winter’s growing pains

There is something about the cold weather that makes me a little more introspective and a little more sensitive to the world around me. So much happens in the winter, but none of us want to see it because our bones are cold and our bodies are tired. A lack of sunshine and warmth makes us curl up and forget to look around and see what is happening more than a few feet in front of us.

Despite the bitter cold, winter is a season of growth. Think about it, the trees and flowers all begin to bloom at the end of winter as spring makes its way into the world, so something must be stirring, right? Something must be reaching down into the deepest roots, finding the strength to push on and keep growing. I want to have this strength, too. I want to push down into the deepest parts of myself and draw strength from the one thing that keeps me going all the time, even when its dark and hard; faith. I want it to mark my life even after I have grown too old for this world and have wasted away. It will be the finest decor that will let the world know who I was and who was with me.

The expectations we place on this life are vast and sometimes unrealistic. It seems stupid to try and justify the hard times by saying, “We live in a fallen world.”, as church folks would put it. I understand what they mean, but I can’t help but feel that this phrase doesn’t do justice to the immense beauty that was left despite the state the world is in. I know we need to be aware of the darkness of the world because that is what keeps us on mission. I also think the Lord gives us space to take in the beauty he has created in a lens that doesn’t overlook our stain on creation, but rather sees his sovereignty shining through despite that stain.

“God’s name is a place of protection — good people can run there and be safe.”Proverbs 18:10 MSG

Quite often I find myself in awe of the things that were left for us to search for and find, and I am fascinated by how things from eras gone by still hold immense beauty in our modern times. If that is not testament to the durability, consistency, and timelessness of God himself, I’m not sure what is. Yes these things on earth age and eventually waste away, but the sheer amount of time they last, how they are even beautiful in their decaying states, I don’t know, it just speaks to me.

When God is moving and writing a story, I’m often impatient for the end, or at least the next chapter. I’m not willing to see the beauty in the aging process, in the winter stillness, because I just want the final product. I have this habit of trying to snatch the pen from his hand, and yet even as I’m writing this, I’m reminded of the peace Jesus had even at the end of his life. Not once did he reach for the pen to change God’s story. Did he ask for the story to change? Yes, and he sweat blood over it he was in such distress. Yet EVEN THEN his words were, “Your will be done.”(Matthew 26:36-42) That is some level of faith I only hope I am on the road to know.

Friends, winter offers you more than you might think.

Wandering with you,

Jess

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 ESV