Thursday, February 17, 2011


In the last few years, I've increasingly noticed butterflies in my life. Mostly in little things like home decorating designs, hair clips (I have 6 sparkly tiny ones), and on pretty fabrics. Generally, I like butterfly designs. I've noticed them more in nature too. And I tend to think of them whenever I think of beautiful waterfall landscapes (which never cease to take my breath away).

In the last six weeks, I've been thinking about butterflies a lot. They pop into my mind at the (seemingly) most random times. Driving to work, I realized that perhaps it wasn't so random and I should look to see if there was a pattern or possible reason behind the "distraction." So I prayed and started spending a few minutes seriously thinking about them whenever they came to mind. I really don't know too much about them, just what an average 4th grader might know. (I'm a girly-girl, usually bugs and insects make me scream "eww!!" and run away; I don't typically want to spend time analyzing them.)

As I thought about them, I was struck by a few things. I was fascinated with the different stages of development and how their transformation occurs. I think they are some of the most beautiful creatures (also a bit weird when I really think about it - they're insects!!) that God created. They are simultaneously strong and fragile in appearance. They are a thriving contradiction.

Over the last year of my life, I think I've often felt like a butterfly. I've battled some big issues about myself (perfectionism, insecurity, worthlessness, and trust). I've struggled with (a deeper than I would care to admit to almost anyone) depression for several months. These things have played out through my perceptions of God, perceptions of myself, and relationships with others. This year, I've become practically a hermit, even from my closest friends.

In terms of the life of a butterfly, I think I was in the slug phase in Denver. I was fine with who I was and where I was, (mostly) content with things. I knew I was an ugly slug but accepted my fate and was alright with that (for the most part). I wanted to be a better slug but always saw myself as a slug.
But God has a different vision of who I am. He says I'm a new creation, not just an improved slug. We have been fighting for quite a while over which perception of me is true and accurate. He had to practically force me into a solitary cocoon where only He can speak the truths that I need to hear. Once in said cocoon, I questioned everything I thought I knew. And I experienced the deep betrayal of several close friends in this process. In turn, I have hurt those I care for deeply.

I know that pain is part of being in relationship with others in our fallen world, even with my brothers and sisters in Christ. But it doesn't make the pain hurt any less when it happens. And trying to balance the reality with the truth and practice of grace and forgiveness are always hard lessons to embrace and carry out.

What I am convinced of is that God sees me as a beautiful creation, all His own. I am a new creation, not just an improved upon model of what I was. That I am filled with both His strength and fragility. And that beauty and love are found in what appear to be contradictions.

I know things aren't really as simplistic as I've described them. But they are truths spoken to my heart in a way I was able to receive them and felt led to share.

And the damaged relationships? Right now, I feel more fragile than strong; I think I'm too fragile about this new identity to allow many people into my heart at the moment. Therefore, remaining in the cocoon a bit longer is really appealing. And yet, I really want to spread my wings and live freely like everyone else, embracing the life God has called me to live. I'm trusting the relationships to God and He will appropriately bring reconciliation and (possibly) restoration to them in His timing.

And next time I'm in Denver, I think I may need to visit the Butterfly Pavilion!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

His Princess Bride

Those who know me well know that I have two shopping weaknesses: craft stores and bookstores. :-) LifeWay Christian store has become one of my new favorite bookstores. It is possible (though rare) that I walk in without purchasing anything. I've learned to go only when I'm looking for a specific item.

I was in there a few weeks ago looking for a new women's Bible study (specific goal) and of course found a few other things while I was there. One of the books I found is His Princess Bride: Love Letters from Your Prince by Sheri Rose Shepherd. I went ahead and purchased it because it speaks directly to some of the things God has been working on in me (and it was on sale). It's organized by topic and I've been reading a few of them a day since I bought it. The layout is a brief letter from Christ and then a brief response from His Bride. I opened it today, praying that God would guide me to what I needed to hear from Him today. It opened to the first entry, "I Am Your Eternal Husband." Here is His letter:

My Eternal Bride,

I want to reveal a sacred secret to you, My beloved. Although I am your God, I am also your eternal Husband. I will come soon to carry you over the threshold into eternity. My desire is to lift the veil from your eyes that you might see who you really are, My Princess, My Bride. I am the Lover of your soul. I long to get close enough to give you a glimpse of My eternal love for you. If you will seek Me with all your heart, I will reveal Myself to you in extraordinary ways. If you will come before Me and ask, I will give you a new hope in your heart that will change your view of Me, of yourself, and of the world around you forever.

Your Creator and Husband

The Lord All-Powerful,
the Holy God of Israel,
rules all the earth.
He is your Creator and husband,
and He will rescue you.
Isaiah 54:5 CEV

Understanding who I really am in Christ and how He really sees me is an area God has been working on in me. Last night, I had a brief conversation with a friend about my identity in Christ and how He's changing specific thought patterns and actions. I've had a hard time making some of the transitions and have stumbled quite a bit this past week.

For many years, I've passed myself off as "the dumb blonde" in groups of friends, particularly when I'm making new friends. It was easier for me to reject and make fun of myself before someone else did so. However, a big problem would arise when the friend would jokingly throw my very words back at me and I took them seriously, not as the joke I originally said. It has become a very dangerous and hard cycle to break, but God is breaking it.

Lord, "may I find myself as I begin to seek You with all that is within me."

Shepherd, Sheri Rose. His Princess Bride: Love Letters from Your Prince. Revell: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2008. p. 10-12.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cheap Entertainment

I have two cats, both of whom have strange personality quirks. However, they share an odd obsession with boxes. They sit on them, climb inside them, dig in them, fight over them, and will flip them over to meet their needs.

Their obsession comes in handy when I need to put them in a carrier for any reason. I bring it out and they immediately start fighting over who is going to sit in it and they're generally happy to be in the carrier because they think of it as another box. Having cats that love being in their carriers is such a huge blessing when one moves as often as I have. :-)

Last night, Posie (a 12.5 pound Tabby-Siamese mix) spent twenty minutes trying to fit in a box far too small for her. She could sort of sit in the box but became frustrated when she tried to lay down and didn't fit. This resulted in her getting up and walking around the box multiple times, digging at it, and trying again (hoping it had somehow expanded since the last attempt). Finally, she tilted it on the lid and laid down on that while still digging at the bottom (now on it's side). See below for pictures of the early part of her attempts.

Today, I had to move some things around to get to some craft boxes. I finally found what I was looking for in one of the boxes and haphazardly put the lid back on it and focused on the project at hand. Not five minutes later, I looked over and Posie had removed the box lid and was sitting on top of the contents, in the box.

After the last twenty-four hours, do you think she's on the hunt for a new box to claim? I would feel badly for her, except that she has her very own box that she completely fits in and is allowed to tear apart. In fact, she routinely jumps in her box, known as "Posie's box," whenever I come in the door. Oh well, at least her toys are cheap: boxes! :-)

As you can see, she barely fits in the box.

But she's so proud of herself for fitting. :-)