All images courtesy of dm.stagram.com and their photographers. (Mine is MIA)*
This past Sunday I was left to help run a flower stand in the church foyer and as everyone sat inside the service to enjoy the Father’s Day message I had an hour or so to reflect. And as I looked at the fake plastic butterflies sticking out from bouquets of daffodils I was reminded of something a dear friend of mine gave me before I left home.
She had given me a butterfly pendant with a letter with these words, “Wear the butterfly in expectation and anticipation of your transformation…”
As I grabbed the plastic butterfly and twirled it in my hands I thought back to this time a year ago. I had just arrived and was only a couple days old in Aussie soil, innocent and unaware of the price of freedom… at the price of transformation.
As I look back at the “Days of Innocence” and at my naïve eighteen year old self I wish my now (then future) self could say a couple of words of wisdom. Things like, “Just go with it… just let God do what he’s gotta do… and trust him at his word…he’s got this…”
And in the beginning of this voyage of life I decided that I had it all under control. I had preconceived notions of what all of “this” (life in Australia) would look like and as I watched those notions break at my feet with less answers and more questions and setbacks I began to wonder, “What the heck is God doing? Doesn’t he understand how much this hurts? I thought he was good. What the heck am I doing here”
And as I went through physical and spiritual changes that pained me to the point that everything inside me ached… that some days I would lay in the cold bathroom floor as it would become unbearable. Promises laying motionless and stiff right there with me, as I persuaded and protested for, “This cup to pass from me…” yet Gods words always returned…”My grace is sufficient for you…my power is made perfect in your weakness…” “My promises hold true…”
During the continuous heartbreak of “it” all I was faced with two choices: trust that God is good and sovereign or continue to be hopeless. After all God was all I had His Word was all I had if I did not hold to this truth I had nothing…
And just like that as I took God at his word, I emerged bruised and scarred… but as someone who had seen and experienced God in a whole different way. Resilience took place in my heart, and I grew in my identity in him. Our relationship grew as he healed and sucked venom from inside my system. And although the battle scars were (are still) there he was worth it all. Every bit of it. Good and bad. Emerging from the furnace closer to him, his essence and his likeness, and looking less like me.
It is somewhat of a silly thought but before this season I thought that I would never feel the same way about God like when I first experienced His love. But now I can testify that this is love. A real relationship that surpassed the “honeymoon phase…” and blossomed in its love for God. There were moments that I felt hurt by him, and moments that I hurt him yet all this allowed me to truly love Him regardless of the shape, or circumstance of this thing called Life, I came to love Him because of who he is, not of what he can do.
Through the ebbs and flows of strong currents I learned of Him… His essence is good… He is good therefore He only ever does good.
And once I stopped trying to make God justify it all… I saw that he redeems it all.
But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous]. Job 23:10 (amplified)