Monday as I went for my run/walk (ralk as my friend and I like to call it), I saw a butterfly stuck in a gap in the sidewalk. My empathetic heart tensed up to protect itself. My first instinct was to ignore it and walk away so that I wouldn't have to see its pain, but I felt called to go back and help the poor little thing. I wanted to say no. I knew it was probably going to die and I didn't know what to do with it. If I picked it up, I'd probably break its wing. Reluctantly, I circled back to where the butterfly lay helpless.
As I tried to figure out how I was going to get it out of the pit (as I'm sure it would seem to something as small as a delicate butterfly), I inched closer to it, considering grabbing its wings but afraid I would hurt it more. As my hand drew near, the butterfly climbed onto my finger with much more tenacity than I was expecting. I didn't have to do anything except do what I felt called to do - extend my hand and not walk away.
As I lifted the butterfly off the ground, I thought maybe I'd carry it to a nearby flower in a garden but I was shocked as it took off in flight. What I was afraid to help because I was scared I'd make worse ended up rising higher than I'd ever imagined.
In that simple act of obedience and kindness, God taught me a valuable lesson:
I'm not the savior, I'm just a vessel God can use. I didn't think I had anything to offer. I was afraid of causing more harm. I was dreading watching the small creature suffer, but God didn't ask me to heal it. He just asked for obedience.
In late December my friend and pastor asked me if I'd be willing to reach out to a woman at church who was suffering through a miscarriage. I felt like I did Monday with the butterfly. Could my empathy take watching her suffer? What did I have to offer? What if I just made matters worse? As it was with the small monarch butterfly, however, I listened to that nudge and went to her. On my own, I would have had to figure out how I could get her out of the pit and I didn't know that I had what it took. Since God was at work and I was only his vessel, all I had to do was offer my hand. He did the rest. What has come out of that single act of obedience has blessed me tremendously and changed the direction of my life. For one, by reaching out I gained a new and dear friendship. It's a friendship that has accelerated in depth due to the shared experiences we have. Also, that single act of listening to His calling showed me that I want to continue reaching out my hand to the hurting mamas stuck in a pit of grief and help them emerge with grace and a new strength they didn't know they had inside them.
I didn't have to go into it with a full plan. I had to do the things He told me to do and He took care of the rest. All it took was saying yes and I was able to be a part of restoring this beautiful butterfly back to its full potential. It had a setback but it wasn't broken. If I hadn't gone back, what would have happened? Would it have starved? Been stepped on? Struggled more as the sun's heat got more intense on the hot concrete? I didn't do anything miraculous but I did do something. I didn't walk by feeling sorry for it but not offer the help I could. Maybe someone else would have come and helped but I would have missed out on the blessing of being a part of this beautiful restoration, from the pit to the sky.
Have you been called to reach out to someone but you feel ill equipped? Are you asked to do something that seems beyond your abilities? Just remember that if He's calling you to do it, He doesn't expect you to do all of the heavy lifting. All He asks is that you obediently reach out your hand and let His power take over. You will be blessed.
Thank you for the lessons you teach me, Lord. I will take them and remember next time I want to walk on by.