Butterflies

A few years ago, a dear friend prayed and asked the Lord to speak to me through butterflies. After that, I started to notice all sorts of them—butterflies in the air, butterflies in my stomach, butterfly patterns and symbols…

As each new butterfly popped into my life, I thought, Oh I was wrong about the last one. This is type of butterfly He is trying to speak through.

Then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. And every doctor I saw explained what a thyroid is. Over and over and over I heard, “Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck.”

Butterfly-shaped.

IMG_6747This is the butterfly God wanted to speak to me through. And He did—more than through any other kind.

But my friend had asked that God would speak to me through butterflies. Plural. More than one. And that means they all mattered, even the smallest one.

Have you ever heard of the “butterfly effect?” It comes from a Ray Bradbury short story called “A Sound of Thunder” about a man who travels back in time to the beginning of the world. He accidentally steps on a butterfly, and it changes the entire outcome of the future. One little butterfly changes everything.

One little butterfly-shaped gland in my neck changed everything too. I never gave a single thought to my thyroid before it had to be removed, and then it became my world.

But those other little butterflies in my life—the ones that don’t seem as significant—they are important too. God allows each little thing to grandly shape us. He’s the One who set the butterfly effect in motion.

And what’s so beautiful about these small butterflies is that they bring renewal. We love the picture of a caterpillar patiently and uncomfortably waiting in its cocoon before it can fly away. And it’s true for us. Every moment, whether large or small, painful or happy, brings renewal in one way or another. Sometimes we see it, other times we don’t, but God is using those moments to mold us and turn us into something greater than we can imagine.

On this one year anniversary of hearing the words “no detectable cancer,” I sit in awe of the way God renews. The way He turns the ugly into the beautiful and the scary into something hopeful. The way he made a butterfly out of my story. I want to notice all the little butterflies and not just the big ones (and not just the ones that look like actual butterflies either). Because they all matter—not one is too large or too small to carry His voice. I want to have ears ready to hear Him and feet that are ready to follow.

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