Friday, November 28, 2014

iFly Away

iPray eVotional

iPray eVotionals exhorts those who pray.  It's the glass of water held out around each month's turn for the runners who can use a quick and easy quench in order to finish strong.

iFly Away
Approx. reading time: 5 minutes

I have experienced living things fly away.


When I was in third grade I gathered some caterpillars from the church yard where my grandparents worked.  I created a habitat for them and invested hours into cleaning their cage, giving them fresh leaves to eat and making sure there were enough sticks and twigs for them to hang their cocoons from.  

All of that work for the moment to let them go and watch them become free.  I enjoyed the journey, but I knew that ultimately I would be letting them go.  

I felt exhilarated to watch them fly off.  One found a bush for a moment before taking off.  Another flew off into the wind quickly.  I tried to keep my eyes on them for as long as I could, before I couldn't see them any more.  

I remember I was also left with a little bit of strange grieving.  A feeling of loss although I knew they were where they were ready to be. I didn't remove their habitat right away.  

After a week or so I noticed that at least one of the butterflies had returned.  I didn't see the butterfly, but the butterfly had come back to its habitat and left eggs spread across one of the left over leaves.  I felt overjoyed to know that the butterfly was alive and well.  It was living just the way God intended.


When I was in my mid-twenties at a camp ground, a trailer arrived with a bird's nest full of baby birds.  Without realizing it, my dad's cousin had left a mommy bird wondering where her babies had disappeared to.  She had tended to them perfectly, all five of them.  They were healthy and waiting for her to give them food.  

I remember my heart breaking at the thought of this mommy bird having to let go of her babies before they were able to fly away.  I wondered if she watched the trailer drive off, and how long she was able to follow it.  Could she have followed for the entire two and a half hour drive, all the way up the mountain where we were camping?  

After a full day of no mama bird I made it my mission to keep those little birds alive.  With my niece's baby formula, bits of soggy bread and a straw, I answered their chirps for food.  I continued at home and after two weeks they started spreading their wings for flight.  

One morning, one by one they took off, clumsily making it to a nearby tree.  I was sad that I couldn't help them like a mama bird could, and I prayed that God would take over.  I heard their chirping in that tree for a couple of days and soon they were gone.  

Again, a feeling of loss, letting go and wondering if they would be okay.  The next spring I was astonished when a couple of birds came right back to my balcony and started making a nest near the place their box had been.  By then I had a cat and it chased them away from the balcony, but for that spring I heard the birds in the nearby tree.  

Joy filled my heart knowing that they had lived!  Would their mom ever know the full life they were able to live when she was forced to let them go?  I thanked God for that glimpse of His sovereign design.


When my daughter was two we had a ladybug party for her.  I ordered thousands of ladybugs that came with containers for the children and directions on how to let them go in their gardens.  When I opened the ladybug boxes we watched thousands of ladybugs take flight.  Many of them crawled on the grass before flying away.  Some crawled all over our hands and arms.  Others took off right away.  It was a memorable experience and made for a great party.

The children captured some to take to their own gardens.  When they had some in their containers, I read The Lazy Ladybug.  A storybook that told of a ladybug that found temporary homes that kept her from flying away.  Eventually, after one of her "homes" sneezed, she was forced to fly away.  I explained to the kids that their ladybugs needed to fly away to find their home.

I could tell that many of the little ones would have a hard time letting them go when they got home.  It is hard to let things go, but it is easier when we know that they need to go.

That park was not known for ladybugs before that day, but God gave us another wonderful glimpse into his design.  Every year since, that park has been full of ladybugs in the spring.  Hundred of thousands fill the trees and at the right time of year you can walk past any tree and find ladybugs crawling on it.  I know that none of the ladybugs we had let go that year are still alive, but I can see the beautiful result of their lives after they flew away.


People?  I have talked about living things with wings, can a person fly away?  

My parents put me and my siblings on a flight to California to visit our grandparents when I was seven.  I remember being told that I had earned my wings. Really? Where were they? I certainly couldn't fly away with them. People's bodies can catch a flight that brings them from point A to point B, but in order to fly away we need to earn spiritual wings.

In the 1980's my grandfather had a heart attack and with it a near death experience.  He flew away for a brief moment, and came back proclaiming what many others have.  That God is real, and He has a design.  

The experience was so powerful, he never again viewed this temporary habitat the same.  A few times I have had the privilege of hearing him talk about the change that happened in him after that experience.  He gained a deep realization of human imperfections coupled with the overpowering knowledge of grace, love and mercy as God's design.  

God gave him 30 more years. For the past few days loved ones have been gathering to say good bye and let him go, to permanently fly away.  Today he earned his spiritual wings.

Have you been by a loved ones side when it was time for their spirit to fly away?  

It's a strange bittersweet moment when a loved one's spirit finds its flight into God's presence.  I wonder if any language on earth has the words to express it just the right way.  

Today, I thank God for little glimpses.  These little glimpses into God's beautiful design reminds me of how our bodies house a real spirit that are meant to someday fly away.  A spirit that lives beyond this temporary habitat.  Our spirits are designed to someday leave the nest.  

It makes me ask, "Am I prepared for this flight?"  

Those on the ground grieve the loss and are left to trust God's design.  With each fly-away, marks can be left that fill hearts with joy.  Sometimes the mark can be seen "on a single leaf," other times it can be seen "filling the trees in a park."

Alison Krauss - I'll fly away
Alison Krauss - I'll fly away


Dear Lord, 

We praise You for Your sovereign design!  We praise You for the investment of time and work put into our lives, guiding us and pulling us back on Your path.  Give us just what we need to feel the weight of human imperfections and then the freedom found in Your grace, love and mercy.  May we understand what is dinky winky next to what is holy and made perfect.  Lord, when we face a fly-away may we be overwhelmed with your presence in the grieving process and increasingly trust your sovereign design.  May the fly-away be a memorable experience and make for a great party.  Fill our hearts with the joy of eternal life.  Gift us with reminders every spring, and may those marks be multiplied in the years to come.  iPray that when iFly Away, others will be exhilarated and will know that a living thing has just taken flight.

In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Michelle Fozounmayeh
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Michelle Fozounmayeh

Michelle Fozounmayeh
A joy filled wife and mom that enjoys writing, praying, speaking at women events and being an Area Coordinator with the ministry Moms In Prayer International.




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