//I was a sophomore in High School when my body started revolting against me in very physical ways.
I was enjoying my time in school, growing comfortable with new friends, my classes and my ‘teenage’ routine. Mid year, I began experiencing very intense stomach pains. At first, I thought I just had a bug or a flu. But after a few weeks, I knew it had to be more. I’d be in the middle of class, hanging out with friends, or driving and I would be overcome with nausea and have to leave. Months went by, and there were no answers to why this was happening.
Everything I ate made my stomach hurt. Eventually, I dropped 11 pounds because I had no appetite and feared I would just feel miserable if I ate. This constant pain started taking a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As months went by, I started developing anxiety any time my stomach would hurt. Sheer panic would come over me. Shaky hands, clammy body, shallow breathing and a racing pulse would send me bolting from wherever I was at so I could escape to a place and calm down. //
I didn’t hang out with my friends much. I felt like no one understood. I felt weak, drained, isolated and defeated. Ever more so, I felt like God wasn’t near me. Fear was my closest companion, and I couldn’t escape it no matter how hard I tried. I hated going back to the doctor over and over, running tests that made me want to gag, yet still receiving the same answers: “We don’t know.” I wrestled so much with feeling God’s presence in the middle of a season where I was fearful all of the time.
One evening, I had a heart to heart with one of my mentors who encouraged me to do something that honestly was a little weird to me. She asked me to think of a symbol, a sign if you will, that made me think of God’s love. I thought about it. There it was.
After I told her my “sign”, she said that whenever I saw a butterfly to remember that God was with me and that He loved me. I was a little skeptical. But she told me, “Just watch. It’ll blow your mind.”
Days later I could not believe it. In the middle of winter, butterflies were showing up everywhere.
I felt sick one morning and couldn’t make it to school on time. I was walking from my car into the building, late, on the brink of tears feeling so defeated. All of the sudden, a group of 4-5 butterflies surrounded me and flew with me all the way to the front doors of the school.
“I’m with you.”
Another day, I had to get a nasty stomach test done and I was petrified. Sitting in the x-ray office alone, I was overcome with peace when the nurse walked out, her scrubs covered in butterflies.
“I’m with you here, too.”
There were other days I would be sitting outside, spending time with God, and butterflies would simply be wandering around the backyard and I would remember, “He’s with me. He’s not going to leave.”
A simple thing like “picking a sign” gave me a glimmer of hope in a very dark time in my life.
Do you have a sign? If you don’t, what will yours be?