Well, I’m starting from scratch. It happens every so often when there’s a story I know I’m supposed to write, but I hesitate. I write and then I lose the whole thing. I know, there's such a thing as saving it somewhere else, I just never remember to do it. This is one of those stories and the day I finally finished it, is the day the enemy wiped it from my screen. Completely gone. My plan was to tackle it all day until it was done, but then I got a call that my husband was being taken to the ER for possible kidney stones and everything was suddenly put on hold. I rushed to the hospital where I was told I couldn’t go in because of everything going on with the virus and I had to wait outside.
It’s a strange time we’re living in the middle of. And as I found myself sitting in my car outside of the ER waiting for any kind of report, I couldn’t help but think that maybe God was asking me to use that time to re-write what I had lost. Because I believe this story is actually for this season we’re walking through.
This story has been on my heart for several years, but I never fully understood it until just recently. I sat down to write it and one thing after another prevented me from finishing. It's taken a long time to put my thoughts together. Years ago, I wouldn't have thought anything of it. Now, I understand. There are certain stories I believe the Lord gives me that speak a message the enemy is scared of. When it's time to write those stories, I find myself surrounded by little attacks, one right after another. So now I'm starting over, more determined than ever to fight through, because I believe the Lord wants this one told. And in what I believe to be an act of confirmation from the Lord, the other day while writing, a turquoise caterpillar showed up on my computer screen and made its way straight toward me. On another day that might not have seemed so strange, but it was a clear sign for me to keep going. Because the story that sits deep in my heart is a story of a caterpillar, a turquoise butterfly and a dragonfly.
One night several years ago I had one of those dreams that stay with you, coming back into your mind at random times, knowing there is something significant behind it but not fully understanding what it is in that moment. In this particular dream there were three of us, myself and two others, trying to save someone. We were on one side of a canyon, with deep waters running in-between the steep cliffs. Cruise ships would pass through the waters every so often. In order to help, we knew we had to get to the other side. One of the girls dove in and as she reached the other cliff, a man extended his hand and easily pulled her up. The other girl followed suit and was pulled up as well. I waited for two ships to pass by to make sure the waters were clear and then I dove in, getting pulled up with one hand by the same man when I got to the other side. I realized we were stuck in a dangerous position on the cliff but was grateful that we had all made it safely across the canyon. Have you ever had a dream where you had the sense that something was there, but never actually saw it? In this dream for me, I knew without a doubt that it was a baby we were trying to save, although I never physically saw the baby. We began to dry off and I woke with a sense that whatever it was that we did, was successful. We had managed to save the baby.
When I woke up and began to pray through the dream, the Lord immediately gave me a vision of the corner of a magazine page with the words “Full Circle 2008” written in white block letters on a black background. I was puzzled, but pulled the notes up on my phone and wrote everything down.
Since I was wide awake at this point, I began to search my memory for what was happening in my life in 2008. As I was thinking through various events, I remembered that the day before, all day, I kept hearing God Of This City, a song by Chris Tomlin. It's a song, that whenever I hear it, immediately takes me back to Santa Fe, NM and a time when our team had gone there to pursue revival. We didn’t have anyone to put together videos at the time, so I took it upon myself to attempt the process. It wasn’t my best work and certainly left a wide gap for improvement, but it was fun none-the-less. The song I decided to use was God Of This City and, because I didn’t really know what I was doing, I was continuously having to play and replay clips, which meant the song played over and over. I'm certain that I'll never hear that song again without thinking of that video or the city and all that happened while we were there.
So now I'm thinking about Santa Fe and suddenly questions begin to flood my mind...was Santa Fe in 2008? Was God trying to get me to look back to Santa Fe for some reason? And why? At this point sleep was not going to happen, so I began searching the notes in my phone. And then I saw it. Santa Fe - 2008. God had my full attention...
Suddenly I knew the "Full Circle 2008" that the Lord showed me in the vision had to do with the events that took place in Santa Fe in 2008. But why did the Lord want me to pay attention to that time and why did I need to come full circle? What was it about that time? I searched my memory and I revisited each day, each moment, seeking the Lord for the answer. And suddenly it hit me. It wasn’t about the things we were doing. It was about what God was doing in us - about the condition of our hearts. For me, it was a time in my life when there was a purity of heart and an innocence in my relationship with the Lord. It was the beginning of a new thing He began in me and it was the beginning of my relationship with the Holy Spirit. My first true love. A time when the love of Jesus trumped the busyness of serving Him. Where serving Him meant sitting at His feet, not serving the agenda of this world. A time when I served Him a whole more like Mary and a lot less like Martha..."Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her,'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'” (Luke 10:38-40)
Santa Fe was one of those markers in my life....a pivotal time when the Lord showed up through the voice of the Holy Spirit in unexpected ways and taught me what it looked like to hear from Him and to trust what I was hearing. It was the time He first came to me in the night and turned my world upside down by calling my name and showing me my very first vision ever...a turquoise butterfly.
