Have you ever faced a season so challenging that you felt completely trapped? In today’s post, Dr. Mel Tavares shares how a cocoon of faith can transform life’s struggles into powerful opportunities for growth and renewal, just like a butterfly emerging transformed from its cocoon.

On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I chatted with Dr. Mel about strategies that help us overcome painful trials and the resultant testimonies that form from sacred scars. If you’ve experienced devastating setbacks, or you’re in the middle of one now, you won’t want to miss this episode.

Cocoon of Faith: Emerging Transformed Through Life’s Struggles
by Dr. Mel Tavares

Have you ever experienced multiple traumatic events within days of each other? The kind that hits with such force that you are knocked to the mat? I have, several times over during the course of my life. The latest happened in the fall of 2023. This time, I felt as though I was down for the count and would never be able to fly into the future. But God had a plan that would take me into a season of being cocooned with my Creator and there He would transform me before I was allowed to emerge, ready for a new season of ministry.

Time for Change

By the time Labor Day Weekend ended, I related closely to how Job must’ve felt in Biblical times. In Job’s case, in the matter of one day he lost his livestock, his servants, and ten children. While I did not, on a comparative level, lose nearly what Job lost, many things were stripped away in a matter of days. First, I was notified of the loss of a freelance writing project that I loved, directly followed by news that my position was eliminated at my church, followed by a freak accident that mangled my knee and would later require a full knee replacement.

Like Job, I struggled to accept my circumstances. I could not comprehend how any of these events made sense, especially when I was seemingly gaining momentum in my ministry. Yet, in the midst of my emotional and physical pain, I instinctively knew the Lord was allowing all of this for purposes I did not understand. There were those who, like Job’s friends, called to give their input as to why the domino of events may have transpired. I wondered why they didn’t just pray for me and love on me instead of adding the proverbial salt to my wounds. Secondary wounds such as feelings of rejection, failure, shame, humiliation, and embarrassment began to infect my being and within the week, my spirit wilted. The Lord came to my rescue by putting me in a cocoon.

Have you ever observed a monarch caterpillar when it goes into a cocoon and then hangs, seeming lifelessly hanging? Externally there appears to be little going on, while internally, a metamorphosis is happening.

The Metamorphosis

Before a butterfly is revealed in splendor, there is a very real struggle going on in the cocoon. At times, the struggle is so intense the butterfly may seem near death. It is then that the temptation arises by onlookers to rescue and ease the pain, but to do so would cause her death or to be stunted. The metamorphosis happens as the struggle intensifies and builds strength so she can fly when she emerges. If the process were circumvented, strength would not grow and she would not survive emerging out of the cocoon.

When I found myself laid up, laid off, and laid aside; I asked the Lord to do a radical transformation. Have you ever prayed boldly for transformation? As we walk with the Lord, we are in danger of becoming stagnant, stuck in our old ways. Sometimes it takes a radical circumstance to allow room for God to do a radical transformation in our lives. And, it takes time.

We live in a busy culture and the truth is, it is difficult to carve out set-aside time to allow God to do a deep, transformative work. The thing about cocoons is there is not much else to do but wait in solitary confinement. For the better part of nine months, it’s been just me and God. There was nothing I could do to hurry the process along, so I just hung in there, listening to worship music around the clock and clinging to every Biblical truth in the lyrics.

I won’t lie. The struggle was real. What I thought would be a quick rehab of my injured knee and then I’d hopefully quickly be gainfully employed elsewhere turned out to be a fallacy of my mind. Rather, the knee could not be rehabbed with physical therapy and I had to undergo a total knee replacement. The nature of the injury caused the pain to be substantially more than a typical replacement, medication management was inadequate, and only the grace of God sustained me through the mind-numbing pain. It became obvious that I would not be returning to work anytime soon, and was completely reliant on the goodwill and generosity of others to prepare meals for us and provide financially. Emotionally, I struggled to maintain peace as despair, discouragement, fear, and hopelessness lurked around my cocoon. On more than one occasion, I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. As I persevered through the struggle, my faith grew.

Can you think of a time of struggle that resulted in your faith growing, as you pressed forward in the power of God, rather than your own? Giving up takes no faith at all, but believing for things you cannot see builds your faith. Having an attitude of giving up in the midst of the struggle will never give us the spiritual wings to fly, just as a cocooned butterfly will not be able to fly without struggling.

In the Bible, Job did not give up and curse God. Nor did I. Nor should you. Times of extreme hardship and challenges are when we must run to God, not from Him. I am so thankful that God doesn’t waste anything in our lives. Romans 8:28 promises us that “God works all things together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” As we are cocooned in circumstances, healing from the wounds that rendered us unable to do anything in our own strength, we can find hope in knowing there is purpose in our pain and that we will emerge transformed, for His glory.

Emerging Transformed

Job 23:10-12 (NIV) “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”

Contrary to what the world and indeed some believers expected, I did not curse God. I refused to harbor ill-feelings, but rather, I completely surrendered to His will and ways, which are so much higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is in the midst of our wounds transforming into sacred scars that we learn He is all we need. We can trust that He is who He says He is.

I leaned into Jehovah Rapha, my healer (Psalm 30:2). I allowed others to be the ravens who fed me and supported me financially, sent by Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:14). As my time in the cocoon continued, God’s plan became evident. He showed me that I would emerge laser-focused on purposes He has called me to. The scars (literal and figurative) would be the springboard for future ministry, as I teach others to be immovable, treasuring every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Cocooned for nine months has birthed in me an unshakable and steadfast faith in a God who has plans for me that are exceedingly, abundantly beyond what I could think to ask for or imagine. Not that I have attained the end of the matter, for I am still in recovery mode after the knee replacement and am still needing to generate income streams, but I do not live in fear or despair. I have been transformed from the inside out and am flying high above my circumstances now.

If you are in the midst of a struggle, feeling constrained and cocooned, take heart. You are not alone and the Lord is allowing this season so that your wounds can heal and you can be transformed from the inside out. Surrender to the process and trust God has purpose in your pain and is working a transformative miracle. Surrender so you can emerge a victorious overcomer who refused to give up. It is then the Lord can use your story for His glory, and your sacred scars to encourage others in their journey. It is then you will fly, because the struggle has made your wings strong. And just as He did for Job, the Lord will bless your latter days more than your beginning.



About Dr. Mel Tavares

Dr. Mel Tavares, authorDr. Mel Tavares spent her earlier career working in education, rehabilitation, and counseling. She holds a doctorate of ministry and is also a mental health coach. She has spent over three decades encouraging, counseling, and equipping others to thrive in life. Her heartbeat is to equip people with a balanced approach to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health through writing, speaking at events, and guesting on podcasts. Her latest book is “21 Days to Improved Mental Well-Being” and she is the perfect guest to join the conversation today as we discuss emotional pain.

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Stuck in a difficult season? Learn how being 'cocooned by faith' can lead to renewal and purpose. Discover the strength in your challenges. Click now to read and start your journey to renewal.