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Broken Wings


The teaser for a feature segment on a local TV station promised a story about a monarch butterfly, a meteorologist, and super glue. It worked–I was curious, and I watched the story.

I knew that this is the time of year monarchs are preparing for their migration south. They are enjoying the nectar of the last, ragged zinnias; braving prickly lavender thistles; and resting in the clouds of purple aster blossoms before they fly to Mexico.

Except the butterfly in the news. Her wings weren’t working, and she wasn’t going anywhere.

The meteorologist in this story is also a pilot and has repaired airplane wings, so he has a special set of skills. He carefully glued the butterfly’s wings back together–twice. He and his girlfriend had compassion for the monarch and showed mercy.


What if our wings are broken, and we can’t fly? What if life injures us so badly that we can’t do the things we were created to do? We need someone who knows how to rebuild our lives, someone who knows how to fly, someone with skill, someone with power . . . and lots of super glue.

We need a mighty Savior who is the great Healer.


When John the Baptist’s messengers came to Jesus and asked Him if He was The One (the Messiah), Jesus answered with the prophetic words of Isaiah.

Go back to John and tell him all you have seen and heard here today: how those who were blind can see. The lame are walking without a limp. The lepers are completely healed. The deaf can hear again. The dead come back to life. And the poor are hearing the Good News.   Luke 7:22   TLB


Jesus was The One. The one with the skill, the knowledge, and the power to heal us, body and soul.

In Jesus we find more than just the ability to help us–He wants to help us.

He is gracious and kind and extends mercy and grace to each of us. Even if physical healing isn’t His best plan for us in this world, he offers healing for our sin-damaged souls and compassion to comfort our broken hearts.


But I will restore you to health
    and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord,

Jeremiah 30:17   NIV

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God, pick up the pieces.
Put me back together again.
    Jeremiah 17:14   MSG


 I bless the holy name of God with all my heart.  Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me.   Psalm 103:1,2   TLB

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He forgives all my sins. He heals me. He ransoms me from hell. He surrounds me with loving-kindness and tender mercies.   Psalm 103:3,4   TLB

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He is merciful and tender toward those who don’t deserve it; he is slow to get angry and full of kindness and love.  Psalm 103:8   TLB

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Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.   2 Corinthians 4:17   MSG

So even if your wings are splinted and super-glued together, the Lord is healing you.

You will fly again.


That butterfly in the news story, perched on the woman”s shoulder–do you remember her name?

It’s “Grace.” Her name means “kindness, love, mercy.” The little monarch received mercy and grace, and so can we.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.   Hebrews 4:16   NIV

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All photos (except zinnias) by Barb Briggs


I skim.  I read titles, headlines, and first sentences quickly and go back later to fill in details.  Usually this allows me to summarize a post or an article before reading, but sometimes my first, cursory glance isn’t accurate and has startling results.

Skimming the name of a post featuring a ground beef recipe, I misread the title (“Frugal food – savoury mince”) on Donna Hetzel’s blog, Down to Earth.  I left out the “n,” making the title read “Frugal food–savoury mice” and then went on to see this in the first paragraph:  “This is a good dish that uses a small amount of meat but it’s still very tasty.”  Hmm . . . perhaps a little too frugal for me.

I need to read more carefully.

Sometimes my lack of care in reading titles leads to letters addedPiercing The Fog: How To See Past The Gloom Of Despair in Of Dust and Kings became “Piercing the Frog” in my slapdash scanning.  T E Hanna’s serious commentary on despair and the life of David turned into a puzzling mix in my mind of amphibian cuisine, meat forks, and depression.

I need to skim with more caution.


Recently I saw this news story title:  “Wisconsin Town Uses Explosives on Frozen Creek.”  I misread one word, however, and accidentally turned the The La Crosse Tribune’s story into “Wisconsin Town Uses Expletives on Frozen Creek.”  I presumed it referred to citizens in Wisconsin venting their frustration with a long, cold winter.  Words can be powerful, but I don’t think they’ll have much effect on icy creek beds.

Words really are powerful, though, and we should be careful with them.

A letter or two can make a big difference.

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A few weeks ago we visited a glass house conservatory with a butterfly wing.  Before entering the butterfly area, the docent warned us no plant material was allowed; neither were food and drink, large bags, or strollers.  She explained that we shouldn’t touch or grab the butterflies to prevent their fragile wings from being broken and the scales from being rubbed off.  Unfortunately, some of the butterflies we saw did have damaged wings.

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We also needed to watch where we stepped because the butterflies often sat on the walkway.  Before leaving we were to make sure we had no butterfly hitchhikers.  In short, we needed to be careful.

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Look at the people around you.  Walk carefully; watch where you step.  There are many fragile hearts needing a kind word, a sweet and healing word.  Words are powerful.

Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Proverbs 16:24   NIV

Words are full of power, and we should be full of care and consideration as to when we say them.

The right word at the right time
is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,

Proverbs 25:11   MSG

Words are able to build up hopes or dash down dreams.  Remember the children’s Sunday School song?  “Be careful little mouth what you say.”

Just as a letter or two inaccurately read changed the whole meaning of a story, a single word or two can hurt or discourage.

Speak instead words that encourage, that build up to your family, your friends, the people in your pew at church, the stranger in line at the grocery store.  Speak them to yourself.  Words that comfort, that cheer, that console.

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG

Speak the words of the God who loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), who will never forsake us, who loves us enough to die for us.

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6   NIV

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8   NIV

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My prayer for us all:

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.   Psalm 19:14   NIV

  linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Coffee for Your Heart 150   linking with Holley Gerth

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