The day before I left for Mercy in October Connor and Brittany gave me a beautiful James Avery charm for no particular reason except to mark the beginning of this journey for me.
At the time I knew a couple different things about what butterflies represented:
Little did I know the significance this charm would have at the end of my Mercy journey when I received a second James Avery Charm from my Godmother and her husband.
The Crosslet Butterfly Charm.
The solid butterfly with a tiny cross cut through reflects a symbol of faith. The butterfly is a symbol of the Resurrection. The beautiful form of the butterfly bursting forth from the seemingly lifeless chrysalis suggests Christ's victory over death.
The first charm, the cut out butterfly, represents what the beginning of this journey looked like for me, empty, but new life in the making. The second charm, the crosslet butterfly, represents the end of my time at Mercy after God got done with that chapter in my life, whole, complete, new and full of God (illustrated by the cross). After God blessed me with this I did a little research about butterflies and the meaning of James Avery's pieces I received and the message became even more powerful.....
The second charm I received represents Christ's victory over death, satan, in my own personal life. I am the butterfly, full and complete, with Him living on the inside of me and outwardly manifesting in my life.
Other things that I've learned butterflies symbolize:
I couldnt help but think of two different illustrations of the butterfly in a couple of things that I have read recently and want to share those.
The Butterfly and the Cocoon
One day a small opening appeared on a cocoon. And a man sat and waited by the butterfly as it struggled to get out of the cocoon, as it forced it's body through the newly formed little hole. Then it seemed to stop making progress.
To the man it appeared to have gotten as far as it could. So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pear of scissors and snipped through the remaining cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. Thou it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly, because he expected that in any moment the wings would enlarge and expand and would be able to support the body that would contract in time. But to his surprise neither happened. In fact the butterfly spent the rest of it's life crawling around with the swollen body and shriveled wings. Never able to fly.
The moral of the story...
Life's struggles help build character. While there is great wisdom in this idea, when you're in the middle of a struggle, knowing that you're building character doesn't bring much relief. It's usually only after the situation has been resolved that we can reflect on our experience and assess the impact it had on our life. I have found this to be true in my life. Being in the in a place where I felt so hopeless and stuck it was hard to think this was making me a better person.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
An excerpt from the book: TrueFaced
(Subject: Living out of who God says I am)
If my motive is trusting God, then my value will be living out who God says I am and my action will be standing with God, with my sin in front of us to work on together. Let's look at the value that flows from trusting God- living out of who God says I am. Have we already been changed? Yes. As day is from night, we have changed. We have received a new heart, for crying out loud! We have a brand-new core identity. We have already been changed, and now we get to mature into who we already are.
Consider the caterpillar. If we brought a caterpillar to a biologist and asked him to analyze it and describe its DNA, he would tell us, "I know this looks like a caterpillar to you, but scientifically, in every testable result, including DNA, this is fully and completely a butterfly." Wow! God has wired into a creature that looks nothing like a butterfly, a perfectly complete butterfly "identity." And because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence, it will one day display attributes of a butterfly. The caterpillar matures into what is already true about it. In the meantime, berating the caterpillar for not being more like a butterfly is not only futile, it might actually harm its hearing!
So it is with us. God has given us the DNA of godliness. We are saints. Righteous. Nothing we do will make us more godly or saintly than we already are. Nothing we do will alter this reality. God knows our DNA. He knows that we are "Christ in me." And now he is asking us to join Him in what He knows is true!
"For here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I'll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You'll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!"
So much truth in two small gifts...
Thank you Connor, Brittany, Robbyn and Keith for being a vessel for God to touch my heart and Im sure the hearts of many others.
I loved these pictures and thought they depicted this blog post well.