Breaking Free

by Doris Hoover

In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.  Psalm 118:5 NIV

Specks of color flutter across my field of vision, flitting from flower to flower, to tree and back. I glimpse masterful designs painted on tiny wings – mosaics, stripes, and polka dots. Beautiful winged creatures sail in the breeze, free and unfettered.

In contrast, their earthbound larvae creep along the ground or on tree trunks, caterpillars awaiting the day they’ll morph into spectacular butterflies. Caterpillars and butterflies may be the same creatures, but they live two very different lives.

I wonder if God created caterpillars to demonstrate the power he has to change lives. Metamorphosis isn’t just for butterflies — it’s for people, too. Through God’s power, we can be released from the bonds that keep us earthbound, the fleshly attitudes which impede our ability to fly.

The Lord can change the lives of broken, defeated people, those chained to addictions or childhood traumas, those shackled with the weight of bitter memories. Minds encased with wrong thinking can crack open like a cocoon, freeing us to think and live in a new way.

When circumstances knocked me to the ground, I wasted years groveling in the debris of bitterness, unable to rise above the resentment that kept me in the muck. “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me” (Psalm 118:13 NIV). Jesus showed me how to rise above the sinful attitudes that kept me earthbound. He showed me the way of forgiveness.

It wasn’t easy to change the way my mind thought or the way my heart felt. The change could only happen through His Holy Spirit in me. The Lord opened my eyes to see that I was living a caterpillar life by crawling in the dirt of resentment. He showed me the truth about bitterness, that holding on to bitterness will keep me from fully living out God’s abundant grace for me (Hebrews 12:15). Through my bitter attitude, I was willingly shackling myself to the earth.

The Lord brought me to a point where I had to make a decision. I could continue to be miserable and creep in the dirt of resentment, or I could release my bitter memories and forgive the one who hurt me.

Just as a butterfly has to fight its way out of a cocoon, I had to fight my way out of bitterness. It took much prayer, confession, and repentance before my heart changed. It took God’s power working in me. “The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” (Psalm 118:16 NIV) When I chose to forgive, my cocoon cracked open and now could fly above my resentments. I was free!

The Lord wants each of us to fly. He didn’t create us to crawl through life, miserably dragged down by weights we don’t need to carry. We’re meant to live as butterflies, to be creatures of beauty, offering loveliness to the world.

We can leave our caterpillar existence. The Lord sees our hurts and wants us to break free from the bonds of our wrong thinking. He has power to heal the most aggrieved heart. By teaching us how to forgive, He shows us how to rise above what plagues us.

God envelopes us with his Spirit, encasing us in his power as he works in our hearts. The moment we choose forgiveness over bitterness, the Lord molds us into something new and beautiful. We break free from our cocoons as changed individuals with beautifully painted wings. Then He releases us from the palm of his hand, and we soar.

Thank you, Jesus, for the miracle of forgiveness that sets us free.

Breaking Free – insight from Doris Hoover on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

doris HooverAbout the author: Doris Hoover lives in Florida, but she also spends time along the coast of Maine. Her passion is discovering God’s messages in nature and sharing them with others. You can visit Doris at 

Doris’ book, Quiet Moments in The Villages, A Treasure Hunt Devotional invites you to step outside to discover the treasures God places around you. She leads you to beautiful places in her home town. Her poetic descriptions and beautiful photography draw you into moments that will stir your heart.

Join the conversation: Have you struggled to forgive a hurt from the past? How did the Lord enable you to forgive? Please share your story!

3 thoughts on “Breaking Free

  1. Nice illustration! I like how you compare unforgiveness to the caterpillar and forgiveness to the butterfly. Sheri


  2. I struggled to forgive three people because they continued to hurt my family time and time again. I would forgive and then, they would do something to hurt us again. We were stuck in a pattern. I prayed many times asking God to soften my heart toward the ones who hurt us. Over time, God has been working on me and is softening my heart. I am thankful for His forgiveness and His patience with me.


  3. I’m currently going through this very thing. It’s a vicious cycle. I believe I’m doing good but when I come around family those feelings get stirred up and the struggle begins once again.
    But the beauty in this brokenness is that only by God’s grace am I now able to see that the work to be done is in me and that it’s a supernatural work to be done by the Lord.
    Rejection runs in the very depth of my soul and began at birth. Through the years, rejection lead to hurt, anger and bitterness.
    What I battle now is what I feel inside me more than the people themselves because I now know I’m the one the enemy wants to keep in bondage.
    I thank you for this beautiful article.


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