Hope’s Victory

Spring_SunriseTreesThe streets were eerily empty as I walked my dog today. Save for the hopeful songs of a few lone, rebel birds, the silence calmed as the sunset shed golden light on the trees, unrelenting in glory despite its lack of audience.  It would almost have felt peaceful, if not for the pandemic behind it all.

My dog pulled me along, grateful to be the beneficiary of extra long walks during this unusual season. And as she did, I caught sight of something that nearly slipped by unnoticed. Tiny buds pushing through branches of the bushes lining our walkway announced the arrival of another season that entered uncelebrated amidst the current plague of unwelcome news.


It arrived humbly, almost forgotten though so anticipated after the relentless winter. Shrouded by the pall of a world of uncertainty, spring came with a gentle reminder. Hope lives on after the coldest and bleakest of seasons.

Could it be that there will be such a glory to follow this time of worldwide grief?

While it may seem that nothing could soon out-measure the loss so many are now experiencing, hope is waiting to emerge. Just as winter births the beauty of spring, this hour of difficulty will bring forth something inexplicably beautiful, in its time.

While uncertainty claws at us, fierce and persistent, spring reminds us of a greater certainty behind it all. The sun continues to rise and set, as promised from the beginning. And winter gives way to spring despite the surrounding opposition. Flowers will yet bloom. Brown grass will soon awaken in glorious green splendor. Barren trees will unveil branches adorned with fruit.

Certainly if a season harsh as winter can yield the unhindered allure of spring, God can take the most hopeless ashes of our lives and fashion something of immense beauty.

So be of good courage and look beyond what your eyes see today. Spring has broken through and will continue to make its mark despite the overwhelming decay that seems to have overtaken our world. You will see goodness come from the tribulations of today, and our trials of now will seem light and momentary compared to the glory that “far outweighs them all.”

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14)

Everything in its Season

Blog_PathwayI’ve never asked the sun to shine, but still it does
I’ve never asked for rainy skies, yet still they come

I’ve never asked the wind to blow
I’ve never asked for winter snow
I’ve never asked for evening stars but still, they are

I’ve never asked for spring’s relief, yet seasons turn
I’ve never asked for summer heat, and still it burns

I’ve never asked for falling leaves
I’ve never asked for forest trees
I’ve never asked for flowers to grow, but Lord—You know

Everything comes in its season
Governed by power unseen
Change comes to our lives for a reason
Revealed only in eternity

Our lives are an intricate tapestry
Woven with perfect design
Every joy, every pain writes our destiny
Born with love from the dawn of time

You know every need, and You meet it
Before we can whisper a prayer
You’re working although we can’t see it
Your purpose will one day be clear

(Originally posted by Jen on the Tears of Joy Blog)

The Flowers Still Bloom

Design_FlowerBreakingThroughSpring came as a welcome gift this year. Though it’s always been a miraculous season, something was different when it finally broke through this time around. Maybe the harsh winter had stamped out any assurance that warmth would prevail and new life spring forth as promised—the relentless snow and lingering cold freezing out all hope. Or maybe it was something more.

While it’s unreasonable to question if spring will come, there is always the matter of when…and how long we’ll have to endure before it does come. When the cultural climate is stuck on winter, it seems all the more miraculous that spring manages to show up in the midst. How—in the soil of persistent war, conflict, violence, and suffering, do the trees still grow and the flowers still bloom?

The season of life may be overshadowed by the death that is winter, but it is never overcome. In fact, death is what prepares the soil for life. If there were no winter, spring would never come in its fullness of glory. And God has given a promise that if we press on to know him in the midst of our suffering, he will come to us like the spring rains that water the earth.

All that surrounds may steal our hope and drain our life. The constant bad news breeds depression, doubt, and sheer exhaustion. But the good news is…the flowers still bloom. Spring still comes. It can’t be hindered. New life will always prevail over death. It’s the law of spring.

“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and he will come to us like the rain—the spring rain that waters the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)

Spring Awakening

Blog_FlowerMorningi buried hope long ago
as the final leaf made its descent
to an earthen grave below
i watched the world
become entombed
in a sepulcher of snow
and wondered
if i would survive
this winter of my soul


the bitterness of life
became my shroud
the barrenness enveloped
like a cloud
while winter’s wind
fought fierce and strong
and proud
relentless in the force
it was endowed

through endless months
of emptiness and tears
i wrestled with
the darkness of my fears
forgetting every promise
once held dear
doubtful that new life
was drawing near

but suddenly
with unexpected power
the warmth tore through
the coldness of the hour
and rain fell
like a cleansing,
welcome shower
the earth unfolding
like a fragrant flower

songs of a new season
calling forth
the forgotten,
frozen soil
now gives birth
spring presents
its treasures of great worth
a breath of life
awakening the earth


Photo Credit: File:Mustard Flower in Morning.JPG – Wikimedia Commons

Waiting for Spring

Blog_WinterSpringThe following are words I wrote to a friend who was going through a difficult season where it seemed all signs of life had disappeared. I hope they encourage you, as well—whatever season you’re in…

I’ve been praying for words to encourage you in this challenging season you’re in. Just remember that during the winter, it seems like nothing’s happening. Everything looks dead and barren, cold and empty. But beneath the surface, there’s a lot taking place.The snow is pushing the dead leaves into the ground so they can be used to produce fertile soil. This fertile soil will produce all the beautiful flowers and leaves and green grass for the spring.

