Butterfly

My darling child,

I know you are feeling lonely and invisible in there, in that quiet, little cocoon. Your siblings are so visible, their talents so evident, their accolades ringing in your ears. I know it feels sad, and you feel like no one can see you, and you feel left out. I know you wonder whether anyone will ever notice you. And it even feels like God might have forgotten where you are. It makes you wonder whether He even cares about these incredible yearnings in your heart. You know you are beautiful, He tells you so, but you wonder what is the point of any beauty if no one’s allowed to see it?

But I want to tell you a secret.

A caterpillar, if you look very closely, actually already has the identity of a butterfly. But it needs a little time in a cocoon to mature into what it really already is. You see, if it tried to fly before its wings had developed, it would fall. In fact, it might even hurt itself so much that it would never be able to fly when it really mattered. So God, in His wisdom, wraps it up safely where the magic can take place: where it can learn the secret lesson.

The lesson of glory.

It must learn to be in the place of being unseen, so that it can learn to look at its invisible Maker instead of at all the eyes that will soon be looking at it.

Because it will be called to shine:

“Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Sweet child, you have to be hidden for a little while so that you can learn to be trusted with glory.

Glory is a thing too heavy for a creature to bear. There is only One strong enough to carry it. And when you are released from that cocoon, your beauty will be evident to all; but you will be light as a feather, so you will be able to fly.

Darling one, most of us wait decades for the gift of this learning. You are being allowed the very deep privilege of learning it so young. I believe that is because your Father in heaven, your Maker, is getting you ready for a very special task. He is preparing you to fly like a butterfly, precious child.

You keep your eyes on Him.

Soon it will be time to shine.

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Dear D.O.C.S., Board of Studies, Grandparents and Telephoning Friends,

What is a homeschooling mother to do…when someone calls your home and one of your children answers the phone, and you hear them say, “Um, not much, we haven’t really been doing school lately.”

You and your husband look at each other with horror, jointly imagining raised eyebrows and plans to notify the Department of Community Services on the other end of the line.

“Did you remember that I read you a chapter of a classic children’s novel this morning?” you immediately ask – with what you hope is not even a hint of condemnation or defensiveness – when they have handed on the phone. “And a poem by an Oxford don? Did we not listen together to a movement of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” Suite? You read aloud to me from a Scholastic textbook on Saturn. And did we discuss a picture of a bronze statue of Saturn as Father Time? What about our little session on the DNA of caterpillars and butterflies? And the lesson on pruning the grapevine, right before lunch? Do you remember the documentary we watched about Scotland, and the radio programme from which you took two pages of notes on astronomy at breakfast time? What about watching your brother install the wiring for an air compressor on a vehicle this afternoon? Have you not also both begun and completed a craft project today? Not to mention the hour you spent picnicking on the roof (yes! A lesson on risk management!) while you and your sister each read your own historical novels, with a view! Have you also fed the ducks and collected the hens’ eggs and ridden the pony and baked two recipes from scratch? And did you not then follow the echidna on his twilight waddle through the paddock just now? Did we discuss current affairs from the newspaper at the dinner table as a family, followed by a time of Bible reading and prayer? And has this litany of educational opportunities not been procured solely from the past 24 hours?”

You pause breathlessly and notice your hands are on your hips.

“Oh. Sorry,” said child apologises. “I forgot about that. But I did tell them I did some vacuuming!”