“You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 Amplified Version
Life Cycle of the Butterfly
When a caterpillar’s life cycle approaches its end a pupa (pew-pa) is formed from the belly of the caterpillar. Starting at the belly, a silk anchor is attached to a leaf or tree to affix the next structure, a pupa. In a butterfly, the pupa is called a chrysalis. The purpose of this stage of life is to transition the caterpillar (the child like phase) to the adult phase. The chrysalis appears to be lifeless and dormant from the outside but on the inside there is a transformation taking place. The old organism is dying while new features of a more mature organism are developing. This pupae stage may last for weeks up to years, before the butterfly emerges. There is only one way the pupa can be opened and that’s by the fore limbs of a mature butterfly. Once the pupa is slit, the butterfly must squeeze out. This is a very tough process for the butterfly because the pupa is very tight; it was formed to the shape of the caterpillar. This is a very important stage; squeezing out of the pupa allows the butterfly’s blood, called haemolymph, to flow through its wings in order for it to fly. It can’t fly without being pressed.
Have you ever wondered why your life seems to be dormant, lifeless, or at a standstill? Ever wondered why it seems as though your friends are progressing and you are remaining stagnant? You, my friend, may be in a metamorphosis. Do you feel as though God has planted something in your “belly” but yet you are not moving forward with it? Feeling stuck at the belly like a caterpillar in its pupa? I want to encourage you to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV) It is very important in this stage to wait and be patient. Emerging too early will cause the butterfly to get stuck in the silk wrapping causing it to die.
The caterpillar stage is the immature phase of the butterfly’s life cycle, but in order to become as regal as the butterfly, the caterpillar must go through the dormant phase of the pupa. On the outside, the pupa seems as though it is encasing “nothing;” however, what’s going on in the inside is growth and maturation. God is developing your character and cleaning your heart. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (Romans 5:3-4 ESV)
Or maybe you are in the process of your breakthrough. God has been working behind the scenes and now the press is really beginning to hurt, it’s squeezing you, just like the emergence out of the pupa. This stage is necessary because without the “squeezing action” your wings will not be equipped to fly. But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)
At the end of this complicated life cycle, a beautiful butterfly emerges. The butterfly is an organism made by God that many of us marvel over its beauty and grace but we often forget about the stages that occurred prior to the display of this beautiful creature. Blessed is the man (woman) who remains steadfast under trial, for when he (she) has stood the test he (she) will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)
I come to You sincerely and humbly praying to You during my “pupa” phase. Only You know which stage I am in, but God help me to delight in it. Help me to wait cheerfully. As I continue through this phase help me to remember that this dormant phase is not dormant at all, but You are developing me. At the edge of my breakthrough, help me to remember that although it may hurt, the “squeeze” is necessary. Above all things, help me to remember that You will never leave me, nor forsake me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
Ladies, I EMPOWER you today to rest in the power and assurance that God is developing you. Be confident in knowing that the trials you face are necessary for your butterfly period. My prayer is just as the butterfly shows no sign of struggle or pain that you emerge in the same way.
Another note: By nature, butterflies typically emerge in the morning, just after the night.
Read a related EmpowerMoment: Pain Before Pleasure
As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She teaches Young Adult Bible Study and Sunday School and also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic three-year old daughter. They attend St. Luke Christian Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.