Embrace Your Cocoon

Yes…I’ve contemplated suicide. Why, you may ask?

Honestly, there is just something seductive about ending it all when the pain you’re living in becomes unbearably excruciating.  For me, without becoming too transparent, it was an attempt to salvage the last iota of control I felt I had over my life…to control how and when I was going to die.  My apologies…I know this is not a pleasant thought; however, when pain of any variety becomes chronic, it tends to produce this type of negative, destructive thought pattern, even in the strongest of us.  Unfortunately, far too many people fail to make it out of this downward spiral before crashing and going up in flames. I’m so grateful to God for pulling me out of this destructive pattern, into a place of hope and empowerment in Him.  For this reason, I feel compelled to inspire others, and to share this hope with everyone I possibly can during my tenure on Earth.

During my darkest hours, my greatest encouragement has often come from choosing to change my perspective, in order to see God in everything.  I’ll be the first to admit, this can be very challenging.  However, in my experience, God always leaves trails of bread crumbs that feed our hopes, if our hearts remain open to His voice.

An example of such bread crumbs happened during one of my nature hikes not long ago. As I was entering a shaded section of my trail, I found myself under a beautiful canopy of trees with lush, low hanging branches.  As I looked around to breath it all in, I noticed what seemed to be a cocoon hanging from a tree branch.  I couldn’t tell if a butterfly was actually inside the cocoon, but it was quite the spectacle.  I immediately started to wonder about what actually takes place inside this silken structure, so I decided to do a little research.

As nature would have it, butterflies are actually born caterpillars, whose primary job is to eat (I like that job).  Although the caterpillar is unassuming, and to many people, somewhat repulsive, it’s born with everything it needs to become a butterfly.  According to ScientificAmerican.com, caterpillars are born with “imaginal discs” which ultimately become butterfly parts, such as wings, eyes, and legs.  One may think this transformation from caterpillar to butterfly is a rapid one, but the converse is true.  Caterpillars undergo a series of molts, before spinning and entering the cocoon.  As the caterpillar eats, and eats, and eats some more, it grows.  The larger it grows, it literally becomes too big for its skin, and has to shed, or molt.  This happens several times before the little guy enters the cocoon for the big reveal.

I believe the agony that we feel is our soul’s way of telling us that it’s time to molt or grow again.  It just may be a signal that you’ve gotten to big for where you currently are.  The more we grow, the more we must shed and leave behind our old restrictive skin. Everything that we have experienced in our past (good and “seemingly” bad) is meant to be used as fuel to become bigger, better, and stronger.

To me, the most fascinating aspect of the cocoon experience is what happens inside. Hidden from public view, the caterpillar molts for the last time forming the cocoon, or chrysalis, and there is where it literally digests itself.  Yes…the caterpillar digests its previous body in preparation to become something spectacular.  It spins the cocoon to encapsulate the digestive process, and thus begins the metamorphosis.

Remember those “imaginal discs” I mentioned earlier?  Well, they are the only things that survive the digestion process.  While in the cocoon, these discs are pre-programmed to interact with each other to miraculously form the new symmetrical butterfly structures.

God has placed components of our future greatness inside of us, but we must die to our old nature before those components become visible.  We’re encouraged to abide in Christ (John 15:4), so that He can give us the necessary strength to commit a figurative suicide of sorts, as we slay the carnal and inferior nature that keeps us bound to the ground.  We simply cannot do this on our own.  We were not destined to be bound to the lowly estate of ground-living.  We were destined to become new creatures, able to fly above our circumstances, and overcome our limitations.  2 Corinthians 5:17 states:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

According to Butterflyschool.org, once the butterfly emerges from its cocoon after about 10-15 days, it doesn’t just spread its wings and take flight.  It first practices flight drills by flapping its wings to dry them out, and to build strength in its primary flight muscles.

It takes special muscles and skills to manage success.  The degree of success we experience greatly depends upon what we eat during our “caterpillar” years.  Too often, people try to fly before they’re ready.  Their muscles haven’t been properly developed, which makes their flight awkward, sloppy, and short-lived.

