26 February 2016

Dance of the Butterfly

Monarch butterflies are amazing little creatures. They are considered the “king” of the butterflies, hence the name “Monarch”. 

Recently, I learned some things about the life of a Monarch, and it has been an inspiration in mine. Monarch butterflies go through four stages during one life cycle, and through four generations in one year. The four stages of life consist of the egg, the larvae (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. 

The four generations are actually four different butterflies going through these four stages during one year. In February and March,

Monarchs come out of hibernation to find a mate. They then migrate north and east in order to find a place to lay their eggs. This starts stage one and generation one.

In March and April the eggs are laid on milkweed plants. They hatch into baby caterpillars, also called the larvae. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch. Then the baby caterpillar doesn’t do much more than eat the milkweed in order to grow. After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully-grown and find a place to attach itself so that it can start the process of metamorphosis. 

It will attach itself to a stem or a leaf using silk and form a chrysalis. Although, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change. Within the chrysalis the caterpillar is undergoing a remarkable transformation. 

The caterpllar is reduced to goo. It has no resemblence of it's former self, and no resemblance of the beautiful creature that will soon emerge. 

When it does emerge, it will fly away, feeding on flowers and enjoying the short life it has left, which is only about two to six weeks. During this short time, it has a purpose. It is pollinating the flowers, from which it feeds, in order to assist in their reproduction. This first generation monarch butterfly will then die after laying eggs for generation number two.

The second generation is hatched in May and June, then the third in July and August. These butterflies will go through the same four stages as the first, dying two to six weeks after emerging in all of it's beauty.  Each one fulfilling it's purpose in the pollination process. 

The fourth generation of these little delights is a bit different than the first three. This group is hatched in September and October and goes through exactly the same process as the first, second and third, except for one part. The fourth generation does not die after two to six weeks. Instead, these Monarchs migrate to warmer climates and live for six to eight months, until it is time to start the whole process over again.

My qwery into the Monarch came as the Lord was reminding me of the process of my own life these past few years.  Initially, I was off to South Africa, never to return to the western world. Next it was Mozambique, and most recently Japan. Each move left the people in my life wondering, and often judgeing, what God was, or wasn't doing, from their perspective.

As I walked along in the cool night air recently, the Lord began to minister to me. He reminded me of that first trip to South Africa.
Sitting in a living room with a few others, Holy Spirit crashed in on us and made Himself tangibly present. In that encounter, He drew my attention to a butterfly outside the plate glass window. It was flitting from flower to flower on the various trees within my view. I understood as He spoke to me about "cross-pollination".

There has always been a vision, a purpose, a reason for being in that place, at that time.

Sometimes nothing that I envisioned came to pass. Other times, it was exactly as the Lord expressed to me. 

Every time I have have boarded a plane, I have been well aware that others are watching me flit from flower to flower, thinking my path is scattered and chaotic, without purpose. I have had to come to peace in the knowledge that the Lord is doing something unseen to the natural eye.

In each new adventure, in each new phase of the journey, I have died, so that I could live. My life, is not my own. I was bought with a price. I am my Beloved's and He is mine. I will go where He desires to take me, and I will die a thousand deaths in order to bring life that reproduces.

My butterfly dance continues.  

Last October I had a dream in which the Lord made it clear to me that we (He and I) would be leaving Myoko Kogen, before I had accomplished the task that He had asked of me. In the months following, I have continued in pursuit of what He had requested. I wanted to serve Him like He had asked. But, that time came two weeks ago.

In the natural, a gas leak in the building forced us out. In the spirit, it was the Lover of my soul, emerging to take me away.

Like migration to a warmer climate, I'll be back in the states for a season. As in the past, I know this leaves people wondering "what in the world?". Some will have questions, others will have opinions. Still others will simply open their petals. It is my prayer that as I continue this dance, pollination will continue, lives will be touched and Christ will be reproduced.

With His Heart,

Behold, all things have become new...

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