On a blustery but bright April morning on a beach somewhere on the coast of north-east England, I looked down and noticed a caterpillar in the sand, close to where I was sitting. As my eyes glanced a little further past it, I saw another, then another and after having scanned all angles around me, I quickly realised I was surrounded by caterpillars. Apart from being a little stressed about the proximity of these creepies to my skin, in the moment I recognised this was a pretty unique occurrence: the first (and to date, last) in my life, in fact. Soon after the moment had passed though, I didn’t think anything more of it.
Fast forward three months and I found myself on another beach, this time in Wales. I was volunteering at a young peoples’ summer mission where every day of two weeks we did activities on the sand. This time, there were no caterpillars in sight, only butterflies and for the duration of the camp, I was surrounded by them. Every day, wherever I went, butterflies would find, follow and flutter around me, sometimes landing on my arm or head, with extraordinary frequency. To top it all off, towards the end of our trip whilst sitting in a remote 19th century church for Sunday service, I looked up to see, some 10 feet in the air and illuminated by a beam of light and dancing dust streaming in from the stain-glass windows, an unusually large, solitary butterfly, hovering above me, in seemingly slow-motion. At some point in the midst of these extraordinary butterfly encounters, my mind rewound to the caterpillars in the sand and it’s then that I had the revelation that the Lord was speaking to me through these experiences. He was clearly speaking a promise He had previously given to me – that the days of the caterpillar were over and a new day of the butterfly was arriving. For me this was a profoundly weighty, life-altering kind of word because it was releasing tangible hope of freedom and healing from years of anxiety and depression.
If the prophetic is about hearing (then partnering with) the ‘now’ word of the Lord, then this was a significant marker in the beginning of my journey of realising that I am prophetic. Before we ‘hear’ from the Lord for others, we need to hear the Lord speaking to us, personally. The Christian stream I grew up did not function in or teach on the prophetic much. I had known the Lord speaks in different ways, often through the word, often in a still small whisper, but that was about it. The sum of these experiences was the beginning of a journey of realising that the Lord speaks to me (us) in many ways, including the very physical environment around us. It awakened in me a knowing that He communicates beyond simply sound waves and syllables and that actually, He’s always speaking – all the time – if we’ll listen! Since that time, the Lord has continued to open up my senses to an awareness of a whole host of other ways in which He speaks. As I’ve grown in hearing His voice with more frequency and clarity for myself, this has overflowed into a boldness and confidence in hearing and sharing His words of encouragement to those around me – which is one of my most all-time favourite things to do!
By Rebekah Morris