Summer is here and the flowers on the hillsides of Aspen and Snowmass are in full bloom.
Last week the kids and I trekked a sweet path behind Clark’s market. We stumbled upon a wooden staircase that was surrounded by purple and yellow flowers. We made it to the top and once we got past the dusty peak, we descended onto a trail encased by bushes and shrubs. Every once in a while the dense folliage opened up to small meadows of vibrant flowers that seemed to be doused with fluttering butterflies.
How many butterflies could we count? We couldn’t, there were so many!
Grandma told the kids that some people think of butterflies as special spirits who are with us. They liked this concept and continued our hike in awe of the wonders of our earth and mesmerized by the thought of the spirits beyond.
The very next day a butterfly kit we had ordered from Amazon arrived in the mail. A netted cage was included along with a small container of live caterpillars that were no bigger than the width of my pinky nail. The caterpillars seemed lethargic after their bumpy ride to our home. We weren’t sure they were going to survive. But slowly, as they gobbled up the muck at the bottom of their container, which looked like peanut butter but much less appetizing, the caterpillars began to grow. Each day they doubled in size. In their tiny plastic container they crawled around and ate and ate and after 7 days, one by one, they climbed to the lid of their habitat. We watched as, little caterpillar foot by little caterpillar foot, each one slowly released their grasp until their world was turned upside down and they were just barely hanging on. Currently they are chrysalises, attached and asleep. Our family waits in anticipation for the beauty we expect to emerge at the end of this cycle.
I just love the deeply simple metaphors that nature gifts us. Here are the profound spiritual truths that these tiny creatures are teaching our family as we watch a transformation take place:
- Baby caterpillars (at least these ones) start off kinda ugly.
- You have-ta start somewhere, and that might mean crawling around in the muck for a while.
- You need to feed yourself to grow.
- As you grow, you’ll climb to new hieghts.
- To be transformed, you have to be willing to let go, little foot by little foot.
- Once you let go, your world will be turned upside down.
- Those watching the transformation take place will be awe-struck and inspired. It is very cool to witness!
- When you emerge from the transformation process, you’ll be more beautiful than you ever thought possible.
- Once you have your wings, you’ll see the world with a whole new perspective.
- True freedom comes only after all these other steps are complete.
I am just as in awe as my little children watching this whole cycle unfold. But, the truth is, if we look close these kinds of transformations are happening all around us in the human world too!
Have you ever watched a caterpillar go through it’s process? What stage do you find yourself in right this minute? What areas of your life would you like to see transformed? Do you believe God has a plan for you, to make you STUNNING, AWE-INSPIRING, and NEW? Do you think the caterpillar ever mistake its stages and think that it is in its final stage, when it is actually just entering another transformation?
Just some food for thought, and I hope it tastes better than the sticky goo those caterpillars are eating. :o)
We Gilbert girls taught 3 year old little Ziggy something very important at an early age. Girls. Don’t. Fart. (Ewww…. Just the sound of that word makes me cringe.) But seriously. We don’t. If by chance an unfortunate little bodily function does occur from a girl, “Ziggy, darling,” we told him, “as the gentleman in our family, you take the blame.”
Now maybe that is not great parenting, and one might feel bad for poor little Ziggy, but at this stage in his life he thinks farts (err, excuse me, we call them “toots”) are hilarious. He laughs and laughs and proudly raises his hand high to claim them as his own. “I take the blame!” he exclaims. So, at least for now, he’s adorable, and our plan is perfect, and all is well.
I just love how Jesus uses simple stuff like 3-year-old potty-humor and toots to teach me profound truths.
This week in staff meeting we dove into the book of Mark, chapter 15. Mark is a concise little book that offers the story of Jesus’ life in snapshots. Chapter 15 tells us about the crowd turning on Jesus, demanding the release of Barabbas, a criminal, and the crucifixion of Jesus instead.
Verse 15 says, “Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.”
This verse makes it sounds like things just happened to Jesus. Like he wasn’t in control. But knowing the back story, we know that Jesus was well aware of his life’s purpose. Jesus accepted the accusations against him that day. He stepped in for the criminal. He raised his hand for the stinky stuff. He took the blame.
There are 39 days plus Sundays remaining in the Lenten season, a time for reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. I pray that we all take some time these next weeks to repent for the stinky stuff in our lives, to reflect on the fact that Jesus raises his hand for us, and to give him all the glory for taking our place on the cross. Our prayers could go a little something like this: “Excuse me. Thank you, Jesus. Alleluia and Amen.”