Have you ever asked God to give you a symbol to remind you of His love for you? This idea has intrigued me for some time. My youngest sister, during a challenging season of life, asked God for a symbol and He gave her the cardinal. Divinely timed cardinal sightings surprise and delight her, like notes from her Beloved written upon wings of scarlet. I heard a speaker mention a few weeks ago that God gave her red grapes as a symbol in their relationship. God creatively uses this fruit of the vine to intimately communicate His love for her. She told of a past speaking engagement during which a gentleman entered the building quite unexpectedly with a cart full of red grapes. When questioned, he indicated that God told him that morning to purchase a large quantity of grapes and bring them to this women’s conference! He had no idea why, but obeyed God anyway, and without knowing it delivered a well-timed reminder of God’s love for her.
After hearing of several women’s experiences along these lines, I asked God to give me a symbol. Then I waited expectantly for Him to make evident the symbol of His choosing. Over Christmas I had a number of uninterrupted hours to just be still in God’s presence and listen to Him. During this time I wrote a story for my little grandbaby while sitting beside a Christmas tree in the Bed and Breakfast we stayed in. It seemed God situated me beside this beautifully lit tree for a visit. During our time of communing and writing together, He drew my eye to a golden dragonfly with outstretched wings, seemingly in flight. I so identified with this winged creature. At the time I wrote, “One ornament different from all the rest stands out: a golden dragonfly with lacey wings. In this season so full of dreams I feel I’m taking flight like that gilded dragonfly.” I continued to write and pour forth both my love and God’s love for this new life being formed in my daughter’s womb. I did not immediately realize that God had revealed the symbol!
This evening I took out the story We began writing while sitting beside the tree. God had directed me to several verses the night before as I prepared for work, and I could hardly wait to sit beside Him and finish coauthoring this story. I changed the line I mentioned above to, “When I dream of you (my grandbaby), I soar like that gilded dragonfly with God’s breath beneath my wings. I let God take me to wonderful places in my thoughts.” The verses God wanted to incorporate into the story were Psalm 139:17-18, “How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day your thoughts turn towards me. And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me.” I felt God wanted this child to know from the beginning that He thinks about him or her continually. It dawned on me that my request for a symbol boiled down to my wanting an intimate reminder from God that He thinks about me, like lovers do.
I went online hoping to find a golden dragonfly just like the one I’d seen on the tree. During that search, I came across what the dragonfly has symbolized for years in many cultures. I began to see God’s choice of this winged insect had thrilling personal implications. As I unpacked the symbol, I sensed God’s love and affection in choosing this symbol. I saw myself poised for flight in that little dragonfly God pointed out on the tree. I had no idea He saw me too (His lover in the symbol), and knew all He was going to say through this shared reminder of Our love!!
I delved more into the Christian symbolism of the dragonfly as though looking for buried treasure. I also combed the internet for fascinating information about this wonderful creation of God. I’ll share a few things I learned through hours of reading in my next article. But for now, I must tell you what topped off the evening with God with sheer joy. God reminded me years ago my good friend, Rhodema, gave me a potted plant with a decorative stake in it. Atop the stake was a dragonfly! I went out to the garage and found the one and only remnant from my gardening days covered in cobwebs and dust, leaning forgotten against the wall. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away the last time I cleaned the garage because it had been a gift. The stake was bent and rusted through in a couple of places, and as I washed the bedraggled ornament the wings on one side fell off in the sink. I picked them up and dried them off, and then carefully hot glued them back on. I thought ten pages worth of thoughts about my life as represented in this dragonfly – in this symbol God chose years and years (eternity) ago!! He even saw to the preservation of this little dragonfly so He could re-gift it as a small token of His intimate knowledge of and love for me. “Teresa,” my little dragon fly now flies among the flowers of an arrangement in my bathroom to remind me continually of My Love who thinks continually of me.
LOVED IN THE SHADOW,