Last year, a week before Christmas, I was dreaming with a co-worker of mine about the upcoming months. I had plans to help her with a training that she was leading for young adults. We were contemplating whether our family would lead an outreach afterward to Cape Town, South Africa with these young people. I was dreaming of the possibility but was not really keen on the outreach leading part but knew we were going to South Africa this year.
She then preceded to tell me about her “cocoon season”. It was a time in life when she felt God was preparing her for something bigger by pulling her back, hiding her away, causing her to rest and invest in BEING more than DOING. I was intrigued and interested yet did not feel like this was my season at all. Life seemed busier than ever and I did not see an end in sight.
Walking away from this talk I strolled by our campus “Boutique”, which is basically the place where everyone, before leaving the island, dumps the stuff that doesn’t fit in their suitcase. The beauty of the place is that it’s free for the taking so others’ discards become your treasures. On the table in front of the boutique was a journal with cut out magazine pictures. I could not pass up a journal so I grabbed it, flipped it open and to my joy it was blank. I figured I could rip off the decoration later.
At home, I took a look at the picture again before tearing it off and to my surprise, this is what I found…
This is exactly it… all other pictures had been ripped off before, only this one remained. The words said, “Inside the Cocoon” and the picture below is table mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
Since we were just talking about these two subjects, I knew there was a message in it for me. I did not feel the least bit in a cocoon but little did I know what the next months held for me. I had no idea that in two weeks Ralph would begin a battle with ongoing illness, that would turn our lives upside down and pull me away from all my plans and into a season of forced rest.
Just recently I was thinking of this picture again and realized that this “homecoming” IS my cocoon season, my preparation for Cape Town. I am in it right now. As I was thinking about this I realized I feel free, more like a butterfly, than a cocoon. We were driving along in the car and just at that moment a butterfly flew right in front of our window. It was surreal.
How could I be in a cocoon yet feel like a butterfly? Then later that day I picked up a children’s book my mom got for her grandkids. It was all about butterflies and I opened it to the part where they described the season of rest for the butterfly. After they break out of the cocoon they rest for a time, to gain strength and air out their wings in preparation to FLY!
The past months of waiting and persevering and holding onto the Lord when there seemed to be no hope b,were my hidden times of cocoon life. Seeing the dreams of South Africa, yet feeling like all the uncertainty was holding us back, kept me in a forced state of rest and waiting. Now I am beginning to see that somehow in the past weeks I have emerged. I am poised and ready to fly, resting, not with a simple hope that seems merely faith but with the reality of wings.
Sometimes it is in the darkest night, the cocoon season of forced rest, where all is stripped away and you are left hidden in your dreams. Deep down inside there is a resurrection on the way. A freedom that comes about not by striving or strength but quietness and rest. Suddenly dreams become reality with little to seemingly no effort on our part.
God says in Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”
The next line says “but you would have none of it”
God’s grace put me in the cocoon because, left to my own plans, I would have none of it. I had no time for it. I am so glad he did. I am resting these new wings, getting ready to fly…