Oh, those college years . . .
Most of you know that I have a tattoo on my right shoulder/side of my back, and to this day, the significance of the butterflies continues to grow.
Take a look at the history I wrote a couple years ago. Those butterflies continue to be a reminder of how much I’ve changed, where I came from, and to live in the moment while God works on my circumstances. Well, more like how He uses situations to change me from the inside out. 😉
I wanted to write about the significance of my tattoos. I’ll first mention that as I look back, they were definitely the rebel in me. Not that I’m much of a rebel, but I can be pretty persistent about things. Once I got the idea for the tattoos, there was nothing that I was going to let stop me from getting them. Say what you want about tattoos, I didn’t care.
I wanted to get a tattoo of a butterfly, but after looking at hundreds of butterfly tattoos, I didn’t want it to look so realistic. After my first trip to the tattoo place I found not one, but the two I wanted. After the artist complied a sketch for me & we talked about where I wanted it (on my back), I was going to end up getting 3 tattooed on me. I thought about it for a couple of days. I picked the butterfly because it represents transformation/change to me. I had gone through a lot by the time I turned 21 and I wanted a reminder of what God had done for me. The 3 butterflies were to signify the Holy Trinity (God, Jesus, & the Holy Spirit).
Little did I know then that my tattoos would continue to have such significance. God continued to work in me, turned my world upside down to heal me, and carried me through it all. He healed me from my past, which wasn’t easy to go through. I’m not the same person I was back then. Not once have I regretted my decision to get my tattoos.
The butterflies even have significance for me in this season of my life right now. I had a “light bulb” moment this morning. Lately I’ve been feeling a little trapped, and vulnerable. My troubles with my health got to me. I couldn’t get over this sense of vulnerability, and that my life could end at any time. Usually a thought like this would scare me. Instead it got me thinking that God really is in control, & I’d see that if I’d just trust Him. I thought I did, but He reminded me the other day that I don’t trust Him as much as I should/need to. The former thoughts of vulnerability actually helped me get a clearer picture of God. If He didn’t exist, or didn’t love me the way He does, where the heck would I be? He’s here with me all the time whether I recognize it daily or not, and He’s protecting me! He lets some things happen to us for many reasons, some unknown, but typically for our good & His glory. For a mere moment He let me feel what it’d be like if He truly wasn’t there. As I mentioned before, instead of fear, I had peace & more confidence in Him. He’s really got me in the palm of His hand.
Back to the butterflies…I realized that this “trapped” feeling, or the feeling that I should be moving on, but I’m stuck & there’s nothing I can do about it…reminded me of when the butterfly is in the cocoon. The caterpillar may or may not know what the heck is going to happen on the outside of that cocoon, but it’s keeping it safe as it’s being transformed into a beautiful creature. I realized that’s me. I’m in the cocoon, and God’s transforming me (well, He’s been at this for awhile). My friends have started to notice the changes in me, even if they can’t quite put their finger on what exactly it is about me that is changing. Just like that butterfly. The butterfly may not know what’s going on, but we do. We know that when the butterfly is released, it will be worth it (and make sense after the transformation).
He’s taken the knowledge I learned in law school to turn me into a better writer. He’s stripping me of self-sufficiency (another form of pride), teaching me to be a wife & how to communicate with my husband, He’s growing me, maturing me as a believer, preparing me to be an author, preparing me for our future, and showing me another angle of Him, & that He’s loving me through it all. Sounds exhausting. No wonder why I’m in this cocoon.
I suddenly realized that I’m grateful for this difficult season, albeit a frustrating one. I couldn’t learn all of the valuable lessons I’m learning now if I wasn’t in this place. God certainly isn’t going to let me leave it before He’s finished with some of these changes, just like the caterpillars don’t leave their cocoons until they’re fully developed as butterflies. I will be honest, I haven’t been the most joyful person during this time, & I’m looking forward to coming out of it. However, this new revelation is giving me the strength to endure it, the peace that I need to go through it, and the hope that God really does know what He’s doing, and that there’s an end in sight.