Friday, July 30, 2010

Why Butterflies are Such a Big Deal To Me


Lots of people love them.

I have always been fond of them.

Always thought they were pretty.

But I want to share my story . . . a little glimpse into it . . .

of why I adore butterflies.

Of why they hold special meaning to me now and always.

"Behold, I make all things new." Revelation 21:5

October 5, 2008 ~ My Baptism

A day shared with my son & brother in law and Pastor.

Along with those who watched from the bank.

This is the story that I shared . . . my story.

I remember specifically a day in Sunday School when Wyatt was talking about Romans 12:2: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God," and he said that transformation was better translated "metamorphosis".  Before this, when I read that verse, I saw proving the good, acceptable, perfect will of God as an huge, burdensome responsibility and that I needed to try harder at renewing my mind.  But there was something about this "metamorphosis" that was different . . .

I had also been wondering what the point of baptism was.  I mean, if I had received salvation by asking God to forgive my sins, and believing in Jesus Christ as His Son, in His death and resurrection and believing that was for me, and receiving Him as a gift.  If I had done that, received Christ as my Savior, why did I need to make a "public" statement of baptism?  I don't need to prove this salvation to anyone else, do I?  It is just between God and me, right?  So, why baptism?

This is why.  The metamorphosis.  The symbol.
There was a point of change in there
where I let go of myself
Like seeing for the first time!
My baptism is a reminder, a point to mark a time, a symbol of a turning point of transformation. 
Baptism in some way unites me with Christ. 
In this symbol a unity is marked.
In this symbol, that I personally chose to do, a process is marked.
A process like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
The life is still the same root ~ but very different.

Now . . . I do not know how, but I got this glimpse, this vision of really seeing that this is what happened for me and what can happen for each one. 
I did not "get it" . . . until I "got it". 
And I did not get it by trying to get it . . . I just "got it" . . . in my mind. 
Make sense? 
Or thoroughly confusing? 

This is what I "got":  the "old Jodi" was crucified with Christ.  The "old caterpillar Jodi" hung on the cross and died on that cross.  As I am baptized, as I go under the water, it is a symbol of dying and being buried.  And then the exciting part is that not only, am I united with Christ in His death and burial, but also in His resurrection.  I have His new life!  So now, the "new butterfly Jodi" is resurrected in Christ, in His righteousness, and now I have the honor of walking and living and flying in newness of life!  I am free from the "old me".  The "new Jodi" is raised to life and dies no more.  Life now reigns, it rules, in the new me.  I have been brought back to life.  I was dead in my heart, but now my heart is alive.  And it is an abundant, rich, vibrant life filled with meaning and significance and beauty right here, right now.  My eternal life starts now, not when my body dies.

In Trina Paulus' book Hope for the Flowers, she tells a precious story of two caterpillars who are trying to find "life".  I think this quote really describes what happened in me with this "baptism" thing. 

"Yellow came upon a gray-haired caterpillar who told her about becoming a butterfly. 
'But how do you become one?' she asked.
'You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,' he said.
'You mean to die?' asked Yellow.
'Yes and no,' he answered. 'What looks like you will die but what's really you will still live."

That, to me, is the best description that helps me understand this quote from Jesus in Matthew 10:39 . . .
"He who loses his life for My sake will find it." 

I give up my caterpillar life and get a butterfly life instead.

How do I know all that about old Jodi on the cross, dying, buried, resurrected? 
Well, it does say it in the Bible.  And I had read it in the Bible in Romans 6. 
But somehow I felt it.  I understood it.  I knew it was me personally.  And I "got" it.
It is like when a kid "gets" riding a bike. 
That sense of balance just happens.

I am a new creation.  Just like the butterfly did not recreate itself, I did not recreate myself.  The Lord is the one who does the work.  I do have to give Him my life, but then He changes me.  And He did.  As I present myself to Him, He does the transforming work in me.  He has done it, is doing it, and will contine to do it.  And so my life proves His will because of the work He has done in me not that I did myself.  And the difference in me is as dramatic as the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly. 

I, like the caterpillar, used to attempt to feed my spirit with the leaves of self-sufficiency, pursuit of money, perfection, performance, titles, status, recognition, approval of people, position and image. This was as an adult and as a believer in Jesus Christ.  Trying to "feed" my spirit's hunger this way was depressing and empty.  I believed that I had received Christ's gift of eternal life in heaven after I died.  Along with that I believed that in this life on earth, everything was completely on my shoulders.  That his gift was for after I died, not while I lived.  That while I lived it would be an unending life of enduring burden after mundane burden that I had to carry alone to prove that I was living God's will.  I still had my own performance in a higher position in my mind that God.  I still relied on myself supremely, not Him.

