On holiday at the beach when the sun and clouds pulled closer to my patch of earth and the tree leaves looked like patchwork quilts of oranges, reds, yellows and fuchsias – my husband and I found ourselves floating quietly by ourselves in a sea of salt.
Our boys had abandoned us for a lazy river and video games. The littlest, he’d constructed a half-hearted sandcastle – only because I said we’d needed one – and he’d not grown up enough to relish not heeding me yet.
I bobbed and my husband floated along the currents, savoring the peacefulness of it all, me not quite trusting the quiet; my husband taking it all in stride when a Monarch butterfly beat its wings up and down from shore toward us, past us – and we watched, our bobbing and floating turning to follow his journey beyond where we could see. We watched, expectantly – and gossiped about its journey until the current pulled our attention to where we wandered – and we set to working ourselves back to align with our beach side property of chairs, blankets and bags.
In the bobbing and floating, trying to catch a good wave – both our attention was caught by a Monarch butterfly beating its wings up and down, out of the distance, past us without a pause, to the beach, straight to the Beggar’s Ticks beyond the beach walk.
We paused – wondering if this was the one that had just left – or if maybe this was one come from across the gulf.
I kept wondering what message those butterflies carried from God – Nothing ever goes to waste if we just pay close enough attention.
A few weeks ago, the message in those butterflies revealed itself like moon runes (The Hobbit).
A prayer – I don’t’ know if it was one prayer sent 2 years ago or the book of prayers sent out 15 years ago for one son – sent out on a journey like a Monarch butterfly. The Journey takes time – maybe one minute, 2 years or 15 years – but a prayer I sent out came back, like that Monarch returning – it came by answered.
Just like Daniel’s prayer sent out on a journey before it returned answered:
“‘Relax, Daniel,’ he continued, ‘don’t be afraid. From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And now I’m here to help you. . . .’?(Daniel 10: 12-14, The Message)
Oh, yes – I long ago decided – I couldn’t raise these boys with just what I had or my husband had. It is humbling to realize sheer determination cannot generate the results I want. I cannot love my boys good enough. I cannot teach or talk good enough to save them from a fallen world. Humbling myself to the Father – saying to Him “only you can” – and it liberated me – and it saves them.
When I sent those prayers out, “Save him” – this Father God heard – and He set out to come for me to save each of my sons. Like in Daniel’s story – it was a journey to answer that prayer. He loves us like that – He loves my sons like that.
He came. He helped – and that prayer answered came one night up my drive way, beating its wings up and down, up and down – and as it hit my porch steps – and it brushed against a new prayer being sent out – a similar prayer being sent out – for another son, another teen facing challenges, wanting to leave before it was time.
Long ago God told me about this son – that his mouth would be loosened – and it did – the stuttering stopped. That his ears would be opened – and we learned how he heard differently – that his mind would be freed, (I believe children diagnosed late with things like Central Auditory Processing Disorder or Dyslexia often develop patterns of frustration that need overcoming) – and then he would turn to Him and be healed.
That brush with that prayer going out knocked out the scales that blinded his soul eyes – repentant heart revealed, eyes suddenly selfless seeing and in the seeing grieving. Self-centered emerging selfless”– an answered prayer come home.
The prayer leaving? Another teen, he wanted to check out of high school when he was 18 – and go back to the high school he went to Ky in for 2 years, check in, graduate there and in the process minister to his atheist friends.
A prayer returning brushing up against a prayer leaving.
Just like the sun can shine in a rain downpour, my heart rejoiced and cried at the same time.
Hint: from my blessings list in Butterflies and Beggar’s Ticks: