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Butterfly Chrysalises and our Children’s Salvation

The other day I spent 40 minutes watching a butterfly ‘nursery’. A few butterflies had partially emerged from their chrysalises. Some were dangling from their empty former home, occasionally flapping their tiny, awkwardly-shaped wings. Others, already looking like proper butterflies, rested or tried out their long new tongues,* curling and uncurling them repeatedly.

The most amazing, however, were a few of the chrysalises themselves. Outwardly they were the same as their neighbors, some brown, some green, some small, some large. But what was special about these few is that they occasionally began to move. Silently, as though touched by some invisible hand, they swayed back and forth a few times. Then they hung still again. Some of them did it only once in the time I watched, and others repeated this at random intervals.

Obviously something was going on inside them, something completely invisible, something mysterious involved in the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. Some miracle that only God truly understands.

A few weeks ago I came across the idea of mothers being described as ‘fruit inspectors’ **looking for the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our children, and I got the feeling of constant, anxious, yes, even frantic poking at the fruit to see if it was maturing. What apple or peach could survive such treatment and still mature properly? Can people?

What if someone had started poking at one of these swaying chrysalises, perhaps making a tiny hole to peer inside? Would a fully formed butterfly have emerged after such interference?

The Bible commands us to tell our children about him throughout everyday life. (Deut 6:4-9). It commands us to enculturate our children in the culture of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). It points out that even a child is known by his actions, by whether he does what is pure and right (Prov 20:11). But nowhere does it command or commend anxious prodding and poking into our children’s souls.

Just as we do not understand what is going on inside a swaying chrysalis, so we do not know God’s inner workings for growing faith in our children. The Bible often points out that God acts in ways beyond our understanding, and it also reminds us that he is good and he is loving. He knows what he is doing—our role is but to trust and obey. Anxious, fruit-inspecting mothers with frantic or nervous agendas can cause harm. Loving, obedient, trusting parents will, by God’s grace, do good in the lives of their children.

May God bless us all as we seek to obey him in our roles as parents, and may he give us the trust to believe that he does do what is best. May he preserve us from anxiety and instead fill us with the peace that passes all understanding.

…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6, 7

Surely, the God who routinely turns caterpillars into butterflies can do all things.


*Its tongue is called a proboscis, and you can read more about the complexity and unexpected features of both the proboscis and butterfly behavior, some of which we have actually witnessed over the years.

** This was mentioned in the book Broken Pieces by Simonetta Carr; for more information about the book, read my review.

These butterflies were at the Canadian Museum of Nature; I also wrote about our previous visit to the Butterfly Exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

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This may be linked to Inspire Me Monday, Christian Homemaking, Friendship Friday, Make My Saturday Sweet.


  1. Carol says:

    Loved your thoughts here, Annie Kate! Insightful & wise thoughts. X

  2. Annie Kate says:

    Thank you, Carol!

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