God created unique stages of life for all living creatures, plant life, and humans. This is apparent with butterflies.
For instance, the Monarch butterfly starts life as a light-colored egg, the size of a pinhead.
You can turn over a slender milkweed leaf and spot the random eggs adhered to the leaf. But it doesn’t take long before a tiny, striped caterpillar emerges. It is very small, but it grows rapidly as it munches on milkweed leaves–chewing at a very fast pace.
Take the time to bend close to a caterpillar and watch it gobble up a leaf. Even that stage of their life is amazing.
But most delightful is when a butterfly’s wings are ready to take on unique drafts of air and strong winds. Butterflies don’t usually jump from branch to branch with gentle flutters, or with repeated attempts at flying, as a baby bird might leave the nest. Instead, a butterfly just takes off flying, sometimes soaring upwards in loops and circles toward the tops of trees. It’s like a flight of joy.
Of course, that fast flight may keep them from immediately being captured.
Compared to God, we humans are tiny. After birth, we don’t jump into the role of an adult human–physically, mentally, or spiritually.
There are stages of growth in our life, and not everyone proceeds at the same pace. And that is so true about our spiritual growth! Some people have the advantage of being schooled from birth, taught about God, taken to church, and encouraged to attend a Christian college, etc.
But not everyone comes from a family who encourages spiritual growth.
God understands each person’s unique situation. He calls people to come to Him and experience life to the fullest. And spiritual growth may come in small steps, as we learn and believe.
We aren’t going to swirl to the top of a church steeple and have all we will ever need of God’s love and forgiveness. We must learn to walk through the stages of growth in our spiritual life, while depending on God and older Christians to guide us with each new situation.
God is good. He stays with us.
Please, leave your comments below! Have you experienced stages of growth in your life? Please, mention a couple incidents. Remember, your comment may help another person!
~Karen Campbell Prough
A path through the woods meandered along the shaded stream and beckoned to me. My feet followed the unspoken promise of discovery. I failed to understand what tugged at my heart and compelled me to climb the irregular steppingstones toward the hint of sunlight.
An opening in the woods fanned out, inviting the hiker, the innocent passerby, and the curious to pause and catch their breath. I follow its irresistible summons—fueled by my imagination and the warm invitation to return to a former place and time.
I needed harmony and a slower pace to life. Inner peace had gotten lost in everyday duties.
An old homestead waited near the pines. The cabin stood gray, moss-tinted, and weathered, but the shaded porch drew me toward its promise of comfort. I rounded the corner of the building, and my hand caressed the sun-warmed logs.
Unripe berries hung from the nearby fence, a pledge of abundance in the future.
I stooped to pull weeds at the base of the porch, their prolific runners tangled among the “settler’s roses”. Vibrant blooms graced the sturdy canes. As the midday sun warmed the rose petals, their old-time fragrance filled the air, and provided a picturesque background to an old hitching post.
The porch steps became my sanctuary, and I pondered the presence of the astonishing roses. I wondered whose hands and fingers had planted them. Were they gnarled fingers, twisted and trembling with a lifetime of hard toil? Or were they the delicate and unlined hands of a young bride?
I lingered on the wooden steps, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the peace and quiet. But time does not wait, and I soon stood—to bid farewell to a gentler time in the past.
My steps took me away from the tranquil moment, but my heart grew lighter. The load I carried on my shoulders fell away. The image of the simple roses and the green stained logs followed me. They lingered in my mind, and reminded me to return more often—to think of the generations who have lived before me and had sought God’s comfort.
Ahh, perfect advice. Seek a portion of quiet comfort—a place and time that is special to your needs, as when the scent of roses lifts the burdens of the day.
Find time to remember.
“Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you. Deuteronomy 32:7 NLV
Thank you for stopping by and reading this post. I hope it gave you the longing to go back and realize God’s promises are meant for you and those you love. Bits and pieces of the past helped make you the unique person you are today. God can give comfort, which covers and erases the wrongs in our lives. And if we need his forgiveness, we can ask without fear. He can create a new person in us, a person filled with inner peace. Go back, find a place of peace, take your family with you, and bask in God’s love.
The pictures used in this blog are from two different trips to the mountains. The cabin pictures were taken at the Foxfire Museum while vacationing with friends. The rest of the photos are my pictures of roses and exploring I did on my own, during a trip to a writer’s conference. Walking around by yourself and visiting buildings that house the past can bring a different type of connection to a forgotten time period. You have no one to talk to. Only your thoughts give weight to what you see and feel. The hush of a wooded cove, the wind in the trees, and the echo of your steps on a wooden porch cause you to imagine the voices that once filled the air. Life moves on and we can only tread where time leaves its mark. But the moments of peace and reflection can be worth the time spent. We are not the only generation who has walked this earth. So many have gone before us, but we are reminded to remember the days of long ago. God was with those in the past, and he cares for us. He also cares for the future generations … the ones who will walk where we have set our paths.