We never know exactly when spring is going to come. The groundhog doesn’t determine it, God does! And it always comes, even if it’s late or unexpectedly early. But it always comes after winter. Our temptation is to give up in the winter—to become cold and die right along with it. But if we give up too soon, we’ll miss the spring that’s right around the corner.

Hebrews 6 says to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. A lot of times we have faith to believe, but we need the patience to wait. I experienced so many set-backs and disappointments while waiting to adopt our children. It was a discouraging process, and it seemed the dream would never come to pass. I almost gave up! But now I am holding God’s promises in my arms.

In order for there to be resurrection (spring), there needs to be death (winter). You may feel like your dreams are dead now, but that only means there’s a resurrection coming! All the great men and women of God throughout history had to go through a season of waiting before the dream HE had for them was fulfilled.

Even John the Baptist began to doubt when he was imprisoned, but Jesus told him “blessed is the man who does not stumble on account of me.” In other words, don’t stumble over your own expectations of what God will do and when He will do it. He will always be faithful, even if He doesn’t work as we expect and in the timing we expect.

(Originally posted by Jen on the Tears of Joy Blog as “Encouragement for the Wait”)


Blog_SpringExplosionMy three year-old son has taken to shouting kabam! whenever he wants to emphasize something dramatic. “I was playing with my toy, then…kabam! Sister took it”…”I was eating my ice cream, then…kabam! The dog licked it”…”It was raining, then…kabam! The sun came out.” He says it so often I find myself saying it, too. It’s the perfect interjection, turning any boring old story into something profound.

That’s what I love about spring. It’s the kabam! that ends winter. Last week I was walking the dog and kabam! there were little baby leaves sprouting on the trees. The other day, I was driving to work and kabam! I saw tulips pushing through in the neighbor’s garden. Today, I wore my winter coat to work, then…kabam! it was warm enough to wear a t-shirt by noon. The butterflies-to-be were waiting in their chrysalises, then…kabam! they’re flying free.

Easter is a celebration of the kabam! of kabams in history. The world was held captive by evil, violence, sickness, poverty, and despair, then…kabam! God showed up, His son Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the world. Light overcame darkness. Hope overcame grief. Love overcame hate. Life overcame death.

My own life was transformed in such a way. I was depressed and hopeless. I didn’t have a reason to live but was too afraid to die. Then…kabam! God intervened in my life, adopting me as His own—giving me a future and a hope.

God loves to intervene in the most impossible of circumstances, and whenever He does, it’s a kabam! moment. Winter melts into spring. Darkness turns to light. Mourning erupts into dancing. Sorrow becomes joy. Nothing is ever hopeless. New life is always waiting beneath the barren ground, waiting for the right season to break through.

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,” (Psalm 30:11)

Weather Wimps, Beware

Weather Report from Bing Images If you live somewhere close to the equator, you may think you have it made. You don’t have to worry about blizzards, shoveling, snow days, or sub-zero temperatures. The weather reports are so boring where you live, it’s a wonder the meteorologist doesn’t fall asleep on the job. Eighty degrees and sunny all week, every week is not all that interesting. You may even have become a bit snobby about your warm weather location, boasting without reservation on social media while the rest of us suffer chronic hypothermia and mid-winter depression.

Maybe I’ve become bitter about the weather situation where I live. Literally. Because I’ve not-so-affectionately coined a phrase for all the warm-climate snobs out there. Weather Wimps.

Yes, Weather Wimps. You may never have to scrape ten-inch thick ice sheets from your car windows while icicles form in your nostrils and your long johns freeze to your thighs, but you don’t know what it is to endure the harsh reality of inclement winter weather. We in the Midwest are durable. We know how to survive the breath-choking heat of summer and the bone-chilling cold of winter, all in the same year—sometimes in the same month. We know how to layer up, and we know how to cool down. And our city infrastructure doesn’t shut down over a light dusting of snow.

You Weather Wimps will never know the rewards of our great suffering. Out here, we appreciate spring. We don’t take the sun for granted. The first green tree buds of the year are enough to make us pause and breathe thanks. A fragrant flower is not to be ignored. After a few months of frostbite-inducing cold, we wear a spring breeze like a royal garment. The heat of summer soon scorches relentlessly, but we get to witness an explosion of fall colors and treasure the crisp autumn air in the months to follow.

Midwestern weather patterns more realistically resemble human relationships. In every relationship, there’s the newness of spring, the scorching heat of summer, the beautiful yet mournful death of fall, and the frigid winds of winter. Weather Wimps, beware. If you approach relationships the way you approach your weather reports, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. No relationship is as perfect as a Southern California day. Relationships are rough-hewn and rugged. More like…a typical Chicago forecast.

True love is unfailing. It doesn’t cave when storms rush in. It doesn’t hibernate when emotions run cold. It’s as steadfast as a Midwesterner trapped in a polar vortex. Weather Wimps, take heed. You may be gloating over there, in your heated outdoor pool while we shovel our walks for the thousandth time. But you have something to learn from us Midwesterners. And it’s not just about the weather.

True Love…is UNFAILING (Day 27, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)