Tuesday, April 2, 2013

When winter is long and you just need spring

I don't think I am the only one who has said out loud a time or two..."it's just been a long winter". I found myself saying this over and over and hearing this just the same from so many. And after our last snow fall, that came in March, when spring was supposed to be here...I started to wonder about that final covering of snow all over the earth and wondered if maybe, just maybe, it was exactly what we needed?

For the days were long with little ones cooped up inside and it seemed that we were all maybe a little tired of being crammed together all day in our little cozy home and that what could we all possibly do with yet another....long...wintery...cold...day.  Doesn't the winter in our lives, the seasons of the heart, the ones where it is snowing all around us and we can't walk outside much to breathe fresh air, seem a bit too long too? Some winter seasons I have wondered myself if God would help me step into spring sooner then later. Please take away the blowing winds and the freezing temps and the hills of snow piling up on my heart. But looking back...a good hard winter is just what I need some days. Some seasons. As cold as it is and as long as the days seem and as short as the days feel with no sunlight...those winter days are just as fruitful as the ones that follow in the spring.

Winter seasons for the heart bring days of being covered by the thick, cold, wet stuff that makes us freeze where we are and requires stillness in a hard place, a place where others can't come themselves as the drifts are too big for anyone else to see over, much less step through and this wintery place seems long and cold and dark and lonely. And we wonder to ourselves...will it ever be spring again? 

While the winter seems long, it is only one season amongst many really, and perhaps we should just trust that He has us right where we need to be. That the hard winter days must come before we recognize what spring is really all about. And to deliver a spring with no melting of the snow and no gradual step down into warmer days would only make one forget those cold winter days...the ones He walked us through and the ones that are leaving a cold, but humble and knowing and grateful imprint on our heart. We need winter days. We wouldn't need spring the way we do without them.

I walked outside last week to see winter slowly moving away from us...
 The signs of a long, cold, hard freezing winter were still around and the way it slowly is melting away tells me that the earth needed that final covering of frozen water to fill itself after a long drought. And that maybe, just maybe, once again we needed a few more weeks of winter. To hydrate us. To prepare our roots for what is to grow and what is to come...
 And the winter was just long enough that in the same day I can breathe in new fresh spring air, but still feel the winter frozeness crunch under my feet and I know that the two seasons are meant to go hand in hand...a slow move to the next so that we do not forget what spring is all about and just where we are coming from after a long cold winter.

 As we see the signs of winter melt away at it's own pace and in the same day see the dirty marked cold stuff turn into clear, flowing, streams of living water for the earth, we can trust that the long winters He places us in are just as needed and glorifying as the beautiful showers of spring that always follow...and they do follow.

For there is no real spring without the foundation of a good winter to prepare the earth, as He does with our hearts, and to remember that He is just as much in the winter places of our life as He is in the days of sunshine and tulips and new life. And our winters really aren't any longer then our springs... they just often times take the biggest pieces of our hearts with them. But only to melt away and grow into something beautiful...something planted long before the first snow ever even fell. I think spring is here to stay, but only as it slowly lets go of winters hand. And our roots will be thankful for that slow hand off...as will the following harvest.