, a resurrection of dreams, and now, a reintroduction to the very essence of who God is.
I have been seeing butterflies often for the last few weeks. Ironically enough, God had me talk to my Spec, and butterflies came up during our conversation. In fact, I’m reading a devotional on the transformation butterflies go through. It all makes so much sense now, especially the timing. Bare with me for this.
1) Butterflies begin as eggs that hatch into larvae, that are more commonly known as the caterpillars we love and some hate. I was fascinated as a child with catching caterpillars in jars and stuck leaves in the jar for the caterpillars to eat. My mom who hates all forms of insects would make me throw them out. What are caterpillars known for, being a nuisance to some of course, but it is their hunger driven pursuit of all things edible that is probably most familiar. They eat all they can to prepare them for the work of the next phase of their lives, the chrysalis or as we are familiar with, the cocoon. The caterpillar eats and eats and eats to store energy for the major metamorphosis and transformation needed to achieve its adulthood.
2) I have only seen cocoons in science class, well perhaps a few times growing up. But I know what this is like in the natural. For me it has been a place of self-evaluation, preparation, change and acceptance.
God used strategic periods of preparation for the chrysalis period in my life, or rather one of them. I recognize that as right now. He gave me many corrective words over the last 5 years. He taught me that the bitterness I held towards many after my daddy’s death was keeping me stagnant, so I learned to forgive. He unveiled certain gifts to me that had been active my entire life but had been malnourished. He taught me that I talked too much, so I learned to shut up. He showed me that I had to relate to certain friends differently so that when seasons changed I was not wounded by what happened. He taught me people’s purposes in my life and vice versa so that I would stop being hurt when people didn’t line up to the expectation I had for them — well He pretty much drilled it into my mind to stop having expectations of people altogether. He showed me that being molested had left a scar on my psyche so He gently healed it by giving me my power back. He showed me that the spirit of offense had crept into my heart through wounds from my childhood that desperately sought to keep me in bondage so he tenderly used the first days of my learning of my pregnancy to heal and deliver me so that when reasons to be offended came (and did they ever!!!) I was able to give them back to Him. He removed the blinders so that I could recognize people claiming to represent Him and not be hurt but instead see through their lies. He delivered me from a critical and judgmental spirit — well a religious spirit and traditions of man too!!! He purified those things the enemy sought to taint and tarnish. He gave me the pure milk of His word. He taught me how to receive His genuine love through those He has sent to be by my side in this journey and in those He has instructed me to recognize as help to raise my son. He taught me to stop apologizing for who He made me to be because of others around me who haven’t stepped into His glory for their own lives. He taught me to love myself. Moreover, He has taught me to recognize woundedness in others without allowing their woundedness to hurt me again. He has fed me on how best to reach Him — through a contrite heart, persistence and perseverance in prayer, and unshakeable faith — and He called me to Him secretly.
The beautiful part of all of this is that God has done this how I needed it. He has brought about transformations and changes through my pain, teaching me lessons like "nobody owes me anything," the vital necessity of gratefulness and authentically being transparent.
I have had many hurtful things said to me in life, by family and supposed friends no less…but the truth is God used and is using all that stuff. The things we face in life are the very things that make our stories beautiful. The things you overcome and triumph over are the very things that show the essence of God and the resilience He has wired into each of us. I learned to stop waiting on apologies to come and to live by turning it all back over to Him.
We don’t see the cocoon as a place of loss, but it is. The caterpillar loses everything it once knew to become what it never knew it could be. Yes, becoming a butterfly is programmed into its DNA, but only God truly knows of the transformation that takes place for a specific chrysalis. Only God knows the perfect conditions, the perfect location, and the exact foods a certain caterpillar needs to eat to become the butterfly it is destined to be. Only God knew the exact set of circumstances that I needed to go through to become the woman He longs for me to be. It hurts to be broken down and built back up, but it is the exact hand you’ve been dealt in life that will usher you deeper into relationship with God if you allow it. It is your exact hand that God can use for His glory.
3) The last stage is that of the butterfly. After what seems like a lifetime, after all that eating, after all the hard work to create the cocoon and remain undetected while the body structure needed to sustain the new life that is being birthed out of it was formed, the butterfly struggles to emerge and emerges victoriously. As part of my current prayer challenge, I’m praying for change in myself. I knew I needed additional strength — who doesn’t need strength as a single parent! I also knew I needed to transition to seeing myself as a mother. My son is coming soon and that transformation is not one I have encountered. I’ve been a student. I’ve been the teacher. I’ve been a mentee and I’ve been a mentor. But I have never been a parent. And in 12 weeks or less, I’ll meet my next teacher and embrace my new assignment. I cannot say I initially welcomed or wanted this transformation. I did not feel ready. I had so many plans — being married was one of them!! sheesh — that I wanted to accomplish before having children. Now, I see my son was what God felt I needed to bring these lessons to completion. I needed my baby so that I could evolve. The losses — friendships, relationships (and the reframing of both), old ways of thinking and attitudes — were necessary to make room for my greatest blessing.
The saying "be careful what you pray for" is so real!! I prayed that God would give me a word to focus on this year…and that word is uncomfortable. All I can say is I’ve been so uncomfortable in so many ways it’s unreal!! I just hope next year’s word isn’t as heavy as this word has been.
Until then, I’ll continue my transformation, my revival of sorts, and I look forward to emerging as the woman He called me to be.
Of course this scripture was in some research I found on butterflies…and it is one of the scriptures I confess daily as part of my prayer challenge. How perfect and timely.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.