I love butterflies. In fact, the picture above is a butterfly plant that I snapped on a friend’s porch. I didn’t know it at the time. I just thought the flowers were beautiful. It’s not unusual that I was drawn to it. I’ve always been fascinated by butterflies and how their life-cycle parallels the transformations we go through in our search for meaning and purpose. Transformation – metamorphosis – change, a shedding of the old to become something new or watching something die in you so that something new might live.
The last year of my life has been one of unbelievable transformation. Flashback to January 2017, and I felt as though I were literally falling apart. I was physically and mentally exhausted. My marriage was rocky, I was overwhelmed with work, and I struggled to keep up with my children’s needs. Everything felt hard and uncomfortable. I felt powerless. But in February I had a dream that changed everything. I was dutifully following my husband’s truck down a highway. I thought he made a right turn so I turned off the road before I realized it wasn’t his truck. I had followed the wrong vehicle, but it was too late. All I could see was a maze of intersecting highways. I had completely lost sight of him. My heart sank because I knew it was going to be impossible to catch up with him. So, I frantically tried to call him, but he just wouldn’t answer. And then I woke up – relieved that it was a dream. However, the dream lingered – holding a certain urgency I felt I needed to understand. I called my best friend to tell her about it, but before I could get a word out, she was anxious to give me a message from one of her prayer partners – a wise, older lady who I had only met on a few occasions. I’ll call her Ms. Wisdom. She said God wanted me to focus less on issues with my husband and other problems and focus more on my relationship with Him. Suddenly, the dream made perfect sense. Everything just clicked at that moment. This was a major turning point where my transformation kicked into high gear. I was nearing the end of my time as a caterpillar.
Caterpillars molt or lose their old skin as they grow. Prior to the dream, God had already begun helping me to shed old things that no longer served me. But with the dream and the message from Ms. Wisdom, I knew I had molted for the last time – losing the last of my old skin. I was becoming a pupa – entering the cocoon. The pupa stage is the resting stage before the caterpillar becomes a butterfly. I had finally surrendered and began to rest in God. And inside the cocoon, in that space where only God and I existed, great transformations began to happen to me. I turned inward and discovered the root of much of the pain in my life. Sometimes we have no clue that some of our sufferings is linked to how we grew up or what we learned or didn’t learn. But this recognition is not about blaming our parents or anyone else. It’s about acknowledging pain and understanding there’s always an opportunity to heal if we’re willing to bear witness to our own lives. When I stopped seeking answers from other people and paid attention to what was happening inside of me, I began to understand why I reacted to things the way I did. This self-discovery offered me unbelievable relief because I was finally able to identify the ghosts that had haunted me for so long. My soul was beginning to heal. In the cocoon, God helped me to make peace with old wounds and to challenge negative patterns of behavior which wreaked havoc in my life. I confess some of this was pretty intense and awfully uncomfortable, but I knew something good was happening to me. I was growing in ways I never imagined. Everything around me was changing, but I felt more like me than ever before.
And now, after being in the cocoon -growing, healing, transforming – my chrysalis stage has ended. I am emerging as the butterfly I was always meant to be – my authentic self. It’s been a little over one year since the dream, and I’ve recently finished writing my first book of poetry! In addition to the book and starting this blog, I created social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook where I share poetry, pictures and special messages under a banner I call The Hope Report. With all these huge changes – where I’m sharing so much of myself -sometimes I feel really vulnerable. But I think its totally normal – all part of being the butterfly. We have to leave the cocoon at some point and when we do, it can feel strange at first because we’ve completely transformed into this new creature. It takes some getting used to – these wings are new to me – but I’m adjusting as God continues to draw me further and further outside of my comfort zone. There are still moments where I wake up in a panic – questioning what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Yet, I know that I’m exactly where I should be. I’m finding joy and purpose in inspiring people with my truth so there really is no turning back. I’m owning my wings, and I’m excited to see where they will take me – how high I will go. I don’t know what else God has in store for me, but I believe it’s going to be far greater than anything I could ever imagine.
Here’s hoping I’ll see you in the sky! Until then, remember, with God, there is always hope.
With the greatest love, always,