Friday, March 28, 2014

"Just" a Caterpillar?

Imagine a little caterpillar crawling on a branch.  She is just a caterpillar, and seems to have no purpose but to crawl around and eat leaves.  Research tells me that the caterpillar eats and eats so that she grows quickly!  But one day, it is time for her to become more than "just a caterpillar".


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When she has finished growing, she forms a chrysalis.  From the outside of a chrysalis, it looks like the caterpillar is just there--doing nothing--no changing, no growing.  Just isolated in that cocoon.  But inside the chrysalis, there is so much going on!  That caterpillar is changing!  Inside, the body parts of the caterpillar are being transformed into new body parts--which function differently than her old body parts.




The day before that new creature emerges from its bondage, you can see the colors of her new parts through the thin skin of the chrysalis!  A sign of transformation!


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After the transformation is complete, the new creature takes a big gulp of air, thus expanding her body, and that causes the chrysalis to begin to crack--giving room for a beautiful butterfly to emerge!
 
 
Here is what the Lord showed me in this...



A butterfly is in her FOURTH stage of life.  First she is an egg, then a caterpillar (larva stage), then she is a pupa (in the chrysalis), and THEN she matures into a butterfly.  This one creature has FOUR different forms in her life.  But in ALL stages, she was always meant to become a butterfly! 


She was ALWAYS meant to become a butterfly!


She just had to go through all the stages first.  She had to hatch from that egg.  She had to feed herself to grow--to become the biggest caterpillar she could become.   


Being a caterpillar isn't all bad--but it isn't what she is MEANT to be.  


Next, she had to isolate herself in a chrysalis--and then break out of that isolation.  In doing that, she strengthens her new parts in order to use them like she needs to.  The time frame for each butterfly to emerge from that cocoon is different.  For some, it is just ten days or so.  For others, the time frame can be extended.  I guess that depends on how much changing the caterpillar does while inside.  That change is up to the caterpillar, but is also part of the work that God is doing inside her!



And, finally, when she emerges from her isolated place, she unfolds her wings, pumps blood to those new parts, and within just a few hours, she takes flight as the creature she was meant to be all along! 

 
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As you know the circle of life to be--she is then responsible for mating and laying eggs--so that more caterpillars can be born and become who THEY are supposed to be!


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So WHY the story of the life cycle of a butterfly?


I discovered this information as I was going through the most painful time in my life.  I shared a bit in my testimony.  God had been working on me for about a month, and it hurt.  He said, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  I was feeling it!


I was not only battling inwardly, but then faced the flesh of another while I was still in battle.  I was broken, and then kicked while I was down.  But I did rejoice and I was glad!  (Matthew 5:12)


I rejoiced that my heavenly Father loved me just where I was, but loved me too much to leave me that way!  I was glad that He saw me worthy of that "discipline", for it means He loves me as His child.  (Hebrews 12:6)



That week, my heart had been cut open for surgery by the Lord.  And as I lay on His operating table, someone stabbed me in my wide-open heart.  I was completely broken.  It was not what this person said that broke me--words like hers typically roll right off my shoulders without a second thought.  But this time, God was already working hard on me, and this was a blast to a hurting heart. 


It was as if that person had walked up to me in my chrysalis and shouted, "You're JUST a caterpillar!  You'll never be a butterfly!"



So I was broken.  And then I got angry!  Not at the person, and not for the very personal insult.  But because that comment cast doubt on the work my God was (and still is) doing in me!




The truth was, inside my chrysalis, I WAS just a caterpillar.  But I was becoming something new.  It was not evident to anyone else watching me at the time, but He was at work!


"I am confident that He who began a good work in you and me will carry it 
on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!"  Philippians 1:6


In some ways, we are ALL in one of these four stages of our maturing.

Some of us are caterpillars, just taking it all in so that we strengthen ourselves for the next stage.

Some of us are in the process of forming our chrysalis--beginning to shelter ourselves from some of the outside so we can get closer to Him.

Some of us are in our cocoon now, relying solely on Him to grow us and change us.

And some of us are breaking out or have broken out, and are now fulfilling our purpose for which we were made.


It is amazing that the DNA of this creation is the same from start to finish.  From caterpillar to butterfly, the DNA never changes.  The Lord sees us as we are meant to be even when we are not that person yet.  Even when we don't see who we are becoming.  Even when others don't see it.  And even if someone tells you you'll never be who He has made you to be! 


I ask you--no, BEG you--PLEASE do not tell a caterpillar that she is just a caterpillar!  PLEASE believe in her enough--and in her Maker enough--to call forth what is inside her, not just what you see.  Inside that cocoon, she is delicate--even fragile.  She no longer has an exoskeleton to protect her.  You may not see evidence of her wings yet, but know that she is fighting to change so she can break out!  And in time, she will emerge--just as beautiful and gracious...

...as she was MEANT to be. 



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