As I dug through more notes, I found that the second ever vision the Lord gave me was of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly and I began to see the pattern He was putting before me. And maybe it was because I had caterpillars and butterflies on my mind, but I had a sudden desire to learn more about the process. It was when I watched a video of a caterpillar going into a cocoon to begin its metamorphosis that it finally struck me. Full circle back to Santa Fe was God calling us back to the caterpillar, so we can get in the cocoon with the Lord. Which ultimately brings us back to the butterfly and the original call that came with it. When I read the description of the process a caterpillar goes through to turn into a butterfly, it suddenly clicked why the Lord was showing me everything that He was. So many thoughts and pieces of the puzzle began to come together as the Lord slowly painted a picture of where I believe we are, even today. Especially today.
In order to begin the process of transformation, a caterpillar will stuff itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin. The caterpillar then stops eating, hangs upside-down from a leaf or a twig and spins itself a “silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis.” While in its protective casing, the caterpillar has to actually fall apart completely, decomposing down to its very essence, shedding its skin. A caterpillar literally dies, transforming its body to eventually emerge as a butterfly.
As I read those words, I felt like I was seeing a picture of my life, our lives and what we are supposed to look like living in Christ. The process of metamorphosis that a caterpillar goes through in the cocoon is what the Lord calls us to go through. When we’ve spent time in the "cocoon" with the Lord, we aren’t meant to come out looking the same. We’re meant to shed everything, to die to ourselves and to be radically transformed. The caterpillar, cocoon and butterfly become a representation of all the Lord is doing in our lives and all that He is asking us to do for His kingdom while we are on this earth. Shedding all that isn’t what He’s asking of us and transforming into a new body and new life. Revival of our lives and revival of our hearts toward the Lord. I believe all those years ago, when God showed me the butterfly, He gave me a vision of something to hold onto. He painted a picture before my eyes of what true revival looks like so I’d have something to run toward.
Santa Fe was a time when the Holy Spirit changed things up. It was when I dropped everything because His voice was more important than what I had to give up. It was the time when there was a caterpillar in our hands, ready to go into a cocoon. Then we left Santa Fe. And suddenly, it was gone. I can’t speak for anyone else returning from the Santa Fe trip, but I know for me, the enemy stole the caterpillar right out of my hands. Taken when the busyness of life crept in.
Recently, out of curiosity, I wanted to know if there was anything having to do with a “caterpillar” connected to Santa Fe, so I did a search on the internet, typing in “Santa Fe and caterpillar.” I really didn't expect to see anything. The article that popped up stopped me in my tracks...”Meow Wolf to expand, buys Santa Fe Caterpillar plant.” It felt like a kick in the gut, not because there was anything extraordinary about the article, but because it felt like the enemy wanted me to see what he did. The enemy, the “wolf” was expanding, taking over the caterpillar. And the picture I saw when I read what was in front of me, was an enemy moving in and taking over what the Lord had intended to send into a cocoon.
A couple months later, I was caught off-guard when the Lord showed me a vision of a dragonfly turning into a caterpillar. It confused me as to why the Lord would show me that instead of a butterfly. And why was it changing into a caterpillar? As I prayed through it, my immediate sense was that the Lord was showing what we had become and was asking yet again, will you return to a caterpillar? I truly believe the Lord was showing me a picture of what, as believers, so many of us have become. We’ve become the dragonfly.
A few dragonfly facts, if you’re like me and don’t know much about them…dragonflies have a hunting strategy that makes them impressive predators, feeding off the insects that surround them. They have "near-360-degree vision" and the head of a dragonfly is covered with enormous compound eyes. Dragonflies are known to be fast, with some species reaching a top speed of 18 miles per hour. Compare that to a butterfly who navigates through sense. A butterfly's antennae can sense the direction of the wind and changes in that direction, helping it ride the wind currents without losing its way or becoming disoriented. Most butterflies are herbivores, eating plants, leaves and feeding on nectar from flowers.
