Every student I’ve ever worked with if you asked them “what has Mr. Brett taught you” I would hope they would say that “God Loves Me”. I say it almost everyday as a Camp Director, I remind my teen group constantly and tell them to do things to remind themselves. Write “God Loves You” on your toothbrush so you can remember, put it in big letters on your mirror or on the dashboard of your car. Whatever you need to do so you can remember that the Creator of the universe, the Master of all things loves you. So what does that have to do with ladybugs you might be asking yourself. A long time ago when I was working at Camp Lake Stephens a camper told me that every time she saw a butterfly it reminded her that God loves her. I liked it so like any good Youth Minister I stole the idea, changed it slightly and made it my own. Thus the “God reminding me He loved me” whenever I saw a ladybug story began.
Like a lot of things in my Christian life it had a humble beginning, for some very 90’s reason I wore this weird fishing hat sometimes and it had a ladybug earing attached to it, thanks by the way Katie Boren, and whenever I saw a ladybug I would be reminded that “God Loves Me”. Awesome and cute right, well there is more. I was a Youth Pastor for many years at an inner city church here in Memphis. It was an old beautiful church in a neighborhood that had changed dramatically. There was a pretty much unused prayer room I used to go up to and have quiet times. Being that it was an old beautiful church the room had old stained glass windows that were starting to mildew at the bottom and the air from outside could come through. It was a cold room to pray in in winter and hot and humid in the summer but it was a place I could go and meet with God undisturbed. I was so undisturbed that had I died up there my body would probably still be there and everyone would wonder what happened to me. Anyway one spring I walked over to the stain glass window and under it in the walls and all inside the frame were hundreds of ladybugs. It was amazing, I just watched them scurry around. However for some reason just after that my prayer life fizzled a little. I wasn’t doing the one thing I knew I needed to do to be successful. When God got a hold of me and I climbed the stairs to spend time with Him, the room looked like a ladybug massacre had taken place. All of these beautiful bright red beetles had turned brown and were on their backs dead. Now I don’t think God had struck them down to prove a point it was probably the exterminator but it was a stark reminder that if you really believe that God Loves You why would you ever go a single day without getting in His presence.
Now I could tell you tons of ladybug stories but most of them are just simple. One landed on me, I smiled and was reminded that God loves me. I could also tell you that I had a rubber ladybug on my dashboard one summer to remind me that God Loves Me and I live in the South so now I have a melted rubber stain on my dashboard to remind me that God Loves Me, but I do have one pretty amazing story. I was telling the ladybug story at camp during Spring Break at Cherokee Baptist Church and doing my whole “who has two thumbs and is loved by God” routine. Then just as I was wrapping up down flew a ladybug right into the middle of a gym floor full of campers. Whenever I talk to any of the people that were there that day it inevitably comes up. It was an amazing moment.
I don’t know if ladybugs are a thing in Africa, but when Bronwyn and I were walking around Camp BlueSky thinking and praying there on the ground just walking around next to one of the high ropes towers was a little ladybug. It was the only one I saw while I was there but it was beautiful and I smiled and was reminded that God really and truly loves me.