I thought one of the answers was to just "believe in myself" more.  "Believe in yourself."  That is popular and seemingly noble idea.  Very prevalent, accepted, encouraged and marketed to our culture.  I remember specifically a day that I collapsed on my bed in tears and cried out in anger and bitterness, "I don't believe in myself anymore!"  And it was in that moment that I heard a gentle, calm, loving, strong and firm voice say in my mind, "Then don't.  Believe in Me instead."  Instantly, I was relieved.  Instantly a weight came off of my shoulders, heart and mind.  Instantly I knew that there was someone bigger than me, better than me--that I could believe in when I failed.  There was and would be a hand holding me and picking me back up when I fell on my face.  It is what it means to be steadfast in the be held up, held together, propped God's hands.  I thought steadfast in the Lord meant that I was steady and I was fast.  But He is the steady and the quick when I am not.

Somewhere in that time, I began a "cocoon" stage of life.  It is not a place that shows much activity, results, beauty.  Not a place I was comfortable going at first.  I had been in a mode of believing that I always had to be showing results, always a harvest, always fruit. . . .always coming up short in that.  Always feeling I was never enough.  That was my mindset entering the cocoon stage.  But the cocoon is a place of deep dramatic transformation.  Again, in Hope For the Flowers, Trina Paulus writes, "I'm making a cocoon.  It looks like I'm hiding, I know, but a cocoon is no escape.  It's an in-between house where the changing takes place...During the change, it will seem...that nothing is happening, but the butterfly is already becoming.  It just takes time." 

I entered a time of waiting.  Another quote from Trina Paulus is this, "Somehow, waiting and not being sure was better than action she couldn't believe in."  Waiting has been hard.  But I knew I needed to change action.  So in the waiting, as my heart and mind changed,
I began to discover action that I could believe in again. 

Coming out of the cocoon, a changed life, there is much that is new.  My belief in myself has returned.  Because I believe in the One who not only created me, but transformed me.  I really do.  More and more.  I accept that what He creates is good and valuable.  That His masterpieces are created with intention, uniqueness, distinction, and good purpose.  So therefore, I can believe in that.  I can believe in someone bigger and better than me because I am still going to fall down, still going to slip, still going to fail.  I can believe that even though I fail, I am continually renewed and transformed.  A work in progress.  He calls it changing me from glory to glory, rather than failure to failure.  His way sounds much better.  He changes me to become more of His reflection all throughout my life.  So humbling.  I get to reflect Him.  Truly an honor.

Like a butterfly, I have new things that I feed my spirit on.  Sweet nectar of His word, His voice, His Truth, His Presence.  That sustains me for the other areas of my life....increases my love for my husband, kids, family, friends, community, world.  It's in that that my spirit has a fire to pass this on to others!

Wow ~ does that make ANY sense?  Well, I know that some of it does not.  Just like the cocoon is in the dark and we cannot see the process that goes on in there.  The transformation in my life is really an unseen, unknown process.  And really, that is part of the mystery.  If I could explain all of this perfectly in a formula of "do this, do that" and you will be transformed by God, if I could do that, well, there would be no need for Him, and there would be no mystery and with no mystery, there is no awe.  When we KNOW everything, that is knowledge, not faith.  And He does say that without faith, it is impossible to please Him.
Mystery.  Awe.  Faith.

Now I have new actions that I believe in. 
New work He is preparing in my heart for me to do! 
A new mode of transportation. 
No longer creeping along the ground in old ways and old actions. 
It is here that I am beginning
to take flight.

My man Jim and me.
A few of my "faith friends".
{There are many more not pictured!}
October 5, 2008.

For more understanding and exploration,
see these verses: 
Romans chapter 6, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Ephesians 2:10,
Romans 12:1-2, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 3-26-27, Ephesians 4:17-24, Titus 3:4-5.

Words~text copyright 2008.  Revised 2010.  Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.
Quotes from Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus. 
Buy it here: Hope For The Flowers by Trina Paulus


  1. Wow. What an amazing, beautiful, honest, and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing this. I love "I don't believe in myself anymore" "Then don't. believe in me". So powerful. I hope you dont mind that I wrote it down to look at from time to time, when I need a reminder. Beautiful.

  2. This is so beautiful, Jodene. My family and I were all baptized on the same day back in March of 2006. My husband, my two kids and myself. What you just wrote described it all so perfectly. This is just precious. Your words are full of love. Thank you for sharing this.
    Butterflies and birds have become my favorite thing. It seems all by artistic work has a butterfly in it:) Now I know why;)


Welcome ~ share your beautiful thoughts.