In my extended family, we have a tradition that when each cousins turns 16 there is a ‘Coming of Age’ ceremony/celebration. It is our official “right of passage” into adulthood within the family. The occasion is different for the girls and guys. Girls get whisked away by grandma, the aunts, and girl cousins over sixteen (and those who married into the family); guys are with my grandpa, the uncles, and guy cousins. No one under the age of 16 [really] knows what occurs on these occasions as secrecy is expected from everyone involved. (Background)
On my Coming of Age, I received a lovely, colorful picture of a butterfly my Aunt Karen painted for me. I adore this painting, and it hung on my bedroom wall for quite a few months until the frame broke. This Christmas my parents had it custom framed for me as a gift. No other present under the tree this year could have given me such joy.
My Aunt Karen used this illustration of a butterfly to encourage me to look at the changes occurring in my life–both exciting and challenging–as beautiful and purposeful means of God to shape me into a young woman unto His glory.
Aunt Karen was an absolute perfectionist when it came to her artwork, but in this painting she explained to me that she purposefully made the lines of the butterfly jagged and the patterns and shapes slightly different to remind me that, while I am not perfect, God makes me beautiful in spite of my defects through His son Jesus. She also reminded me that in the pain and the struggle of change that “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can each lean on Him in the midst of life-changes. He is our solid foundation that holds fast, our friend who will never leave or forsake us, the One we can cast all our cares upon because He loves us.”
My Aunt Karen is no longer here to see me grow into a woman, but her encouragement, her example and her painting are with me daily.
The picture can’t really do it justice. Sorry!