A Chrysalis of Grace

There are stages and periods of painful, confining growth in everyone’s life. Stages of being wrapped up in cocoons of hardships that cover us with doubts and fears. Stages that seem to come out of nowhere and we wonder, can I grow from this?

There are four life stages of a butterfly; the egg, the larva, the pupa and finally the butterfly. Each stage of change in their life cycle is quite different but each has a purpose.

Butterflies are unique amongst insects because they experience something called a complete metamorphosis whereas other insects have incomplete metamorphosis.

It takes about a year for a typical life cycle to be completed. Some butterflies can live up to 10 months but some only one to four weeks.

A larva or caterpillar (My youngest still struggles to say this) can be a very comic stage as most caterpillars look ugly, spiked, furry, clumpy, and gooey, but some are kind of cute I suppose.

This stage leads to the chrysalis which is the transforming from the caterpillar to the butterfly and is known as the resting stage. From this metamorphic stage a beautiful transformation occurs resulting in a brilliantly colored butterfly. What was once a silly, belly crawling insect, is now a brilliant flying insect and gorgeous display of color and wonder.

Isn’t that like the trials of life? If left alone, we’d be a silly, belly crawling insect that has little purpose, but God has much more. It’s His chrysalis of rest that he gives, cocooning us in his grace while undergoing a spiritual metamorphosis, or transformation to be exactly what He intended for us after all. But it hurts because the metamorphosis is a resting, confining stage that hems us in and we seem to lose freedoms. Although while we rest in Him, He is using that confinement to take our silly, belly crawling selves and mold us, heal us, and shape us into a Christlikeness that will shine more radiant and more beautiful for His glory.

Our colorful display of virtues and graces gotten through our metamorphosis are bright and new because he loves us far too deeply to leave us to ourselves. As we are molded and changed into beautiful butterflies, letting go of who we once were and submitting to God’s plan for this stage in life, we become something that can instead go beyond what we perceive as lost. Now, we can fly and soar because we are what God saw in us all along. He saw the silly, belly us crawling along and He wrapped a silken cross of grace around our souls, that transformed our lives into His glorious masterpiece.

Much love,

Viv πŸ¦‹

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The Word On Monday: Together For Good πŸŒΌ

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 KJV

When I need help making homemade mashed potatoes, my kids pitch in and we all work together as a team. My youngest son does the peeling, my littlest girl handles the washing, my oldest son works on the chopping and after I cook them, my oldest daughter does the mashing.

We work together. If we left the potatoes unchopped or unpeeled, sitting out in its own entity, untended to, there would not be a bringing together of each separate task to complete the finished project: our supper!

It’s a process. Our lives are a process too.

And that’s God’s promise to those who LOVE Him.

He will work together all the trials, problems and challenges in life for our good.

It may be immediate but a lot of the time it may not right away or ever in this lifetime. The hardest part of being transformed into Christlike person is that the peeling, washing, chopping, cooking, and mashing may not feel so great at the time. But God promises to work it out for our good. To put those separate endevours into a beautiful specialty. Namely, our souls. He promises to bring spiritual good out of all things. Our souls are everything to God, in fact, that’s why He sent Jesus to die for them.

Here’s what Joni Eareckson Tada says about how good can come from suffering:

* Suffering can cultivate a proper reverence and respect for God in our hearts.

* It helps us appreciate the sacrifice Christ made to rescue us from hell.

* It fills our hearts with gratitude to Jesus who bore our sins and who will ultimately put an end one day to sin, suffering, and sorrow.

* Suffering is the textbook that teaches us about our true selves and what is hidden in our hearts.

* Hardships increase our empathy towards others who face similar problems.

My friend, this is how God uses all things for good. It may be hard to see it as good right now but trusting that God will work good in us and bring good out of hardships can be done if we believe His word and what He promises to us.

It may look like rain clouds now but there is sunshine and growth to those who LOVE God.

Much love,

Viv 🌼🌹

Keeping up

TBI has a way of making one feel like you’re driving an old back-firing moped while everyone else is whizzing by in their 2018 Harley Davidson with the shiny chrome banana pipes.

Do you ever feel like keeping up with life is just too much? I do. The feeling of being so extremely overwhelmed by keeping up; homeschooling four kids, being mom, tending the home, trying to heal, and just living life makes me feel like it’s an impossible obstacle. I’m trying so hard, but it’s like running on a hamster wheel, exerting energy but not feeling like I’m getting anywhere.

When I was young, my dad, brother and I would take long walks to places in Philadelphia because we didn’t have a car and sometimes walking was the preferred method to buses or subways. I could never keep up because my dad’s long Marine Corps strides were not easy for my little legs and my brother being 5 years older had longer legs too. They were always having to say “keep up.” I tried, believe me, I tried, but the long journeys we took were so frustrating to my 7, 8, 9 year old legs. I had to walk/ run the whole time because it was the only way to keep up.

I’m glad of it! Being the baby of the family could been very detrimental in coddling or babying me, but my parents never did. They never babied me and let me off easy, just because I was their youngest and a girl. They knew how tough life is and didn’t sugar coat my childhood with pillows of fluff, and candy coated ideals.

When I realised my job as a child of keeping up was twice as hard, I could go easy on myself, not chiding or berating myself because I couldn’t keep but, instead, I could feel like I accomplished something as my efforts to keep up payed off from trying twice as hard.

Today, I’m dealing with this. It feels impossible to keep up. The house stays a wreck, school work presses in, and most days I barely have a chance to brush my hair. But when I see other homeschool moms going here and there teaching Latin, Greek, music to their kids and I can barely do the math and language arts, it hurts. But I realise it’s ok. I have a TBI. Not an excuse but a huge obstacle to overcome while trying to keep up. My kids are all excellent readers, great at math, and learning. Maybe not able to do all the fun stuff and extras like soccer and scout troops as before, but they are four great kids and loved. It’s ok! I need to speak this often. It’s okay, because with TBI things are twice as hard for me but in reality, I can keep up……. just in my own way with God’s help.

Yes, my moped still runs, even if it’s slow and not very pretty but that doesn’t matter because I’m still getting there.

Viv

Finding sparkles in the ebbs of life

It’s true. Through His providence, God allows trials to hit us; our ebbs of life to actually be seasons that lead us into our flows.

We can choose to look at these ebbs of turbulent difficulties through eyes of distrust and negativity but really….

They are a GIFT.

The ebbs of life are gifts, because they force us to rest in Him, seek His face, and learn that He will perfect that which concerns us…….in His time.

And then those ebbs turn to flows of abundant riches because of Him.

The ebbs, or difficult times when we are emotionally, physically, or spiritually parched, God uses so that we press closer to Him, trusting that the flows of deliverance will at the appointed time wash over us.

When we draw away from His providence, thinking He has it all wrong, we are hurting ourselves and not understanding that these painful ebbs are precisely the dry seasons that strengthen and exercise our faith in Him.

Were it not for these ebbs, would we seek Him?

If we never experienced pain, would our faith grow?

If instead of kicking against our moments of difficulties, we allowed grace to wash over us, cleansing our souls from spiritual seasweed, and renewing our hearts with deep understanding of God’s love, the ebbs are metamorphised into flows.

I once heard Paul Washer preach that the love of God is a deep and vast as the ocean. Even though we can only see a tiny part of the ocean, it’s enormity stretches into the horizon just as we can only really understand a glimpse of God’s love, the reality of it’s expanse is enormous.

He gives ebbs so tiny tokens of His love can be spotted, just like when the ocean’s tide recedes and little crabs, sea creatures, and gorgeous shells can be found glimmering and sparkling in the sun.