Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When winter drags on

Late February, and it looks like the groundhog was right. Six more weeks of winter.

In my yard, daffodils hold their petals to themselves, waiting for a more opportune time. Camellia buds barely revealing color are still wound tight. Even the Lenten roses seem to draw back.


Flakes drift down. And our biggest snowfall may still be in the days ahead.

I can’t say a word from my southern nest, while my northern neighbors are literally buried under mounds of white with roofs caving in, and precipitation totals approaching record amounts.

About this time of year, we’re tired of the snowflakes that excited us back in December.  However much we welcomed the cooler temperatures last fall after a hot summer, we’re now hoping for the mercury to rise again. Our gloves need washing, our scarves are frayed, boots need attention, and our winter coats are due for a cleaning.  

Winter drags, and we want to hear, “The winter is past . . .”

Even as I type, I wear a thick vest, my fingertips are cold and numb, and I have a space heater blasting to combat the central heat leaking out through these sunroom windows.

I’m listening closely for “The winter is past . . . “

And if I’m honest, I’m hoping for spring in ways other than just the weather.

Ever have a challenging season in your life that just won’t seem to end, where difficulty piles on difficulty? Where the unresolved continues to be unresolved.

Yet, I know God works in the winter and sometimes the most wonderful things he does are unseen, locked away under what appears to be a frozen crust of dormancy.
There will be a day, when the cold has passed, flowers unfurl their petals, the rain has gone, and birdsong rises. It’s coming, but in the mean time, we do what people of faith do. We sing in the rain, we warm ourselves in His spirit, and we give thanks for what may be that one solitary bird that still sings. We focus on the beauty of the season even in the midst of heartache. And we welcome what he does in us through the cold days.

Just a few feet away from that heater in my office sits this plant.

My husband heard me say I'd always wanted a flowering quince for our yard, so he bought me one for Valentine's Day. It blooms when the winter is still hard and spring is weeks away. I didn't put it outside right away, because the weather was so cold, and the heat inside has forced it into full bloom. I guess now, I'll have to keep it in until temperatures moderate, but meanwhile, on these grey days I'm getting the full benefit of its beauty.

The plant keeps me remembering that God will bring spring. And it will bear the amazing fruit of what we allow him to do in us through the winter.

“Look around you: Winter is over; the winter rains are over, gone! Spring flowers are in blossom all over. The whole world’s a choir—and singing! Spring warblers are filling the forest  with sweet arpeggios.  Lilacs are exuberantly purple and perfumed,  and cherry trees fragrant with blossoms” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13The Message).

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