Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thankful Tuesdays: Struggle

The man had loved butterflies since he was a small boy.  Now a grown man, he found himself once again fascinated with a cocoon.  He had found it at the side of the park path.  Somehow the twig had been knocked from the tree and the cocoon had survived undamaged and still woven to the branch.  As he had seen his mother do, he gently protected the cocoon and carried it home.  The cocoon found a temporary home in a wide-top mason jar with holes in the lid.  the jar was placed on the mantle for easy viewing and protection from their curious cat.

The man watched.  Almost imperceptibly at first, the cocoon moved.  A small opening appeared, and he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.  Then it seemed to stop making any progress.  It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and could go no further.  Then the man decided to help the butterfly.

He removed the lid on the jar, took a sharp pen knife from his desk drawer, and carefully made a tiny slit in the side of the cocoon.  Almost immediately, one wing appeared and then out stretched the other.   The butterfly was free!

It seemed to enjoy its freedom and walked along the edge of the mason jar and along the edge of the mantle.  But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.  The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened!  In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and   shriveled wings.  It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.


Most of you would have probably read a similar story at some point in your life.  (I got this version from here.  But of course, if you read this blog, you'll know that the use of "cocoon" should mainly be restricted to moths rather than butterflies.)  It particularly speaks to me during this period of time when the boy has been rather difficult, and I've been feeling stressed out about some things.  I love the story for its reminder that sometimes, struggling is necessary for growth and life... and so today I give thanks for the challenges that come our way, that:

:: Are constant reminders that I cannot do it on my own.  That I need God's help for each and every moment, and I am still only a "jar of clay", but holding precious treasure within.

::  Teaches me that "love is patient", and unchanging despite the shifting circumstances.  

:: Sometimes forces you to slow down.  To count to ten before disciplining naughtiness, to pause lest I smack in anger.

:: Teaches me the value of perserverence and consistency, and hopefully would help me model it to the little boy...

Little boy has been finding it hard to sit through this particular activity,
but was extremely happy when he actually finished it on his own today.
He kept saying "mama is proud of me!", and I hope he continues to learn the value of perserverence,
even in small matters like this!

:: Are helping us to be better parents, by making us examine the boundaries that the boy has been crossing the past few weeks, and bringing us to desperately pray for wisdom and patience.

:: Pushes you beyond what you think you are capable of doing (I had signed up for the Shape Run sometime ago with a friend, and the run took place last Sunday.  Just days before, I was considering either backing out, or just walking 1 km and then walking back, since I was starting to feel all the aches and pains of pregnancy.  It turned out that there was no "1 km" marker, and hence we ended up walking 2 km before I realized what was happening.  So in the end, we managed to brisk walk through (or in my case, waddle through) all 5 km of the route, while enjoying a nice chat throughout... something I never thought I'd be able to do while being rather heavily pregnant!).

:: Allows you to look forward to each new day, as one where:

"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."
~ Lamentations 3: 22-23

Sunrise at the start of the run.  Was so glad I had my phone with me to snap this! :)

Are you facing any challenges this week?  Is there anything about them you could be thankful for?

PS: Thank you for sharing your experiences with tantrums, sleep-training and teething with me in the previous post, and on the blog's Facebook page.  I was very encouraged by your responses, and the reminder that while parenting is a challenging journey, it is still a fulfilling one!


  1. Thanks for sharing =)

    As it happens, this last week has been a little tougher than usual and all the accumulation of little/big problems over the past just boiled over. I had a bit (or maybe a lot) of a meltdown about it and was just asking God why He was taking so long and why couldn't He just solve the problems already.

    The next day (yesterday) as I was on my way home, He put a brilliant rainbow in the sky, and then doubled it! It was such a great reminder that God has His timing, and that His promises never, NEVER ever fail.

    It doesn't mean things are solved now, or that the problems disappear, it just means that I know I have the strength to face each day only if I find my strength in Him! His mercies are indeed new every morning!!

    Praise God =) I will be praying for you and the family and especially the little boy. Take care! <3

  2. What a wonderful story about the butterfly. And yes, like you, with the kids, I try to count to ten first before reacting in anger...or to distance myself for a little while - whenever I could. These few weeks had been particularly bad at work but I mentally let the love of the kids and their lovely innocence melt away a typical workday's frustrations when I am home with them. And it is so admirable that you participated in the Shape Run despite being heavily pregnant!

  3. you are a good woman with a warm heart. i love this post!


  4. Evergreen: I hope this week has been better! Hang in there, and I think its sometimes so amazing how God sends reminders in all sorts of ways when we are feeling down! Thank you so much for your prayers!

    The Beauties in our Lives: Hope work has been better now? I nearly pulled out of the run, but it turned out to be a nice slow walk, so no regrets!

    Just Me: Thanks... :) Hope you are hanging in there with everything at home!



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