“If I were a butterfly, I’d thank You, Lord, for giving me wings…”
One of the songs we used to sing with hand motions in church when I was a young teen. I loved it and it stuck around in my head for years as I moved into adulthood and had kids of my own. Now that my kids are grown, I am back working in children’s ministry. And the song came to mind again.
You see, last November I went through a personal slump that lasted through the middle of February. Yet, at the same time, I became involved in planning lessons and activities for children’s church. After an 11 year hiatus from regular church attendance, just sporadic and occasional, other than a brief time when I worked on a children’s program, I finally returned to the fold at the church where I was raised, married and held my husband’s funeral in. I was finally able to sit in church and not remember the bittersweet memories of my losses.
Quite honestly, I didn’t think I would be here again. I thought I had given up children’s ministry years ago, saying I couldn’t relate to children anymore. And the thing is, I didn’t give God enough credit for what He could do in my heart, and in my life.
Guiding me back to church, and placing me in ministry, was a beautiful gift. A promise fulfilled. And we are developing an exciting program that is touching children and families. The more ideas I get for lessons and activities, the more ideas come to me. It’s like my mind rolls over these thoughts into plans, and I have a great team that helps me carry them out.
Of course, with the bipolar disorder, I have to be careful that excitement doesn’t cross over into mania. And at this point, I don’t see it happening. Although I am going for a “checkup” to my therapist this week, just to go over the changes in the past few weeks and how I am coping in my everyday life.
And the anxiety is still there is social surroundings. Also some health issues that make it uncomfortable to be in groups. But some things I have to live with, and other things God is healing, it will take time. But even Paul had a thorn in his flesh that he asked God to remove. In Romans 12, Paul writes:
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
If Paul said God’s grace was sufficient in His weakness, because God’s power made Him strong, than I can do no less for myself.
I’ve experienced some dark times in my life. I’ve lived in the shadows for years since my husband’s death. In the aftermath of grief, I believe we walk in the “Valley of the Shadows” (Psalms 23:4) The verse says, the shadow of death, but I believe we who who lose our loved ones also find ourselves in that valley. There is no time table for our recovery, no pat phrases or Bible verses that can bring us miraculously out from the shadows. Time, the support of others, for me, listening to spiritual songs and hymns, can help us find the light again.
In the past few months I feel like I am living in the light of what God has in store for me. I haven’t been writing any fiction. Instead, I’ve focused on lessons and plans for children’s church as well as working my day job as a homemaker aide for senior citizens. I can feel the vibrancy of God in my spirit as I stretch my horizons and find confidence in who I am and in my skills.
In November, I saw the above necklace advertised and it immediately drew me in. It’s rose gold, which is a beautiful color. I haven’t bought jewelry for myself for a long time, and yet I purchased this one.
Now that I have walked through the valley of the shadows and feel the light of the Son on my life, I feel a lot like this butterfly. The butterfly wraps itself in a cocoon and spends time in the darkness as it grows and changes. When the time is right, it breaks free from its cocoon and flies away.
God has chosen the butterfly to represent new life in Him. I am so thankful today that God was with me in the shadows, growing my faith, teaching me to listen to His word, crying out to Him when I was so lonely and in pain. My life isn’t perfect now, as mentioned above. But God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.
Please consider today that God has you in the palm of His hand. Maybe you are in the darkness, maybe you are walking in shadows, and perhaps you are living in the light, but wherever you find yourself, God is with you. He will see you through.