Friday, July 24, 2009

Do You Have The Butterfly Effect?

Story By: Lisa Petrarca

As a little girl my sister & I loved to catch the “black furry caterpillars.” We would get a shoe box, punch dozens of air holes in the top. Then it was time to scour around the neighborhood looking for all the d├ęcor. Lots of broken tree branches with bright green leaves still attached, Small twigs, grass, and a little dirt. We wanted our new pet to feel right at home in his new environment.
Finding the caterpillar was another adventure. This process could take days, sometimes weeks, but we never failed to catch our “pet.” We took it home and with a sense of pride, presented it to our mom, who promptly replied, “That better not get out of the shoebox or it’s the last time you’ll ever have one!”

We would play with our little fuzzy pet daily. We even took him on bike rides, carefully placing the “home” in the basket and taking it out to show our friends. One day, not long after we had it, we went to pull out our little fur ball, but it wasn’t there. In its place was a small green pouch, hanging beneath the tree branch. Our "pet" had made a cocoon, and was undergoing a new transformation.

Two weeks went by as we waited for our caterpillar to change. It was frustrating; we were impatient, checking the box daily; knowing that once it had changed forms, we'd have to let it go. It was a strange mixture of emotions, sad to give up our new friend, but excited to see the change.

The day finally came...lifting the corner of the box, to peak inside...bright orange and black wings fluttered. With a squeal of delight, I ran to tell my sister. We gently carried the box outside, preparing to let it free. We counted in unison, “1..2...3!” Opening the lid...it burst out, fluttering up, lingering in front of us for a moment, as we gazed at its beauty, then higher and higher until it was out of sight.


In our lives, many of us are like my pet caterpillar, stuck in our everyday box. We have made a comfortable home there, however, we are made for more than what we are currently living. We have a bigger purpose, something that is greater than we can imagine.

We slowly began the painful process of sitting inside our cocoons. Each of our cocoons look different, just like caterpillars. Your transformations are happening under the disguise of difficult times. You may be jobless, sick, hurting, lonely, unfulfilled, grieving, fearful, angry, sad, or worried...we all have cocoons. We need to realize that during this process, God is right beside us, carrying us safely through our transformation. He will help us when we cry out to Him...moving us ever so gently towards whom we are supposed to be. We need to be patient, this change cannot happen overnight. We need to shed our “old skin” and with faith, patience, prayer and time, He will help us to eventually emerge as the butterfly, brilliant, beautiful and free...knowing how to fly because of complete faith. You are fulfilling God’s will and true purpose for your life. You have become the person that God intended you to be!
He says, “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket. In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud.
Psalms 81:6, 7

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17, 18

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12

Monday, July 20, 2009

God Can You Hear Me?

TRUE STORY & Pictures By: Lisa Petrarca
Yesterday on a brisk, windy, sunny day we took our dog Allie to the beach. This is always a very special, joyous day for her. She is a Siberian Husky. When you own a husky you're told to never let them off their leash. They have a natural inborn instinct to run. Over the years we have slowly trained her. On our beach visits we let her off the leash. She runs a little ways, jumping, sniffing and playing and then always stops, looks back and waits for us to catch up to her.

This particular day seemed no different than others before it. We strolled along the white, long stretch of sand. The chill of the wind was stinging our faces, as Allie frolicked in the water, chasing dogs and birds. Allie stopped and waited every so often just as she had been trained.

The sun was lowering behind a low patch of fluffy, cotton white clouds, signaling an end to our day. Approaching the part of the beach that we attach Allie to her leash, she abruptly turned and began running the opposite direction. We cried out, "Allie, Allie...STOP, come back here!" She continued to run, farther and farther. Our cries soon becoming muffled, lost in the pounding crash of the waves, beating against the sand.

We continued to walk in the direction she was running. We were certain she would eventually stop, look back and dash towards us. She began to appear as though she was a mirage, to far away to tell if it was really her. I began to run, worried that she might scale the steep cliff and run into the heavy, rush hour traffic on Pacific Coast Highway.

She had slowed down, but was still very far ahead. She now started to approach the few people on the beach, a woman at first, and then a couple. Each time she would walk away. She appeared to realize that she was lost. Walking away from the couple, with no one else around, she stood alone in the middle of the beach, a long isolated view in front of her. I began to get closer as she stood in one place. Her head was faced up towards the orange, red & yellow sky of the setting sun. She was howling, loud piercing cries, crying out because she was scared and lost. She had gone too far and now realized her mistake.



Out of breath, I started to walk, passing a couple that was staring at Allie. The wife looked at me with large, concerned eyes, "Oh, she's crying...she thinks she's lost." Finally close enough for her to hear me I shouted, "Allie, come here, I'm right here!" She quickly stopped her howl, snapped her head down, stared frozen for a moment and sprinted towards me. Her eyes squinting through the blowing wind, tongue hanging out of her mouth, tail wagging, and wait a minute...is that a smile? Can dogs smile? It sure looked like it to me. Reaching me, she jumped up on me and kissed me.

This story sadly represents our walk with the Lord. We are safely beside him, protected, loved and happy. All of a sudden something catches our attention. It looks fun, challenging, exciting...our mind starts to run. Next our body begins to chase after it also. We are going full speed in the wrong direction. Getting caught up in the moment, enjoying our fleshly, worldly desires.

The Lord is calling us to come back. He wants to protect us. We have gotten too far away. We no longer hear his cries. They are drowned out by the loud crashing waves of this world. Pride, vanity, money, pornography, sex, drugs and alcohol...we are trapped in the middle of their false allure.

Never finding the happiness we had hoped for, our life begins to fall apart around us. We stand alone on the long, lonely, isolated stretch of sand. Crying, calling out to the Lord, "Where are you Heavenly Father? I need you. I'm so scared and alone. Please come and help me."

He is there waiting for you to call Him. He wants to bring you to the safety of his loving and forgiving protection. Just call out to him, he will hear you. You are never out of his sight. He is waiting for you to stop running. Just like huskies, we have a natural instinct to run after the things of this world. These things only give us fleeting, momentary pleasure. Followed by our guilt, unhappiness and self-loathing. Stop running and look to the Lord for peace, shelter, comfort, love and complete happiness. He is waiting for you.

"Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest of silver for you. Surely you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fullfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. When men are brought low and you say, "Lift them up!" then he will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, through the cleanness of your hands."
Job 22:21-30

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's Only 10 Minutes!

By: Lisa Petrarca

Everyday I start the morning out with a quick Bible study and prayer. At first this was difficult. Trying to add one more thing into my schedule was something I didn't want to do. But I needed to change my way of thinking. I wasn't adding one more thing...I was actually adding the ONLY thing that was important!

Everything else soon became easier because I turned my day, time, problems, decisions and safety over to my Heavenly Father each morning. My days became easier to deal with. I seemed to have more time, energy and patience throughout my day. That one simple decision to start my morning off by giving it to the Lord was a blessing on my life.

Priorities need to be analyzed and we need to remember that our life here is only temporary. We need to focus on what will bring us eternal happiness. By doing this, we actually can change our earthly situations.

Start today! Put your Bible on your night stand. Set your alarm ten minutes earlier than usual. As soon as it goes off, reach over, grab your Bible and see what the Lord wants to help you with today!

FEELING SHIPWRECKED?

SCRIPTURE:

"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"
Jeremiah 32:27

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3

HE WILL RAISE YOUR SAILS & GET YOU BACK IN THE RACE TO WIN THE PRIZE FOR THAT WHICH HE HAS CALLED YOU!