Word Up Wednesday: Butterflies / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

As promised, I am continuing Word Up Wednesday by featuring reflections written during my Clinical Pastoral Education Internship. The following was written in September 2014. Again, Scripture was added and minor edits made to be shared here on www.reverendmotherrunner.com.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
— Romans 12:2

I have always been fascinated by butterflies: their beauty, their grace, their splendor. Just yesterday, while huffing and puffing through my morning run, I encountered a monarch butterfly on the trail. For a moment, that monarch butterfly—with its bright and bold orange, yellow, and black wings—encouraged me, but not because of its beauty, grace, and splendor. I was encouraged by the butterfly’s experience of struggle that ushered her into her beauty, grace, and splendor.!

The story is told: A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still. The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon, thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled. The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened; in fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shriveled wings, incapable of flight.

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In this life, we will experience struggle. We may experience struggle in our families. We may experience struggle in our places of employment. We may experience struggle in our physical bodies. We may even experience struggle in our faith. And perhaps, like the butterfly I encountered on the trail yesterday morning, if we allow ourselves to struggle, we will ultimately make space for ourselves to soar with splendor.

Let us pray…

Gracious God, thank you for being with us in times of prosperity and times of struggle. Help us to endure the struggles, that our lives might be transformed, renewed, and made beautiful. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.