Saturday, February 5, 2011

Who's Tired of Winter?

It appears the Winter of 2011 will go down in history books as one of the snowiest winters on record. All across the country folks are seeing back to back snowfalls, some for the first time in years. The daily weather forecast is dreaded instead of anticipated. Whether it is yet more snow to shovel or the seemingly endless dreary cloudy days,  a common thread is heard in many conversations. "I am tired of winter!"

Winter being my least favorite season to begin with, this year has been a definite challenge when it comes to keeping a positive outlook. When everyone around me is talking about the next snowfall, I try to tune out the conversation. Almost as if I don't talk about it, then it won't happen. Fat chance, hey?

The arrival of February changes my perspective a bit. I can tell myself spring arrives next month (funny how that makes such a difference). Seed catalogs begin arriving in the mail and simply by browsing through the pages, I think about the warm sunny days ahead and my garden abloom with assorted flowers. For you see, I know that spring always follows winter. I know that the seeds and roots that, for now, lie dormant beneath the frozen ground are simply awaiting the warmth of spring to send their new growth upward. The physical reality of changing seasons can not be denied.

Likewise, the spiritual reality of changing seasons in our lives can not be denied. There are times when we feel like we are walking through a never ending winter season. We see and feel nothing but dreariness, as though we are enveloped in a dark cloud. But the same God who designed the flow of changing seasons is the same God who cares for us through the changing seasons of our lives.

I can not physically see the new blooms that will appear in my garden in a few months but, based on what I have seen over several years I know that they will be beautiful. Each year my garden evolves. Some plants return like old friends, others are divided and shared with friends. Then there are spots where I place new plants, eager to see how their addition affects the overall beauty of the garden.

When I find myself in a spiritual winter season, I can't possibly know how God is going to bring me through it and what beauty awaits on the other side of it. But by remembering His faithfulness in previous dreary seasons, my hope is rekindled and strengthened. I am reminded that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His love has not grown cold, His mercy and grace are as bountiful as ever.

And so, just as I choose to tune out the 'gloom and doom' conversations around me about one more winter storm, I also must choose to tune out the 'gloom and doom' conversations I carry on in my mind when it seems I am stuck in a spiritual winter. Instead, I will choose to remember my God's past faithfulness. I will recount the ways He has blessed me. I will stand on His promises that He will continue to do so.

Until then....I wait for spring!

Are you traveling through one of those spiritual winters? I invite you to get out your own seed catalog and look at the pictures. As you do, think about the blessings that God has showered on you over the years. Just as the pictures of colorful flowers and enticing vegetables remind you of sunnier days ahead, allow your remembrances of God's past faithfulness in your life bring a smile to your face and a brighter outlook in your heart today.


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