Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Wounded Monarch

The monarch butterflies have been wafting through our garden these last few weeks. The spring trickle has not compared in quantity to the autumn 2010, but every one we spot is like treasure. Their return and some unrelenting troubles for loved ones have me remembering this post and holding fast to God's promises. Thank you for grace in listening to the same story over again; perhaps you needed it, too?

Saturday afternoon, Husband calls from the backyard, "Sweetie, get the camera!"

At the door, ready to hand it out to him, I see him crouched by the lantana and blue mistflower, cupping something carefully in his hands.  Slowly he approaches me, and I see it is a large monarch butterfly.

My excitement over the photo op quickly morphed into sadness.  The lower edge of one wing was damaged, as if it had been gnawed.

She said, "Oh, no!  What can we do?  He's going to die like that, unable to get to the plants or evade the birds or go to Mexico with his friends!  This is awful!"

He said, "I think he's old and very weak.  The wing doesn't look too damaged for him to fly, so maybe he just needs food to recover his strength.  I'll put him in the flowers so he can eat, and maybe he'll be all right."

That he did.  So very gently, he set the butterfly in the purple-blue flowers, where like an infant suckling it immediately found the nectar.  Ebony was outside as well by this time, so I stayed and watched as the wounded insect crept around the flowers and ate, and the dog lowered his nose to the ground to smell what all the fuss was about.  The butterfly did look happier in the flowers, at least, if not stronger.

Storms soon broke here, and waves of rain and thunder and tornado warnings passed through.  I have not seen the butterfly today, but he's still in my thoughts.

As I asked the Lord what to make of this curious encounter, I remembered this:
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
         And saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

And this:
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
       he drew me out of deep waters.
  He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
       from my foes, who were too strong for me.
 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
       but the LORD was my support.
  He brought me out into a spacious place;
       he rescued me because he delighted in me (Psalm 18:16-19).

And this:
 "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11).

Today, then, I give thanks for the nearness of God to those with broken wings,
for His grace to rescue and restore us,
for a husband who shows me God's gentleness,
for butterflies and sunrises,
for rain and protection in the storms,
and for a day when the groaning of Creation will be satisfied in freedom and redemption.
(Gratitude list 1501-1506)

May you know His nearness in your need and call today.

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
to all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will hear their cry and will save them.
Psalm 145:17-19, NASB

{Edited repost from October 2010}

Sharing in community with the folks at Ann's...

...and Emily's...


  1. beautiful pics...nice to capture these moments and see for a moment how the world should and will be -

  2. i love butterflies...and broken things...and grace found in both...

  3. @Brian Miller Me, too. Grace and peace to you in Christ.

  4. I love this, Christina, and I love YOU. So much. Coincidentally, I took some pictures of Clementine with a dying butterfly just a couple weeks ago. My friend saw them and asked: "However did you get Clementine to stand so still?" And I had to tell my friend the sad truth that I wouldn't have let Clementine hold the butterfly (and risk damaging its wings) if it weren't nearly dead. The pictures are lovely (I'll e-mail them to you!), but your post is even moreso.

  5. I love the verses from Psalms you share, just love them, and love this post.

  6. @Brandee Shafer Thank you, precious Brandee. I love your generous, open heart. You are too kind to me. I'll look forward to the photos.

    Grace and peace to you and yours in Christ.

  7. @pathoftreasure Those promises mean the world to me, too. I'm glad God used this post and His Word here for your encouragement.

    The Lord bless and keep you, friend.

  8. Beautiful pictures and a timely reminder that God is near to the broken(hearted). Thank you!

  9. I'm amazed you guys knew enough about butterflies to put him in the flowers to eat, that would never occur to me! Your compassion here is touching.

  10. @Kati patrianoceu That would be my husband. He actually planted that group of flowers in order to attract butterflies and has recently planted another large area in addition.

    Just a small thing, but the poor little guy didn't do anything to deserve his suffering.

    Thank you for your feedback!

  11. Oh God is so tender. What a beautiful picture of mercy in that butterfly.

  12. What beautiful scriptures to accompany the photos and story of the Monarch. I love how God uses nature to communicate His truth and love to us. Thank you for reminding me of that here today.

  13. We tried to save a black and blue butterfly once. The boys named him Butter Bob! Your story and photos so blessed me today.It has felt like life has been gnawing at my wings lately - but the hope and faith that God heals me, strengthens me, grows back that wing for me - is such a tender mercy. Thank you for your story!

  14. what an extraordinary reminder, friend... i love how you see the world. i'm tucking this deep into my heart, tonight...

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  16. @emily wierenga Thank you, friend. God makes our eyes, yes? I love the unique vision He's given you, too.

  17. @bluecottonmemory Oh, friend, I'm so sorry that life has been gnawing at your wings. God does heal and strengthen.

    Your words bring to mind Isaiah 40:28-31, especially the last verse, "but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

    May the Lord renew your strength and give you new wings as you wait in hope for Him.

  18. @Amy You're welcome! Thanks for the feedback.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.