What are you doing to develop your muscles?  What books are you reading?  What are you watching?  Who are your mentors?  Are you surrounded by people and things that feed and nourish you?

Are you simply waiting to die, or are you dying to live again?


BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

5 Life Lessons I Learned From Rudolph

DreamWorks Animation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The classic holiday special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new DVD and Blu-ray, featuring brand-new bonus features. It’s available Nov. 4, 2014. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer(c) and (r) The Rudolph Co., L.P. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated program(c) Classic Media, LLC. All rights reserved. (PRNewsFoto/DreamWorks Animation)

  1. When life gets dark, that’s when you’ll understand why God gave you a shiny nose.
  2. Although others may laugh and call you names, eventually someone will come along that actually likes your glow…so let it shine.
  3. You will never “go down in history” until you learn to market YOUR mystery…you have that nose for a reason, so find out why.
  4. Eventually, you have to grow up, and stop playing little reindeer games.  So what, they won’t let you play…create your own game with your own rules.
  5. Finally, embrace what makes you different…you just may end up leading the whole darn sleigh because of it.

 

BE

I am Brian Evans, and as always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Photo Credits: Image The Most Famous Reindeer of All Celebrates His 50th Anniversary on Television… — GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ —

 

Autumn: Acrostic Poem

Autumn breeze and Autumn leaves

Unite in august harmonies

Towering trees in tailored suits

Uniquely clothed in Heaven’s hues

My favorite time of year is here

New season brings new joy and cheer


BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Serpent Killers

While indulging my curiosity about a particular biological topic of interest, I recently encountered a startling statistic.  According to the World Health Organization, it is reported (read here) that an estimated 20,000 people worldwide are killed by snake bites per year.  This information immediately piqued my interest, which of course spawned more research.  Even more fascinating to me was what I found out about how snake venom kills its victims.  Without getting too cerebral, our bodies are not equipped to metabolize the plethora of toxic proteins contained in venom.  One bite from a venomous serpent, can deliver enough neurotoxin to paralyze the muscles of our respiratory system, ultimately causing death by suffocation.

Though this is true, there are cases where people have survived snake bites.  Much progress has been made in the field of toxicology, as it relates to creating anti-venom.  By using the very thing that causes death, scientists have been able to formulate a remedy for what would otherwise be a lethal snake bite.

Though envenoming could mean certain death for us humans, amazingly, there are other species of animals that are immune to these deadly attacks.  I like to call them the “serpent-killers.”  You may have seen some of the viral videos of the honey badger, and how incredibly tough this dude is.  Snakes, bees, and many other vicious carriers of venom have little to no effect on this freak of nature.  This guy is so bad, he is able to withstand a deadly snakebite, then kill and consume the entire snake from head to tail.

How you may ask?  The secret is in its blood.

According to a study (read here) conducted by evolutionary biologist, Danielle H. Drabeck, the honey badger’s blood prevents the neurotoxins found in snake venom from binding to the receptors in the muscles.  This prevents paralysis of the respiratory system enabling the honey badger to metabolize the venom just like any other substance.

Of course, my mental wheels started to turn the more I digested this information.  Coming from a more spiritual slant, we all have been envenomed, because of sin.  It all started with a lethal dose of sin’s venom injected into humanity’s bloodstream by the initial “bite” from Satan, “that old serpent”~~(Revelation 12:9), in the Garden of Eden.  Satan and the seed of the woman (you and I) have been in an epic battle ever since.  Even though you and I didn’t experience the actual “bite” in the garden, because we were born in sin, we are still subject to sin’s venom.  The enemy awaits our entry into the earth via birth to try to envenom us as soon as he can with the pain of traumatic experiences and disappointments.  He knows that this will likely cause the paralysis and fatal abortion of our dreams and precious potential.

Much like an anti-venom, Jesus came to block the effects of sin’s venom in our lives.  The Bible says:

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3, KJV)

When Jesus came to Earth, the Bible records that he came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.  God took the very thing that kills us, and created the anti-venom.  Jesus was bitten by the enemies of sin and death so that his perfect blood would contain the life-saving antibodies necessary to heal us of the venom that was coursing through our beings.  When we are born again by accepting the finished work of Jesus, we immediately receive a spiritual blood transfusion.  We are now immune to the effects of sin in our lives.

