Winter

Time, Precious Time

beyond_meltingsnowIt’s easy to take things for granted—like snow in the wintertime. Out here, it’s as expected as the turning of the calendar from December to January, to February. Expected, but not guaranteed. Just like the precious time we have with our children. The more I realize how quickly the snow melts away, the more I want to treasure each moment before it, too, melts away.

 

Photo Credit: File:Звуки тающего снега.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Advertisements

Before the Snow Melts

Blog_MeltingSnowIt’s fascinating to observe how different the perspective of a child is from that of an adult. Take snow, for instance. For a child, it means endless hours of fun. For an adult, it means endless hours of shoveling.

When it snowed Thanksgiving weekend, my kids begged my husband and me to take them sledding. Exhausted from the busy school year and ready to relax for at least one day of break, I suggested some lower-key, indoor activities. “It’s not even winter yet,” I reasoned. “We have a few months of snow ahead of us. Plenty of time for sledding.”

I didn’t expect it would only snow a few times after, and hardly enough for sledding. The one time we had what seemed to be a sufficient amount, I was the one telling my kids we had to get outside “before the snow melts”. We got to the hill and they made it down only a few times before they were sledding on grass and caked in dirt.

As I look through our winter pictures spanning the past few years, I see how time is like the snow—so quickly melting away, the kids growing with each passing year. It won’t be long before they’ve outgrown sledding and are complaining about shoveling. Makes me want to hold all the more tightly to these innocent years.

It’s easy to take things for granted—like snow in the wintertime. Out here, it’s as expected as the turning of the calendar from December to January, to February. Expected, but not guaranteed. Just like the precious time we have with our children. The more I realize how quickly the snow melts away, the more I want to treasure each moment before it, too, melts away.

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”)

The Big Freeze

When I go to a department store in Midwest sub-zero temperatures, I expect to find hats, scarves, and warm mittens. Maybe even some thick long johns, if I’m lucky. Swimming isn’t usually on my family’s radar until the end of May. Where we live, January and February are best spent hibernating indoors. So when the arctic wind accompanies me through the automatic doors of the local store, I’m more than a little confused when I see swimsuits hanging on the racks where there should be something, anything to keep us all…warm.

Never mind that half the swimsuits on display lack sufficient material for summer coverage. If I even tried to jump in a pool in February, I’d transform on impact into an ice sculpture. What I’d really like to do is write the store managers behind the winter swimsuit displays and ask them if they actually live here in the Midwest. Because if they did, they’d know we don’t need swimsuits just about now. We need down coats and thermals.

This world can be a cold place. Even if you live in California. Or Hawaii. The bitter winds of life are strong enough to freeze a heart. And only love has the power to usher in life-giving warmth.

True love is relevant. It sees a need, and meets it—whether it be a kind word, a listening ear, a meaningful gift, or practical provision. It’s not like the Midwestern store owners who lack the relevance to meet their frozen customers’ actual needs. Love observes and understands, listens, hears, and sees—enough to know the deepest needs in a person’s life.

So when someone comes looking for encouragement or comfort, I hope they don’t find the equivalent of department store swimsuits in the sub-zero Midwest winter. My prayer is that my words and actions will bring warmth enough to usher a mid-winter thaw into a frozen heart—that what I say and do will wrap them in the life-transforming power of love.

Source: The Big Freeze

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)

The Big Freeze

Blizzard from Google Images When I go to a department store in Midwest sub-zero temperatures, I expect to find hats, scarves, and warm mittens. Maybe even some thick long johns, if I’m lucky. Swimming isn’t usually on my family’s radar until the end of May. Where we live, January and February are best spent hibernating indoors. So when the arctic wind accompanies me through the automatic doors of the local store, I’m more than a little confused when I see swimsuits hanging on the racks where there should be something, anything to keep us all…warm.

Never mind that half the swimsuits on display lack sufficient material for summer coverage. If I even tried to jump in a pool in February, I’d transform on impact into an ice sculpture. What I’d really like to do is write the store managers behind the winter swimsuit displays and ask them if they actually live here in the Midwest. Because if they did, they’d know we don’t need swimsuits just about now. We need down coats and thermals.

This world can be a cold place. Even if you live in California. Or Hawaii. The bitter winds of life are strong enough to freeze a heart. And only love has the power to usher in life-giving warmth.

True love is relevant. It sees a need, and meets it—whether it be a kind word, a listening ear, a meaningful gift, or practical provision. It’s not like the Midwestern store owners who lack the relevance to meet their frozen customers’ actual needs. Love observes and understands, listens, hears, and sees—enough to know the deepest needs in a person’s life.

So when someone comes looking for encouragement or comfort, I hope they don’t find the equivalent of department store swimsuits in the sub-zero Midwest winter. My prayer is that my words and actions will bring warmth enough to usher a mid-winter thaw into a frozen heart—that what I say and do will wrap them in the life-transforming power of love.

True Love…is RELEVANT (Day 14, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)