When You Just Can’t Handle Any More Change: Remember Butterflies
“Behold, I am making all things new!”-Isaiah 43:19-
What happens when you read a promise like Isaiah 43:19 and you don’t want anything new? What if you’re happy just like it is right now?
The butterfly has become a powerful symbol for our family.
The Lord sent me flurries of butterflies right before our first military move—little yellow butterflies danced around me like Cinderella’s mice. Every time I would walk and pray, telling God my concerns about our upcoming move to a place I’ve never seen…. up shot these little yellow butterflies all around me and up shot my hope that good things might be coming.
Butterflies have become a symbol of new beginnings.
At this stage of our nation, change is left and right. I feel like we all need an up shot of hope.
Schools have changed. Shopping has changed. Social gatherings and community groups have changed.
(I guess now everyone gets a small taste of military life. Enjoy.)
Change is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting.
So when I hear, “Behold, I am making all things new,” I kind of want to respond like, “Would you quit it already??”
From being so weak I couldn’t lift a laundry basket to adopting a young man into our home, from preparing a house to be put on the market, miraculous healing, packing up, then moving. Then losing Dan, moving (again), changing schools (again, and then again). And let’s add a little pandemic, just for fun.
Our family hasn’t had a “normal routine” since well before the summer of 2018. And I was still in the throes of chronic pain and sleep deprivation back then. So, literally two to three years straight of change and “all things new.”
Can we just put the world on pause? Can we just catch our breath? Can I just get a break??
More importantly—can you relate?
Butterflies. Butterflies. Butterflies.
School. Church. Bible Study. TJ Maxx. Coffee Shops. Walmart. The Park.
Dancing. Date Nights. Family Wrestling.
It all looks different now.
New Beginnings (in my life story) usually come with great loss.
But the flip side? I’ve heard it said that every ending is a new beginning.
Maybe it comforts you today? If it does, hold on to that like I did. That one sentence got me through a lot of hard change.
Every ending is also a new beginning.
That used to comfort me. But today, I am just to weary to find hope in that.
If you’re in my sad camp today, then what do we do?
What do we do when we are burnt out by change, upheaval, and new beginnings?
I will tell you what I do.
I remember the butterflies.
I remember how everything dead, dark, and horrible ended up leading us to deeper experiences of life, freedom, and faith.
I remember those flurries of little yellow butterflies, ushering in some hope of what’s to come.
And then I remember the moldy house, the failing health, the depression, living in seven different houses in six months, the deployment…
That horrible move and all its trauma let us experience the Body of Christ like we couldn’t have any other way. We were adopted into strangers’ hearts and homes, living Acts 2 in true community. We discovered the baptism of the Holy Spirit, prayer partnerships, and spiritual mentors. Butterflies more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
I remember the butterflies on the town sign, the street corners, stamped into the concrete, lit up in Christmas lights. Butterflies everywhere, even in the dead of winter.
And I also remember the shock of a high of 2 degrees, another round of depression, unhealthy community, failing health, mental illness, no sleep, no sleep, no sleep, the end of my faith…
That horrible move and all its trauma let us learn the mind of Christ like we couldn’t have any other way. We discovered butterflies of deliverance, healing, unfailing love, goodness and mercy. We met prayer warriors from many nations who took us under their wings and strengthened us. We never knew life could be so good to us in in the little town of Papillion (which happens to be French for “Butterfly”).
I don’t remember any butterflies before this move. Nope. I don’t.
But I remember the five most physically exhausting days of intercession I’ve ever made in my life. I remember the looming clouds over the mountain and commanding the rain to be held back.
I remember the hope of resurrection like never before.
I remember 10 dead car batteries, 4 major plumbing leaks, 5 major appliances crapping out on us.
I remember 3 legit screaming-swearing-breakdowns by yours truly and plenty of minor ones too. Months of vomiting and bloody noses and spills and months on months without a working washer and/or dryer, the laundromat, the betrayals, the false promises, the let downs…
What will this horrible move and all its trauma reveal in us? Only God knows.
Hindsight will come. Right now, we are still in the thick of it.
But butterflies don’t give up and die on the darkest days.
They keep growing and pressing in, even when surrounded by only darkness. When the timing is right, the light will break through.
So promise me— you won’t give up.
Butterflies are coming again, and I promise. It will be beautiful.
Because the same God who promises to make all things new is the same God who will make it ALL right. He will redeem and will turn sorrow to joy and mourning to laughter. He makes beauty from ashes. He makes hope springs up in desolate places.
When all you see is darkness, friend… just hold on. Butterflies are coming.
I suppose you should know that there’s this big yellow butterfly that’s been coming by, just one. But she comes through our backyard when I rock on the rocker alone and she swoops in front of the car as we pull up into the driveway. I told you to hold on. Butterflies are coming.
This week, when you hit that place where you feel a little lonely, a little empty, and you think, “I’ll flip through Instagram or Netflix or just check my email or text to see if someone has anything life-giving to offer me.” I want you to remember you have a friend in Jesus. And remember that His Word is alive. And I want you to turn to Isaiah 43 instead. Read the whole thing. You’ll be amazed once you read this in context.
I feel like God basically says, “Remember all the AMAZING ASTONISHING ways I showed up to save my people in the past?? Well, forget that! Because what I’m about to do is even more amazing. Behold, I am making all things new! Remember all the old butterflies? Good. I’m about to outdo myself!”
Read it yourself, and tell me if you see the same thing.
This chapter is packed with promises that have held me through my darkest days. Every bit of time you spend in Isaiah 43 will be worth it.