Our response to all these things, should be a sincere devotion to Jesus, and a commitment to honor God in the spirit of obedience.  When we honor God by seeking Him and His kingdom first, I believe God will honor us.  We are victorious through Christ who loves us, and we have been given power over all the power of the enemy, according to Luke’s Gospel:

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19, KJV)

We have overcome Satan and his demons by the power in the name of Jesus.  One of my favorite scriptures is found in the book of Revelation:

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:7-11, KJV)

Through the blood of Jesus and by the words that we speak, we are born “serpent-killers” through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are VICTORIOUS!

AMEN!


BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Scar Stories: Revised

How many scars do you have? Have you ever taken the time to count them? Maybe you have one on your knee from the time you fell learning how to ride your bike. Maybe you have one on your hand from the time you were burned cooking dinner for that very special occasion. I find it interesting that every scar has a story attached to it. I’ve never talked to a person that had a scar magically appear out of nowhere without them knowing exactly when and how it came to be. In most cases, the stories behind our scars carry a shameful connotation, with a certain level of trauma associated with them. That’s why we can always recant our scar stories as if the event had just happened, although years may have since gone by.

Flesh wounds usually tend to heal pretty quickly, and in some cases, once the wound heals, it barely leaves a scar. On the other hand, emotional wounds tend to cut deeper, hurt longer, and bleed heavier than the wounds that mar our flesh. Some people even reach an emotional impasse when it comes to the traumatic events that caused the wound in the first place. Growth and progression can even be halted as a result of emotional pain, fear, and anger (among other issues). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “scar” as a mark left (as in the skin) by the healing of injured tissue. I’m willing to say that this is how we most commonly think of scars. However, there is another definition:

“A lasting moral or emotional injury”

Our hearts are designed to be the seat of our emotions. From our hearts, come our life “issues” and how we perceive our world; this, in turn, determines the truth that we live in. In essence, our emotions tend to color our perceptions about life, about others, and about ourselves. Part of maturing in Christ involves knowing how to separate our emotions from the vital decisions that we must make on a daily basis. Whether it’s responding to a family crisis, or responding to a co-worker, we must constantly work to keep the emotional skies of our hearts pristine and clear. That’s why the Bible states in Proverbs 4:23:

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

Even in this, however, things can sometimes blindside us emotionally. Unlike our physical bodies, that begin the healing/immune response immediately upon injury (i.e.-clotting), sometimes our hearts don’t even realize when we’ve been injured emotionally. Often, it’s not until we’ve had time to process a particular series of events do we begin to feel “some kinda way.”

Beloved, I feel an urgency to encourage you right here…right now. Lift your head up. You are NOT what happened to you…you are who you choose to become. As you’re reading these words, I speak healing into your life today. As people of faith, we believe and receive by speaking…so what are you saying?
Yes…your wounds will heal. Yes, they may leave a scar, but not all scars are bad.

A few weeks ago, as I was checking in at the front desk of my gym for a workout session, a conversation ensued between myself and one of the trainers on staff. She was a tall, athletic woman with a jovial personality. After our initial introduction, she told me that she would probably ask for my name a few more times because she didn’t have any short-term memory. Initially, I thought she was being mildly facetious, so I chuckled at her remark. That’s when she repeated what she had said initially, and proceeded to inform me that she was a brain cancer survivor. “Some years ago,” she said, “I underwent surgery to remove a tumor from my brain, which obliterated my short-term memory.”

As she was telling me her story, she proudly turned her back to me, and parted her hair to reveal a scar that traveled from the top of her head down to the base of her neck. That’s when she told me that her scar is a reminder that she survived what should have killed her.

I was taken aback a little bit, because I wasn’t expecting that to be her story. Just looking at her, I would have never imagined that she had experienced that. This set off all kinds of bells and whistles in my mind, and gave me a whole new perspective on the things that we suffer. So, I say to you, your scars are a sign of healing. What once was a gaping, gushing wound, is now proof positive that you’re a survivor. Our scars tell a story of past pain and trauma, but they also testify to the fact that the pain no longer has power over us. Never allow the shame of what happened to you offset the glory that shall be. Your story innately contains a healing salve for others.

