I have read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar many times to my children. Throughout the life of the caterpillar he goes around eating everything he crawls over. Life is pretty good for this fat, happy caterpillar when suddenly he gets too fat for his own good. By instinct he begins to wrap himself up into a cocoon and is suddenly transformed – okay so this is where the book and real life go separate ways.
Actually, the caterpillar grows from about .1 inches to 2 inches in about a two week time period. This poses the first set of problems for the caterpillar, growing faster than his skin; he must shed his skin about 6-8 times during that two week time frame. That is a whole lot of sloughing off the old for the new if you ask me; but, if that is what it takes then slough away.
Once the caterpillar is in the adult stage he will hang upside down for a whole day (that is a long time in caterpillar life) and sheds his last skin, his legs and his eyes. He is entering into a blind place of faith, trusting by instinct what he was created to do. This last sloughing brings about a soft layer which hardens in about an hour to become the chrysalis (not a cocoon!).
Believe it or not, this stage of the pupa in the chrysalis is not a place of rest as it would appear to be to the average onlooker, but if you could see inside that chrysalis you would see the caterpillar body being transformed, wings are fully formed, antennae are formed and the chewing mouthparts of the caterpillar are transformed into the sucking mouthparts of the butterfly. This is home for approximately 10 – 14 days, when suddenly the chrysalis cracks open and a butterfly emerges.
The butterfly must pump fluids from its abdomen through the veins in its wings, which causes the wings to expand to their full size. Next, the wings must dry and the butterfly must exercise its flight muscles before it can fly. Help or disturbance from an outside source will harm the butterfly and its ability to live and fly. The caterpillar was created from the inside out to become a butterfly! The purpose of the caterpillar is to eat; but, the purpose of the butterfly is to mate and lay eggs.
During my own caterpillar stage I must gather the nutrition I need for the next stage of my life. I must allow the growth process to prepare me for all that lies ahead and I must continually take off the old and let the new come forth. As a believer I must allow my thoughts to be changed and my actions must follow. I must know there is a resolution to the direction my life is taking and have the heart of the vision to see my end result. When, like the caterpillar, I hang upside down with my last bit of skin, eyes, & legs gone I must trust that there is a resolve for this season of blind faith, where my faith has yet to become sight and I am transformed.
But like the new formed pupa within the chrysalis, I too must continue the inward struggle of letting the butterfly emerge!! Even though what looks like rest and peace for an onlooker, the inward process is a continual work of change. Old unnecessary things are being replaced by what is needed for the new part of my journey. My spirit man is regenerating the rest of me to begin to look like the woman I was created to be. Now, instead of eyes to see the natural I have eyes to see into the spiritual. What once was a mouth created to consume nutrition has now become one to prophesy and encourage those around me. My creepy crawly legs have been replaced by the wings that will cause me to soar on the winds of life. The chrysalis suddenly opens and a butterfly emerges. But wait there is more…
From the inside out, the wings need the life giving fluid that stretches them and makes them able to take flight. From my belly flows river of living waters – this gives shape to my wings and as I bask in the warmth of the Son I am prepared for flight. No one else can help this progression; it must be me and God, seeing to my newly formed wings. Now it is up to me to exercise the muscles necessary for flight. I can hear the Word, I can hear others speak the Word, but until the Word is coming forth from my belly and speaking life into my surroundings I will not be able to take flight the way I was created to fly.
As a child, I spoke like a child, I thought as a child but as a woman I have put away childish things and I now think, talk and speak as a woman. The transformation from the birth place of the caterpillar to the first flight of the butterfly is filled with growth, struggle, life, death, pain and beauty. I too face my struggles knowing soon I will take my first flight out as one who was created to soar; my determination has moved me from consumer to helpmate and life giver.
There are so many areas of my life which must go through this metamorphosis. Whether it is growing from a young girl to a maturing woman, a new mom to an experienced grandmother, a first job to a lifelong career or a freshly saved soul to one that is healed, set free, delivered, equipped, empowered & serving. This is one of time, struggle, patience and belief. The caterpillar is a butterfly in the making. I am a victorious woman of God in the making. The seed of life has been deposited in my belly so that the life force can be released for me to become all God has created me to be.