A Beautiful TransitionAug 19, 2022
When it happened, I was sitting on a wrought iron bench under a canopy of bright pink flowers. A beautiful blue butterfly landed on a leaf right beside me. I'd been waiting for one to come close for about an hour.
Outside Denver, CO (where I live) is a butterfly pavilion. It's an immersive indoor zoo with a habitat specifically designed for butterflies. The room has tropical plants, flowers, and temperatures. It's hot in there.
I love watching the butterflies chase each other, and while some people attract them like magnets, it is a rare gift when one lands on me. And this particular day was a more meaningful gift than I had anticipated.
On the wall by the entrance door is an exhibit window of sticks lined with various stages of pupas. These chrysalides are where caterpillars are protected while they transform and emerge as adult butterflies. The staff collects these new ones and each afternoon releases them for their first flight. Zoo patrons gather and observe. I joined them.
As I listened to the familiar presentation, it burrowed itself in the back of my mind only to resurface later with more profound significance.
Fast forward to a few months later, my dear friend, Tera, was coming to take new pictures of me. My website, branding, and social media presence were dated and overdue for an overhaul. Yet, in the days before she arrived, I stood in my closet like a teenager with nothing to wear on a first date, piling heaps of shirts on the floor in frustration.
My husband sat on our bed, encouraging me to put something on and let him see. Reluctantly, I surfaced from the closet in a parade of outfit after outfit, only to frown at my reflection in the mirror.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I don't recognize myself; these clothes aren't who I am anymore."
As much as he affirmed, it wasn't resonating, and in divine wisdom, he left me standing in the bathroom alone.
"God, what's wrong with me? My photo shoot is next week! These clothes aren't working. And I don't like any of them."
I sensed Abba's sweet presence and heard His question in my heart, "Are you sure you want to know?"
"Daughter, a caterpillar does not recognize itself as a butterfly."
The realization of what He said hit me deeply to the core of my being, and I sobbed.
I have been in process for so long; it has been a lonely and hidden season. Could it be over?
I have anchored myself to God for years, letting him tackle this messy transformation work. Could it be finished?
I have lived life surrendered, seeing pieces, parts, places, and people taken away from me. It turned me into unrecognizable goo, watching chapters of my life dissolve.
I wiggled and wrestled, shedding bad patterns and habits.
I replaced lies with truth.
I pivoted my people pleasing, pointing it towards what my Heavenly Father thought of me.
And this entire time, God formed me into something new.
Standing in front of the mirror was the first glimpse of my emergence.
And it is no wonder I didn't recognize myself.
Clothes from an old season didn't measure up; I needed garments meant for the daughter of a King.
So I went shopping! It was time to find something worthy of the new calling I carry.
As an introvert, I don't like to be the center of attention, so getting pictures taken by myself, feels weird. That day, months before, at the pavilion, I learned when butterflies emerge for the first time, their wings are soggy and wet. It, too, is an awkward adjustment. They needed to hang dry, so the wings strengthened to carry the weight I needed to stabilize, to sit in this new identity and let my friend capture the moments of my new flight.
I saw the pictures immediately; she broadcasted them from her laptop to my TV. They were stunning and brought me to tears. A few weeks later, I started sharing a sneak peek of the pictures with friends and family, and the biggest compliment was how they looked like me. While this seems silly, of course, pictures look like you. It was the image I didn't see in the mirror. It revealed who I am now as I walk in the full confidence of who God says I am.
As I reflect on the moment in my bathroom, I'm in awe of how God gives us glimpses into our transition from one thing to another.
I'm still waiting to see where my new wings will carry me, but I now have a greater appreciation for the journey it took to get here.
Maybe you're in transition too. So whether you are in the beginning, the messy middle, or wondering if it will ever end, I'm here to encourage you. And if you need someone to guide you through your process, I've been there and am here for you step-by-step.
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