It may be true that some scars carry a shameful story, but some scars are salvific, because they bring salvation and healing to others. Where would we be if Jesus had never been scarred? Think about the scars in His hands and His feet….the wound in His side.  Not every scar is a mark of shame; some are considered a badge of honor. They tell a story of survival, salvation, and grace…of what could have happened, but didn’t. It matters not the story behind your scars, just be encouraged and know that you survived what tried to kill you, and now you have a story to tell…

So, what will your story be?


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Scar Stories

How many scars do you have? Have you ever taken the time to count them? Maybe you have one on your knee from the time you fell learning how to ride your bike. Maybe you have one on your hand from the time you were burned cooking dinner for that very special occasion. I find it interesting that every scar has a story attached to it. I’ve never talked to a person that had a scar magically appear out of nowhere without them knowing exactly when and how it came to be. In most cases, the stories behind our scars carry a shameful connotation, with a certain level of trauma associated with them. That’s why we can always recant our scar stories as if the event had just happened, although years may have since gone by.

Flesh wounds usually tend to heal pretty quickly, and in some cases, once the wound heals, it barely leaves a scar. On the other hand, emotional wounds tend to cut deeper, hurt longer, and bleed heavier than the wounds that mar our flesh. Some people even reach an emotional impasse when it comes to the traumatic events that caused the wound in the first place. Growth and progression can even be halted as a result of emotional pain, fear, and anger (among other issues). Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “scar” as a mark left (as in the skin) by the healing of injured tissue. I’m willing to say that this is how we most commonly think of scars. However, there is another definition:

“A lasting moral or emotional injury”

Our hearts are designed to be the seat of our emotions. From our hearts, come our life “issues” and how we perceive our world; this, in turn, determines the truth that we live in. In essence, our emotions tend to color our perceptions about life, about others, and about ourselves. Part of maturing in Christ involves knowing how to separate our emotions from the vital decisions that we must make on a daily basis. Whether it’s responding to a family crisis, or responding to a co-worker, we must constantly work to keep the emotional skies of our hearts pristine and clear. That’s why the Bible states in Proverbs 4:23:

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life”

Even in this, however, things can sometimes blindside us emotionally. Unlike our physical bodies, that begin the healing/immune response immediately upon injury (i.e.-clotting), sometimes our hearts don’t even realize when we’ve been injured emotionally. Often, it’s not until we’ve had time to process a particular series of events do we begin to feel “some kinda way.”

Beloved, I feel an urgency to encourage you right here…right now. Lift your head up. You are NOT what happened to you…you are who you choose to become. As you’re reading these words, I speak healing into your life today. As people of faith, we believe and receive by speaking…so what are you saying?
Yes…your wounds will heal. Yes, they may leave a scar, but not all scars are bad.

A few weeks ago, as I was checking in at the front desk of my gym for a workout session, a conversation ensued between myself and one of the trainers on staff. She was a tall, athletic woman with a jovial personality. After our initial introduction, she told me that she would probably ask for my name a few more times because she didn’t have any short-term memory. Initially, I thought she was being mildly facetious, so I chuckled at her remark. That’s when she repeated what she had said initially, and proceeded to inform me that she was a brain cancer survivor. “Some years ago,” she said, “I underwent surgery to remove a tumor from my brain, which obliterated my short-term memory.”

As she was telling me her story, she proudly turned her back to me, and parted her hair to reveal a scar that traveled from the top of her head down to the base of her neck. That’s when she told me that her scar is a reminder that she survived what should have killed her.

I was taken aback a little bit, because I wasn’t expecting that to be her story. Just looking at her, I would have never imagined that she had experienced that. This set off all kinds of bells and whistles in my mind, and gave me a whole new perspective on the things that we suffer. So, I say to you, your scars are a sign of healing. What once was a gaping, gushing wound, is now proof positive that you’re a survivor. Our scars tell a story of past pain and trauma, but they also testify to the fact that the pain no longer has power over us. Never allow the shame of what happened to you offset the glory that shall be. Your story innately contains a healing salve for others.

