Wednesday Wisdom Tip: Don’t Slit It!


The caterpillar had chosen a very conspicuous spot to weave it’s cocoon; right under the deck railing. Perfect! From this vantage point, the elderly man could sit at his breakfast table and watch while it worked away.

Then the work stopped. For days, it seemed as though nothing was happening. Had the caterpillar died? The man kept his eye on the cocoon, watching.

One morning, he noticed a wiggle. There was life in the cocoon! In fact, it quickly moved from a wiggle to a battle. The old man watched as the life within flung itself back and forth, trying to emerge.

He began to feel compassion for the beautiful butterfly working so hard to come forth. His heartache got the best of him. He quickly grabbed a knife, slitting the cocoon, releasing the butterfly. The battle was over! Yet, something was wrong. The beautiful creature creeped along  the deck railing only to die.

The man failed to realize the struggle was part of the cycle the butterfly needed to make itself strong for it’s life ahead.

I heard this story at my daughter’s college orientation last Friday. It reminded me of how many times I have “slit the cocoon” in her life. Watching her struggle, I have too many times stepped in to try to make it better, only to stunt her growth.

Here is another opportunity as she heads to college; another chance to watch her emerge and not try to “help”.

As moms, when our child is struggling with an issue we fail to see the necessity of the process.

With the butterfly, from the outside, the 10 days of the chrysalis phase seems to be a time when nothing is happening, it is really a time of rapid change. Within the chrysalis the old body parts of the caterpillar are undergoing a remarkable transformation, called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge. 

Friend, what cocoon is your child trying to get out of to make their impact on this world? Veteran moms, what advice can you share with those of us who needs God’s strength to “let go and let God.” I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the comments below.



  1. I understand how that man felt and I am glad I know about butterflies. On the other hand God is teaching me day by day about girls that are leaving home. I have 2 this year that are leaving from the local JC scene to go to University for their Junior year. Each daughter has a different university and a different path in life. One perhaps is a Swallow Tail the other a Monarch and I am a Dutchman’s Pipe.
    “Why didn’t you tell me this stuff?” mixed with “What do you think I am, stupid?”
    I got really smart after the first one had been gone a week….the questions start to flow in.
    God in His grace showed us how to stumble through motherhood with them at home and now He is helping us stumble through motherhood as they leave. When I stumble I know I can always lean on Him.
    I will be praying for you and I am thankful for all the prayers for me. Three daughters, all will be away from home by Aug.20, 2013. Just my son left and he is joining the Coast Guard as soon as he graduates from High School in the Spring.
    A new season is beginning.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Enjoy your new season, Deena!!!

  2. I too can relate to this story. I only have one daughter and she is going to college in the fall. As an extremely overprotective mom, I battle with wanting to help, and with wanting to hang on as long as possible. The past 18 years have flown by and I am not ready for her to start a new life separate from me. I pray for the Lord to help me, but I haven’t quite been able to let it go. Prayers are always welcome.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Me too, Lisa! Can’t believe Mariah leaves in less than 30 days!

      One thing I am finding comfort in is the fact that God is the perfect parent. He will be there when I am not and can teach her things I never could.

      Though it is scary for us, for their sake, we can with God’s help convey we are excited for them and all God has ahead.

      And if we can just let God do God’s thing…it will be great, even if there will be a few struggles!

  3. We all need this from time to time, whether parenting a boy or a girl. 8 years since we did it w our girl, now our boy. It’s hard the longer in between I think. We too have to learn all over besides each child bro.g so different, involved in different things, how they deal & relate differently, but God & His ways never change. Trying to trust that & that He knows exactly what they need. Praying my son will stay close to God DAILY, trusting Him and His ways FIRST.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      That sure is our prayer, Nikki! For all our children…

  4. Sandra Titus says:

    Thank you for this blog post. I’ve been struggling with a lot of fears of the unknown, etc. My daughter too will be heading off to college this fall. I have my concerns. Please keep her in your prayers. He nickname is “VP.” Thanks.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Jesus, Thank you for your love for VP. Help her to keep You and Your plans and purposes in her fore front this year. Bring into her life those that will propel her forward in her faith. We trust you, Jesus, with our precious children! Amen

  5. Tracy Whitler says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I am currently in this situation with my 19 year old daughter. She has left the nest and I am wanting to step in and “help”. I will pray for God to step in and for me to stay out. Again, thank you for this guidance and support.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Jesus, thank you so much for Tracy’s daughter. Help her to find her own way in You. Give Tracy the wisdom and discernment to know when to step in and when to let her girl figure out life on her own. Amen

  6. Shalonda Owens says:

    Hello Ladies, I have four girls(all teenagers) and my first born is college bound this fall….sooo many mixed emotions. I ask you ladies to pray for my awesome daughter. I pray she will be bold and courageous on campus always taking a stand for whats right! Make wise decisions, and not be used/abused in any way. I’m fine. I know I’ll have to make alot of adjustments and God is going to help me(her as well). I’m excited but I acknowledge we need much prayer. I’ll definitely be praying for you all:)

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Jesus, Empower Shalonda as she lets her girl grow up. Surround her with those that will help her grow in her relationship with You. Amen

  7. I really enjoyed reading this story and all the comments! My youngest is turning 13 and My oldest daughter just graduated from High School. Two weeks after she graduated we went for registration at college the next morning ( Fathers Day ) their father past away. I was already struggling with her leaving and then for the love of my life to leave us way to soon…….. I feel like I am struggling to get out of my own cocoon…….. watching my girls with a new indepentance amerging. It truly seems that I am having to let go of so much, it makes my comfort zone less comfortable.

  8. My circumstances are a little different. My children are all grown now. I guess I am guilty of loving them TOO much if there is such a thing, because I now see I did too much for them when they are growing up and that has made it hard on them as adults. I ask for prayers as I strive to teach them at this stage of their lives how to deal with life and circumstances that come up. Things I should have taught them growing up. I still have the tendencies to fix things for them when i can. Lord please give me the answers and guidance I need.

  9. Its amazing how God sends something we need. Thank you for this post. I have been feeling very guilty for not helping my son during a rough patch. but I have always rescued him or someone else in my family has. I find that there is a fine line between helping and rescuing/enabling. My youngest son, who is 26, has always had me or someone make sure he had what he needs. so he now feels I owe him. It is a difficult place I am in. I have finally realized that by “helping” him so much I have allowed him not to have to put an effort into taking care of himself. I know now that I am not God, and God can take care of my son better than I ever could. My advice is let your children go through their difficulties, let them work it out, just like the butterfly they need the struggle. I am now letting my son go through the struggle of paying his own way, making good and bad choices and living with the consequences. I am praying for him and myself. It is so difficult to watch him struggle, have him blame me for his struggles, knowing I could help but won’t. anyway, I ask for pray for me and my son. And as a parent that made the mistake of helping my child too much, let your children struggle, find their way. When I am tempted to help or feel guilty I will think of the butterfly story.

  10. I also heard this on Friday, July 12, 2013 at my son’s college orientation. He is my first born son-I have 3 sons! It has been a rollercoaster year of emotions for me, as I watch this child that stole my heart go off to do things on his own. How I just want to protect him and make everything okay…It is so hard to watch this masterpiece, yet so satisfying. Some days I cry and some days I am okay. I love this sweet child of mine and now I turn him over to the Lord and pray that he lives for him daily. I never knew how hard it was to be a mommy until now…It’s never easy, letting go.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Larissa…is your son going to Liberty?

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