I know there are a lot of puzzle pieces I've thrown your way, so I'll lay out as best I can, what I believe the Lord is showing me with all the pieces He's put in my path. The dream of saving a baby, a caterpillar, a cocoon, the butterfly and the dragonfly. I believe the Lord is showing me we skipped over the most important piece of our relationship with Him and landed in a position He never asked us to be. We allowed the enemy to "expand" and take over the caterpillar that the Lord originally handed us. And then we began to fly as a dragonfly would, feeding off the things of this world...the accolades, praises from our peers, the platforms, performances, money, status, idols. We've walked by sight, trusting only in the things we could see in front of us, flying at 100 miles an hour, missing so much because of the pace of life.
But in this unusual season where everything has been stripped away, I believe He’s showing me the picture of a second chance. It’s our chance to dive into the deep waters to save the baby (a baby in dreams often represents our vision, our call from the Lord.) If we do take the dive, it will very likely feel like we’re precariously hanging from the edge of a cliff, because it’ll feel uncomfortable, not unlike a cocoon that dangles from a twig or leaf. There are those of us who have never sat in the presence of the Lord long enough to allow the transformation process, we’ve never been in the “cocoon.” There are some of us who were close to getting in and then walked away. Some have turned a blind eye, not wanting to see what the enemy did. And some of us have wanted the chance but didn’t know how to get back to it. I believe this is our chance, no matter where life finds you.
And so now, in this season of life, I believe He’s asking us to dive in, step out on the ledge, all in an effort to rescue the original vision He has for each of our lives. Dive in deep with the Lord. Sit with Him for uncomfortable amounts of time. Ask Him the really hard question of what needs to be shed. And then shed it. Die to yourself and to everything you hold closer to your heart than God. Be willing to lose what you claim makes you, you. And then let God reform you. Let Him transform you into the powerful, pure-in-heart, living-only-for-the-Lord creation that He’s called you to be. Use your "antennas," not your eyes, to trust what you're hearing from the Lord. Walk by faith, not by sight. Trust the Lord in all you do. It might mean you lose friends or family. Do it anyway. It might mean you look weird by the world's standards. Do it anyway. It might mean your life can’t look the same. Do it anyway. Because we've been given another chance and the words to the song God of This City still ring true today..."For greater things have yet to come, And greater things are still to be done in this city...You're the God of this city, You're the King of these people, You're the Lord of this nation, You are."
By definition, to come full circle is “through a series of developments that lead back to the original source, position, or situation or to a complete reversal of the original position." We are headed into a season where I believe being dragonflies isn’t going to be a sustainable way of life. What will sustain us is when we learn how to "feed off" the things He provides, by spending time in the Word with the Lord. When we can distinguish between things that are imitation versus those that are authentic, because we know the Father's heart. When we can recognize the difference between the enemy’s voice and the Lord’s voice, because we've spent time at His feet listening to Him. We have been given an opportunity by the Lord to go full circle, to go back into the cocoon, and to re-emerge...a powerful army of butterflies raised up for revival and for such a time as this.
By the way, that little caterpillar that showed up on my computer at the beginning? He showed up again. This time on the door as I opened it to go inside. I saw it as an invitation from the Lord to hold the caterpillar in my hand once again. And, that man on the other side of the canyon in my dream that lifted us up with ease? That was the Lord. He’s been with us the whole time. He’s just waiting for us to reach up and grab hold of His hand. He’s with us, He’s calling us back to His heart and He’s ready for transformation when we are. The door is open. I don’t want to miss it.
Oh and the emergency room trip? Everything is good and we made it back home that evening. The enemy tried to "expand" his reach into our lives by throwing a little extra chaos into the chaos. But what he didn’t anticipate is how God would do the same for us as He's doing for the world...He brought it full circle and used it as the “cocoon time” that allowed this story to be written.
What the enemy doesn’t understand is that in his attempt to "expand" and over-reach in the world by throwing out a pandemic and chaos, it really just puts God's children in a position to climb back into the cocoon. When this is all said and done, God will come out on top, He always does and He always will. And we...if we don’t miss it, will become an army of butterflies, formed, wings ready to burst through the cocoon, flying on winds of revival...ready to rise up in a way we've never seen before.
"And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." - 2 Corinthians 3:18
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2
"In that day the Lord will extend His hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of His people, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the coastlands of the sea." - Isaiah 11:11