When Winter has Overstayed its Welcome

According to my calendar, the first day of Spring was supposed to be 2 weeks and 3 days ago, and I am starting to think that it never got the memo.
I’m not sure what it has been about this winter, but it has felt like it has more than overstayed its welcome.

There has been multiple  days these past weeks where the sun has shone bright from behind the clouds and I have begun to anticipate the coming of buds on trees and the warmth of a new season. However, more than once,  I have been utterly  disappointed by my poor judgement as I have woken up to more snow that had fallen the night before, often leaving behind a grey & dreary sky in its wake.
This might sound a bit melodramatic – but seriously –  silent tears have been shed this winter as I smiled and wished friends and family well who have escaped to places like Mexico and Hawaii for some sort of reprieve.
I, on the other hand, have remained here – wearing a ridiculous amount of layers and  dreaming about someplace warm by looking up vacations-that-aren’t-going-to-happen on Google. *Sigh*

Maybe you can relate?

As I think of my deep longing for spring to finally arrive (and with it, the glory of green grass, bare feet, sunshine, and flip flops) I think about the ‘spiritual seasons’  that we go through in life and sometimes our longing for one season to end and the next one to begin.

This past autumn,  I ran into a sweet friend that I had made when I spoke and did music at a ladies retreat the previous year.  After a few moments of visiting and catching up – she shared a picture that was on her heart for me and described seeing my feet in the snow with snowshoes on. I remember her looking at me and saying, “I don’t know how long this winter season is going to last for you, but I sense that you have been trudging through deep snow and  I believe that God doesn’t mean for you to walk through the snow like that. I think He wants you to put on snowshoes so that you can walk on top of the snow for as long as you are in this season.”

Those  words that she spoke to me that day were extremely profound for my heart. In the Winter Seasons that we go through in life, we can often feel like we are trudging through deep snow, simply trying to get through and hold on until a new season is upon us. But what if God never calls us to “trudge?”

Isaiah 43:1-2 says this:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
For I AM the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

and Paul exhorts us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,11,16-18:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh…. So we do not lose heart….For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

Friends – the winter seasons of life are guaranteed to us by God – but we do not need to trudge through these seasons like ones without hope. Not only do we have the presence of God with us in these times, but we can hold fast to the reality that the Spirit of God is forming the life of Jesus in us because of these seasons.

Let’s be honest though – for some reason I will more often than not choose to trudge rather than putting on snow shoes; I will choose to  focus my eyes on the dreariness of winter instead of asking God to open my eyes to the work that He is doing in the winter seasons with the knowledge that Spring will indeed come in its proper time.

I don’t know how long our winter seasons might last for, but I do think its about time that we put on our snowshoes and start asking God to open our eyes to His presence, and give Him permission to work His life into our hearts in difficult seasons.

And you know what? Spring is indeed coming.

And as we wait in anticipation, we trust that there is much life that is being formed underneath the cold hard ground of winter; new life being formed in hearts that are weary in the waiting. For we have a God that has promised to complete what He has begun within us (Philippians 1:6). And when spring does come? May it be a time of sweet celebration as we see the work that God has done within our hearts.

… and sometimes God’s best work is done in the longest winters.

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