Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL article (11/27/14)
- TITLE: Butterflies Unbound
By Tracy Nunes
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On the Crown Flower tree next to the coffee, several Monarch Butterflies twisted and turned in an ethereal ballet just before they landed to begin the mating season. They were blissfully unaware of anything but this moment, their purpose for living. After a while, almost transparent eggs will be deposited on the broad milky leaves. When they hatch, tiny green and black caterpillars will devour the leaves bite by bite, readying themselves for the great transformation
Life is balanced, diverse and as God designed here on our personal patch in the world. But it wasn’t always so. For more years than I care to admit we struggled with the ravages of hoarding. My in-laws, beautiful people that they could sometimes be, were held in the grips of fear that caused them to gather all manner of things unto themselves. Stray, untreated sick cats and dogs by the dozens; trash of every sort and shape; collections upon collections, and not the kind you find at your neighborhood antique store. Much came in, nothing ever went out.
There were birds… birds everywhere; they came for the daily feedings and amassed by the thousands in unnatural throngs on rooftops, electric cables, and in the back yard. Beautiful, multicolored songbirds were pushed away by hoards of pigeons and doves. They had lost all self-sufficiency by feeding on a daily diet of breadcrumbs and kitchen scraps; bird droppings blanketed the backyard.
Fear: the life blood of dysfunction. It’s the driving force that makes us covet and capture more than we need. It keeps us from trusting God and makes us build barriers to keep others out; and literal and figurative barns to congregate all of the multiplied bits and pieces we think we need to be safe. My in-laws lived through the Great Depression and Pearl Harbor; frugality and caution out of necessity grew to be a force of compulsion instead of practicality.
That compulsion created a deep stronghold of burden upon burden as they built up layers of debris. A pebble of fear led to an avalanche and it buried their family. Fear became so ingrained in the structure of the family, that it was as if boulders were tied to the ankles of every family member.
God’s solution? Send in a young woman; newly saved with countless boulders of her own and a marriage on the rocks. That young woman was me. A mother of two young girls who desperately searched for still waters, but was somehow led to jump into a fetid pool. Not a solution most would devise for dysfunction. But God is not like most.
God’s solution for my wrecked heart and spirit was to assign me a mission that was counter-intuitive on every level. It was the proverbial make me or break me situation. In the end, it had done both. It broke me, utterly: my body; my spirit; my self-worth - all of it; crushed beneath the multiplied load of fear. But, as we removed the debris, one pebble at a time, something happened. God worked. God moved. God reshaped and molded what He had crushed.
In the process, my in-laws were liberated from the prison of their things. My mother in-law, before she passed away, was finally able to surrender all to Jesus, after spending her whole life trying to hold His hand on one side and the debris that fear built on the other. She went home to be with Him free and clear; the hold of fear was broken. My father-in-law yearns for her, but he does so in a clean, safe home.
As we looked out our kitchen window into the oasis of peace and nature as it should be, we were once again in awe of how stunning the world is when it is without fear. When trust reigns, the natural order falls into place. The cry of Hallelujah from the trees and rocks can be heard because the din of fear no longer shouts it down.
The butterflies are unbound; my marriage, my family, freed in, and for, transformation.
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