When Your Wings Are Crumpled

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It sits on a leaf, exhausted. The struggle to emerge, to become, is a hard one. White and orange-flecked wings are crumpled and it’s too weak to fly.

But at least it’s not a caterpillar anymore.

It practices opening and closing its powdery wings. And as the sun climbs in the sky, the butterfly grows stronger.

Just when I think it’s strong enough, however, it flutters and falls.

I feel like I’m watching myself. Years ago, I emerged—a new creation—but the process of growing into who I’m meant to be has been a long one.

So often, we talk about the miracle of metamorphosis. But we forget that part of the butterfly’s process involves training its wings to fly.

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Nearby, the vegetable patch is flourishing. Tiny peppers. Little red radishes. Onions. Tomatoes, still green. I’ve never had much success with plants but, somehow, I’ve nurtured this little corner of the yard into a lush garden. It’s proof that the struggle to change, to become, is not wasted.

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In an old patch of garden that’s still choked with weeds, the fallen butterfly slowly and painstakingly climbs from leaf to leaf, higher and higher towards the sunlight.

Towards flight.

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Again, it pauses, exhausted.

Sometimes, unfurling our wings is a lifelong process. From the moment we come to Christ, God calls us to greater things. From glory to glory, He stretches us. There are moments of struggle against the flesh and there are moments of rest. But the more we step out, the stronger we become.

And when the struggle is too great? When our wings are too weak? He hides us under His. He covers us with love, surrounds us with mercy and breathes in us strength.

And then He does something that never fails to take my breath away.

He takes us, crumpled wings and all, and gives us grace to soar.

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