Not Ready for Our Trip to End…
We had just wrapped up a wonderful, six-day waterfall tour. As we left our AirBnb at Nana’s Farm, in Pikeville, Tennessee, and started our way home on Saturday, September 12, 2020, just before noon, we weren’t quite ready for our adventure to be over. With so many state parks in Tennessee, and us driving through the center of the state, I thought surely there must be some place fun to stop.
I mapped a bunch of state parks online. If we been to that park in the last year or two, a stop wouldn’t have been worth it. But, perhaps we could visit one and refresh a memory that was maybe a few years old.
The idea that made stopping even a thought is that when you drive on I-40 or I-24, you see so many signs for Tennessee State Parks. The signs can be deceiving. It seems like the parks would be right off the highway, but they aren’t. They could be an hour or more drive from the sign.
As I went through the possibilities, sometimes we ended up driving by the exit before I discovered that we were close enough. I didn’t want more than a 20-minute detour off the highway, which meant the parks couldn’t be more than 10 minutes away from the exit.
One Last State Park
Eventually, I discovered Edgar Evins State Park. I remember liking it when we went, and I thought that water was there—but my memory of our time there wasn’t clear. That need for a refresher met our criteria of a place to stop—and it was only a couple minutes each way off the highway, so we decided to go for it.
When we got of the car, we remembered being at this park. It wasn’t where I was remembering, though. I realized later the other park I was remembering with water was actually Tim’s Ford.
But at Edgar Evins, the tower and the giftshop were familiar. We went into the giftshop, and we both got t-shirts of Tennessee State Parks! We were both so excited because we like to get shirts for souvenirs, and we hadn’t seen any that we wanted yet at any of the previous state parks. Seth got a shirt that had all the Tennessee state parks on the back. It was hilarious because when we got home and he was adding to his T-shirt collection, he found the same shirt buried in his drawer. He had never worn the first shirt that we probably bought several years earlier! I got kind of a wine-colored tank top that was on sale that I knew would make it on future trips.
After we were done shopping, we climbed the water tower because according to the trail map, there was water at the park, and we love views of both mountains and water. Seth is a mountain man, and I am a water woman We climbed up and enjoyed the view for a few—it was a great view, and it was a clear day—a win win!
A Treasured “Sign” Returns
The most amazing part of the trip happened on the way down. A butterfly was hovering all around me. It was hot and I was sweating, and I know they are attracted to sweat, but still a close-up, lengthy butterfly visit doesn’t happen all that often. The butterfly first landed on the railing. I put my hand out to see if it would climb on me. It did. It climbed up my left hand and up my arm.
Whenever butterflies land on me, I pay attention. Butterflies are one of my supernatural signs from God. They symbolize metamorphosis and new life. When a butterfly lands on my left hand, I really pay attention. You see, I am a writer. And I am left-handed.
In the past when butterflies have landed on me, it has usually meant that God is about to do something with my writing. I sure hope so! I have been so frustrated having much writing but not yet having a published book other than two anthologies I contributed to—especially since we now own a publishing company! But I know God wanted to encourage me! So thank you, Lord, for sending me such a special sign!
But God wasn’t done. We walked down a couple more flights of stairs, and I kind of stretched my foot out (I was wearing white flip flops, and the butterfly landed on my shoe. As I lifted up my toes, the butterfly nestled under my toes and started to crawl under the upper part of my foot.
Wow, God what does that mean? Does it mean I was providing shelter for it as I took a step? Does it mean that as I move forward, more will join me as the classes I teach. Or perhaps it means that as I ponder each step I take, it means to tread carefully, asking God what I should do along the way.
Does it mean that as I pause and point up to you that you will give me more special signs? Likely it means all of the above. As I gently started to put my toes back down, the butterfly crawled out back onto the top of my foot, and then it stayed between my fourth tow and my pinky toe for a while. As I asked God about this symbolism, I felt like He said that not only will He be with me as I pause and look at Him, but He will also be with me as I move forward, as I take steps. He will be close to my feel and my path.
Praise You God!
I also wondered about the fact that the butterfly was on my ring toe. It said to me that perhaps me going somewhere had to do with my covenant. My earthly covenant is one with my husband. It has been prophesied that we would do something together. The most likes I get on Facebook are always our posts together. It seems as if people enjoy our adventures. I know I sure think they are fun!
A Look Back at Previous Signs
One thing that I love about God is that He repeats patterns so that we know that He is speaking to us. The last time that three butterflies landed on me was August 2, 2013, shortly after I had moved to Franklin from Chicago. At that time, I hadn’t yet met Seth. I remember observing that God was showing me that He was moving me from my fears by helping me tear down the perceived lies (I am alone, I am broke, and I am unhealthy) to seeing the truth: I was having fun with my roommates, that I had a part time freelance writing work with my old company, I was learning to live frugally, and that I was starting to get better habits with exercise.
I sensed instead that He was doing a triple transformation in my life:
- Making me ready for healthy relationships
- Healing me physically, and
- Calling me to my calling
On that day, I was reading Psalm 34.
I sought the Lord and He hears me. He delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed
I prayed: Father, make me ready for a relationship, restore my energy, and establish what you want me to do. I love You Lord. Please direct my steps.
One year later—to the day after the butterfly landing—was the day I got engaged! So, the Lord had indeed made me ready for a healthy relationship with the Lord at the center! By the time I started interacting with Seth, my health and energy was transformed. I had shed 27 pounds and got in the best shape of my life—at 41.! I had looked to the Lord, let Him overcome my fears and shame, and I had become a radiant bride! And He had saved me from all my troubles! Praise you, Lord!
Back to This Adventure
Fast forward to today, just over seven years from those three butterflies landed on me. I have been happily married for six years, I have drafted hundreds of thousands of words for blogs and for my future books, I have helped about 70 authors shape their books, and I have helped about 70 more through online classes. As I write this, I’m getting ready to lead my second writer’s retreat in the mountains for other nature lovers who love the outdoors. What a long way God has brought me.
So, as we look to the future, I wonder what will happen? Will we be in Israel as we had dreamed of? Will our dreams be fulfilled of having a home with beautiful views be fulfilled?
I saw one of those old roommates and told her about this latest butterfly landing. We both dream of moving to that part of Tennessee that is less populated and more entrenched in the natural beauty of the land.
She used to have a cabin in the area not far from where Seth and I were looking out over the lake in the hills that day at Edgar Evins State Park. In fact, Seth and I spent his 50th birthday as well as our 2nd wedding anniversary at her cabin.
It was on that 2nd anniversary trip in 2016 that we actually first visited Edgar Evins. That day we hiked the trails there and had a wonderful time. Seth and I would love to have a home with a view, spectacular like the one we were seeing at the overlook. This week at lunch, my old roommate said that she wanted a place near there once again. I told my friend about the butterflies landing on me there, and about Seth and my housing dreams with view.
We prayed that God would answer our prayers, just like he did for me seven years ago.
- Seth and I bought that home with a view that looks like a cabin in December 2020, in a less populated area, just before the housing market rose in price at an exponential level.
- In 2021, I published my first journal.
- In Spring 2022, I finish a first draft of my second book, which discusses the signs and fulfillments God has used to transform my life. My first two books go together, and God told me I had to write the second before I could move forward with the first. The rest of 2022 and into 2023 will be editing and publishing of both books—stay tuned!