Imagine it, gold trees, nothing but gold trees, not from leaves, but from millions of monarch butterflies from all over North America settled in one valley deep in Mexico. Those who have seen them describe the scene as a “golden heaven” with trees and plants covered massively with butterflies from top to bottom, some hanging, some fluttering around, but all coating the spacious valley with a golden aura more majestic than the frost of autumn.

The wonder of it all, how those butterflies know how to fly thousands of miles to a small destination they’ve never seen or heard of before is one of the mysteries of creation, a radiant reminder of the hand of God leading His beloved creatures to their shelter of safety and provision, away from the harsh winds of winter. Even more so, I have been totally amazed recently of special serendipitous appearances of blue butterflies, God-sends just at the right time, just as I have experienced the spirit signs of cardinals over the years.

Shortly after the passing of my dear friend, Meredith Sprunger, several years ago this past summer, a close friend shared how she totally understood the “cardinal connection” (he and I had experienced in our friendship) because she had been experiencing the “blue butterfly connection.”

At various times in her life, when she had needed some special encouragement, blue butterflies had shown up on the scene, moments that were timed perfectly, precision-wise, with the need for encouragement or enlightenment in her life. At the time, she even sent a radiant picture of a blue butterfly that had fluttered into her presence one morning at the crack of dawn, an appearance that rose with the sun, causing tears of appreciation to trickle down her tender cheeks, just like the dew of hope bringing moisture to the plants surrounding her.

That, I had learned, happened often, but not on her demand, only by God’s divinely-timed precision just at the right time.

I savored her sharing of those special moments with me and tucked them in my heart, and there they rested for nearly a year, once in a while reassuring me that if we look and listen, “it” really is out there.

Recently, the story of the blue butterfly was resurrected in my heart with a startling realization.

A lady came to our table at a local restaurant and said, “aren’t you the one that writes the columns about the cardinals ever so often?”

I assured her that I was.

She replied, “I’ve got a story to tell; it’s not about cardinals, it’s about blue butterflies.” She then went on to tell me how at different times in her life when she needed encouragement, God brought blue butterflies. More recently, her husband developed a serious illness.

“At just the right time, a blue butterfly would show up,” she said. “When it became evident that my husband was going to pass, we were having a heart to heart talk one day and he said, ‘don’t worry. I’m not going to go far. I’ll still be around,” she said.

“I told him that I would understand that better if he would send me a blue butterfly to tell me that he loved me,” she added.

One day, in the month of January, shortly after her husband had passed, she was walking into church. She approached the area where her husband had stood as he greeted people coming to the service.

“All of a sudden, I nearly dropped in my tracks,” she said. “There, exactly where he stood, was a living blue butterfly flying around in circles, in January, reminding me of his love and God’s care. “It was all I could have ever asked for,” she remarked. “That’s why I understand your cardinal stories.”

A few days ago I was walking through a book sale when I saw book entitled,” Karen! Karen! One woman’s response to the whispers of God.” “I am convinced that this kind of encounter comes through the hundreds of common incidents in our lives, events which God chooses to infuse with His Presence,” wrote the author, Karen Mains.

I didn’t hesitate; I purchased the book on the spot, realizing that “another one of those moments” had just occurred.