We went to the butterfly exhibit at the Pacific Science Center last week. As always, my boys were mesmerized. Colorful wings flitted through the air, little works of art slowed to sip on oranges and then fluttered to the ground to rest. We always hope one will mistake us for a tree limb and land on us.
But they weren’t always such.
They once scooted along, rather ugly and fat and sticky and not so delicately strong and free as they are now. It’s crazy, really, to think from where they’ve come. The fact that a caterpillar entered a dark cocoon, essentially liquified, and then attached wings and wrestled its way out of its bindings, strengthening itself in the process for the world waiting… it’s mysterious and magical, really.
Yesterday was one of those days that I needed to remember that while a good chunk of the day may have been really dark, full of resistance and ugliness, there is beauty coming. Raising four little men, each leaders in their own right, is no joke. The days sometimes inch along, with so much fear and anger and tears and so little hope that we are at all on the right trajectory.
God, who promises mercies every morning and beauty from ashes and dancing where dry bones once littered the land, has another chapter waiting. This God is where my hope and value lie, not in the atrocious behavior of my kids or the woefully imperfect parenting performance I exhibit. He is my anchor, my safe place, my hope, my refuge. He is my sanity. He is the one who promises wings upon the hard work of transformation… Transformation that happens in the dark places of bedroom floors and minivans and in the crucible of tantrums and negativity and socks that don’t feel right and ingratitude and a constantly beckoning laundry pile.
It is these days that I must trust the process, the deconstructing of me to make something beautiful. And I must trust that this cocoon of parenting littles is more about me and my response than producing perfectly behaved children. They will one day own their own souls; as I have had to own my sin and triumphs alike. As much as I can teach and walk in a way that exemplifies a humbled, forgiven, correctable, loving, desperate follower of Jesus, that is all I can do.
And I hope they will see who is worth following.
It’s surely not me.
But it is the One who continually interrupts my hectic days and catches my tired gaze and says, “Keep fighting, keep trusting, keep walking, keep going… There is life coming!”
Oh, how I love him.
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31