Like a butterfly, Widows experience our own “metamorphosis”, becoming new creatures, but what is also similar, is the transformation that occurs in “stages.” These stages are uncomfortable and even painful but in the end, a beautiful butterfly emerges, soaring high and rising above all of the layers that it had to shed along the journey.
Here is a comparison and breakdown of the four stages of the butterfly and widows.
First Stage: The Egg
As with a butterfly, widows start out in their grief walk as tiny eggs which are in every essence, quite fragile. Some widows give the appearance of having this hard outer shell of a super widow, but when we surrender to the grief, we become as delicate baby eggs, requiring nourishment, protection and supervision until we are ready for the next phase of life.
Interesting Fact: Each tiny egg is a circular or oval shape that can easily roll away and get lost, misplaced or crushed.
Personal note* Baby “eggs” in widowhood need to stay together with other like-minded “eggs” and under the protective authority of their special grief coach covering until they have matured.
Second Stage: The Larva (Caterpillar)
When the egg hatches, consequently, a butterfly does not emerge, but rather a fuzzy and peculiar insect in the similitude of a worm. This furry little creature stumbles and inches its way along as it consistently grows and expands. During some research, it was discovered that in this phase, the caterpillar spends most of its time eating. In the grief/growth walk a widow needs to be with a counselor or coach who knows what widowhood is all about or in a group with other widows feeding on their experience as a widow. As a widow walks the road of grief they find that certain habits, places, people, and things no longer fit comfortably in their life. They can no longer digest them. Like the growing caterpillar, a widow is “molting” which is a process during this phase when the caterpillar sheds its outgrown skin.
Interesting Fact: A caterpillar will go through the molting process several times while it is growing.
Personal Note* During her grief walk, a widow is constantly shedding layers of her former self. She must shed the anger, the resentment, the depression, the fear, grief, loneliness and anything or anybody that would hinder her from moving forward.
Third Stage: Pupa (Chrysalis)
During the Pupa or Chrysalis stage, the Caterpillar has come into maturity, reaching its fullest length and weight. They become so full that it is now required for them to build a protective “shell” called a cocoon so that they can prepare for the next phase of life. There are times in the life of a widow when she has to “shut in” and go into a “cocoon” in order to hear from God. That secret dwelling place is where we find shelter, strength, comfort, healing and deliverance. Our spiritual “cocoon” is a place where God takes all of those things that we have shed and replaces them with His word, His creative works, His Holy Spirit and His love.
Interesting fact: About a day before the adult butterfly emerges, the chrysalis (of most species) becomes transparent.
Personal note* A widow not only has to shed layers and layers of her former self, but God may require her to become transparent so that she can be a living example to other widows.
Fourth Stage: Adult Butterfly
Inside of the cocoon, the caterpillar goes through a major transformation called “metamorphosis.” As many of you already know, a butterfly in appearance is quite different from a caterpillar, growing wings that are often colorful and beautiful, taking on a whole new shape and form. As the butterfly emerges from the cocoon, its wings are slightly soft and still pressed up against the body. The new creature may not quite be used to its new form and may not even realize that it can fly right away. As the blood begins to pump into the wings, suddenly, the butterfly realizes its capabilities and within hours it will master flying and take off. So, too, will the time come when a widow has come to the end of her grief/growth walk and it is time for her to break forth from that cocoon and soar to higher heights. At this point it’s time for her to pour back into the earth, sow seeds into another widow or mentor/minister to other widows. At this phase stories are shared, ministries are born, and books are birthed.
Interesting fact: There are approximately 28000 species of butterflies worldwide.
Personal Note* We are all uniquely designed, fearfully and wonderfully made, handcrafted by the Master’s hands, varying in gifts, talents and abilities. There is no need for a widow to covet someone else’s “wings” when God has purpose for each and every widow. We all have to work hard to find our new identities and purposes.