It may be true that some scars carry a shameful story, but some scars are salvific, because they bring salvation and healing to others. Where would we be if Jesus had never been scarred? Think about the scars in His hands and His feet….the wound in His side. Not every scar is a mark of shame; some are considered a badge of honor. They tell a story of survival, salvation, and grace…of what could have happened, but didn’t. It matters not the story behind your scars, just be encouraged and know that you survived what tried to kill you, and now you have a story to tell…

So, what will your story be?


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Lullaby

Silver sun and platinum skies

remind my eyes to see

Oh, what I wouldn’t give

to be a bird in flight

in unseen winds

whistling melodies from heaven.

Where does the wind hurry off to

as he tickles the leaves?

Trees blush as he rushes by

trying to make it home before the sun sets

and the street lamps come on

We seem to have lost our sight

blinded by artificial light

Our minds refuse rest

shunning sweet sleep

Foreign to us is life’s wonder

The stars of Sagittarius

and the twinkle of Orion

God’s galaxy

has been hijacked

by Samsung’s Galaxy,

iPads, iPhones, and iWatches

as our eye watches

what can never bring us true sight-

true light

So I choose to turn it all off

and fade to black

I listen to sweet nothings

whispered in my soul;

A lullaby written just for me by the setting sun

 


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

A Piece of God–Mother’s Day 2015

This poem is dedicated to my mother, Gale Evans.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!!!

 

When life is dark and there’s no sign of day

I feel for God in hopes He’ll light my way

It’s difficult to see how far I’ve trod

But in you I always see the light of God

 

When happy thoughts and memories flood my heart

I think about the things you did impart

You sacrificed so I could have a chance

To make my mark and boldly take my stance

 

Your love has been a rock that’s tried and true

As for holding things together, you’re the glue

I’d never be the man I am today

If not but for your love and God’s great grace

 

I often think about the times I’ve failed

The moments where it seemed my hopes had sailed

I suddenly saw before I lost all faith

In you God placed Himself upon display

 

Mother, you are my  gift from God alone

More valuable than any precious stone

Whenever I can’t see what’s pure or true

I’ll always have a piece of God in you

 

© 2015 Brian Evans. All rights reserved


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

 

Morning Rain

Leaves

Spring rains fall swiftly

as  the green leaves sweat rain drops-

The earth’s thirst is quenched

 

© 2015 Brian Evans. All rights reserved


 

BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

Where Roads Once Were

This poem was inspired by a chance sighting of two couples during one of my daily lunch breaks.  One couple was visibly in love as they were engaged in an embrace during their lunch date.  Moments later, in the same vicinity, I witnessed another couple that seemed to contrast the first in every way, as a public argument ensued between them.  The contrast was quite poetic as I pondered the journey from one end of the love spectrum to the other.  The following is the resulting muse.

There once was a road named “Forever”

traversed by love-ladened drifters

burning with blissful abandon

entranced by the fragrant figment

of a fairy-tale ending

Their fingers intertwined

into a lover’s knot

reflecting the contents of a lover’s heart

The road so smooth

The path so clear

No cracks, no bumps, no potholes near

But lovers become strangers

as the sands of time

turn the “tic” of bliss

into the “tock” of burden

the pant…

of…

passion…

slows

The road named “Forever” dead ends

neglected by the feet of fidelity

Streets of gold

fade to dirt roads

fraught with the souls of arguments

that died in antiquity

being conjured up repeatedly

now haunt the contemporary

Love whispered in its infancy

“i’ll never hurt” you

“i’ll always love” you

But as love grows older

it tends to grow colder

shouting over and over

“YOU NEVER LOVED” me

“YOU ALWAYS HURT” me

and before hands can heal the wounds

words wound again

siphoning fresh blood from year-old scars

The pain decays but never really dies

as the golden vow lies

in the dirt

where roads once were

 

© 2015 Brian Evans.  All rights reserved


BE

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill. See you soon.

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living