“We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD.” Psalm 78:4 NLV
© Karen Campbell Prough 2014
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Then we got a cold snap. I feared the caterpillars would suffer harm, so I collected all of them. I put them in a jar for the night and gave them a supply of leaves. As the weather warmed the next day, I transferred them back to the stems of the plants. They continued to grow.
Two days ago, during another chilly morning, I went outside to fill the chickens’ water containers. But there was a caterpillar underneath the first loop of the water hose. Nope … that’s not a good place to establish even a temporary home.
I carefully removed him. He was cold, stiff, and not moving. I brought him in the house, put him in my “caterpillar jar” with some sticks, and sat the jar in an inch of warm water. He finally started wiggling and crawled up the side of the jar, got on a stick and crawled downward. Last night he attached himself to the stick and hung upside down. But he chose to hang close to the bottom of the jar! That’s not a wise place to hang out.
This morning I checked on him. He hung there, wiggling slightly. I thought, yep, he’s ready to shed his outer covering. I took the dog out and came back in. The caterpillar had thrown off his old, dark rags, and he hung there in a new green suit. I missed seeing the transformation! But I continued to watch him.
The chrysalis wiggled, and I wished I could see inside, to see the amazing process take place. With each wiggle, the green casing changed shape. The top thickened and rounded, the length shortened. A gold dotted line brightened around the top like a crown. The chrysalis grew fatter, firmer, and smoother. It took about thirty minutes, and I snapped pictures.
Now, the chrysalis hangs from the branch, much too close to the bottom of the jar. I will tape the branch higher up in a day or so, so the butterfly will have room to lengthen and flex its wings when it hatches out of confinement.
How like human life. We’re like that caterpillar—often going the wrong direction, hiding in the wrong spot, sinking to the bottom of life, and trying to do things on our own.
God picks us up, warms us with his love, and offers forgiveness. He places us next to his heart and watches over us as we begin the transformation. It quite often takes a long time for us to change, to wiggle through circumstances, throw off the old life, toss away bad habits, and drop the stained and wrinkled garments of sin.
Then life takes on a new, bright appearance. But we are still growing, developing a heart for God, and changing with his guidance. We appear different. People have no problem seeing that we’ve left the old life behind. Some watch us with awe—remembering how we once crawled through life, getting into tight spots.
We mature under God’s direction. And there is coming a day when the shell of this earthy life will split asunder and we will awaken in radiance and beauty. We’ll experience the newness of our appearance; past woes will be tossed aside. We shall lift off this earth to soar in the heavenly realms, higher than any butterfly has ever gone.
“In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.” Colossians 3:10 NLT
Thank you for reading this post. I hope it touches your heart and makes you realize that God wants the best for us.
© Karen Campbell Prough
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AUTUMN IS MORE THAN A SWIRL OF COLOR
Autumn brings our attention back to the seasons of the year. Yes, spring has its freshness and breathtaking flowers. Summer belongs to the child in us and coaxes us with a persistent call to have fun. Winter can bring the season of coziness and thoughts of warm fireplaces, but autumn brings wonderful relief from the heat of summer and throws color back into our world.
Autumn decorates nature with enriched shades of scarlet, gold, and yellow. It conveys freshness and the replenishment of spirit. Strength is renewed and the winter doesn’t look so intimidating. The coolness in the air brings a bounce to the step and supplies the innate urge to explore and seek out changes in nature. Autumn’s harvest beckons us to store up good things for the winter months to come, so we can make it through the tough times without losing our stride. Without autumn painting a colorful change along the horizon, we would leave the warmth and sunlight of summer, and step into the harsh reality of winter’s bleak canvas.
Can we compare autumn to one-fourth of our life? When moving beyond the middle years of life, a person needs renewal, a refilling of inner peace, and a promised blush of happiness. We must all face the winter, but autumn’s stage can throw back the curtains and reveal the superior rewards waiting for us. We can step out and enjoy the harvest with God’s blessing.
Where are you in your life? Have you realized that God cares about what colors your life? Perhaps, you’ve been living the spring and summer of life—living it the way you see fit. Life doesn’t last forever. Accepting God’s wash of color before life ends means seeing what he can do in your life. His presence adds depth to everything we can accomplish. God prepares renewal. His forgiveness can brush light into corners of our hearts that have been filled with darkness.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV
Thank you for stopping by to read. Please take a moment to leave a comment about autumn.
© Karen Campbell Prough 2012
Pictures taken in upper Michigan, the Smokies, Grayson Highlands in Virginia, Colorado, and central Florida. Can you tell which picture goes with which state? My daughter is in one of the pictures. She was doing homework at the picnic table.
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