Tag Archive | spring

A season of wintering

I’ve been asking myself the same question in these cold winter days: “Lord, what do you want to do in me?”

I’m not hearing any trumpet sounds or voices from the sky. I don’t know the answer to the question I ask. More often, I pause to wonder at the Living God’s plan and how He may be working through a situation I’d rather avoid. At least it gives me a change of perspective, and I need a new focus.

The three months since Thanksgiving 2021 were a semi-quarantine. Sweet William and I endured covid, then the death of my cousin, then a fractured ankle that kept me in an orthopedic boot for weeks. Activities were limited, and I resigned myself to be a homebody until I could move about freely. It’s been a season of wintering.

Weeks of confinement made me ponder my life, my schedule (or non-schedule), my time. I wondered what the lesson was. What was God trying to teach me in all of this?

As soon as the boot on my foot came off, I set about to resume activities, to fill my days with piano students, church, friends and family. Dental and doctor visits took another portion of days. It was time to catch up. When I looked at my bullet journal, I wondered why I’d packed so much into a week. Where is the blank space, the margin, the illusive “free day” I want and need?

As an introvert, I require blocks of solitude. I get up early each day to sit quietly, with coffee and the Scriptures in hand. My brain fires slowly in the morning. In the pre-dawn stillness, I read and write to process. Some days my processing has looked a little too much like a pity party. I don’t like that, but apparently, I’m working through my random, swirling thoughts, trying to make sense of them.

Lately, I’ve felt the strain of a full calendar. I noticed stress building. A week of appointments, necessary commitments, present and future responsibilities, and I feel my gut tightening. I blow out a heavy breath occasionally. My thoughts drift as I wander the house trying to do the next thing.

A friend texted recently, asked how I was doing with my cousin Candi’s death. As I typed my response, putting words to the state of my heart, I realized I’m not doing so good. I’ve thrown myself into activity, trying to resume a normal life after months of upheaval. Life has changed dramatically, and I’m trying to adjust. It leaves me with a pain I can’t simply ignore.

We cannot get away from the stress of an earthly existence. Life is hard, and I am of the opinion it is meant to be. The Sovereign God has not given us an easy-peasy life without conquests and challenges, hardships and adversity. We suffer pain, sorrow, and grief. We struggle to build a life, to achieve a goal, and to finish the work. I don’t believe He means it to damage or crush us. I trust His intention and promise to walk with me, to strengthen me on the journey, to build endurance into me, and to teach me compassion and understanding. I believe He means to be my One unshakable source of stability while the ground beneath me trembles. On days that are anything but easy, I learn to run to Him.

In the last three months, my body was sick and in recovery for longer than I wanted. My heart was/is broken by the death of one so dear, and I’m still walking that road. The fractured bone put limitations on me, making me think about this season of life, the aging process and how my body is changing with each passing year.

I think just asking the question, “Lord, what do you want to do in me?” is a prayer of sorts, a surrender to what He wants to do with my one wonderful life. Too often I’ve come kicking and screaming to His plan when it drastically changed my own. I’m a slow learner sometimes when it comes to submitting to His will.

Yet, in the deepest part of my heart, His will is exactly what I desire. I don’t want to go my own blind way, stumbling and fumbling along. I want His guiding hand, the gentle Shepherd’s leadership. I need the still waters, the restoring of my soul. I need to be made to lie down in green pastures when the captivity of activity drives me to distraction.

The Lord Jesus knows the way when I don’t see the next step. He calls me to rest when I’m too weary to think straight. He holds me together when the seams of my life begin to fray. He reminds me that the weight of the world rests on His shoulders, not on mine. He provides daily bread to sustain me. He gives sleep every night while He keeps watch.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair . . . “
— 2 Corinthians 4:8

This season of wintering will pass, and spring will come again. The world will continue as God ordained it until He comes to make all things new. Until then hard days, challenges, troubles, and tears will be part of this life. The Lord Jesus came to earth as a man to share my humanity and to experience life as I know it. He lived with the hope of a coming victory. Thus, I can live with the same victory, the hope of a promise fulfilled and a glorious future.

On a warm day this week, I walked with Maisie and looked for signs of life in the garden. I found tiny beginnings of peonies shared from a good friend last fall. The birds are singing louder in the little woods these days, as if they know something. I saw a couple of robins, and the purple and white crocuses are blooming beside the front porch. New life emerges as the season begins to change. Nature whispers to me, “Our God is in control.”

I read the Psalms at the beginning of this year. They become words to pray. The ancient letters speak for me and speak to me. They are a balm to my weariness. I need their voice of lament and understanding and hope and praise. They point me to the One and only who holds the world and all creation and will complete the purpose He has planned.

He is the same One who holds me, and He will do what is best in me, through me and for me.

40 Days – sort of

lentToday begins the season of Lent, a 40-day journey to Easter but does not include Sundays because they are “little Easters,” which actually equals to 47 days (according to my calculation).  Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the so-called last hurrah before Lent ushers in a time of sacrifice, self-searching, and often the practice of giving up something for the 40-day (47-day) interval.  The practice goes back hundreds of years.

The church tradition under which I grew up never practiced Lent.  As an older adult I was employed by a church that did celebrate the Lenten season, and I learned from them.  I pondered it but didn’t participate at first.  The following year, I decided to give up something for Lent.  Critical words.  I thought that wouldn’t be too hard.  Wrong.  I became painfully aware of how often my thoughts and words were quite reproachful.

It taught me a valuable lesson, not only about myself but about the preparation for the season, a looking toward the death, burial, and resurrection of the Savior of the world.

While I am a member of a church somewhere else now, a place that does not practice Lent, I find being in anticipation of the occasion is helpful.  A thoughtful journey toward the season of Passover and Resurrection Sunday may be just what is needed. If I truly want to be Christ’s follower, to love like He does, to listen and obey the Father’s will, then I should examine myself.

And the weeks before the Sunday called Easter is a good time to focus in that direction.  While we dig out of snow here in the south, I long for spring, the re-birthing of flower and tree.  How appropriate to envision the place of the soul without Christ in a deep winter while His gift of salvation is the hope of spring and new life.

Last year, I partnered with my sweet friend Robin to lead us on a 40-day journey to Passover and Resurrection Sunday.  I’d like to go there again and hope you will come along.

Would you be willing to  review and remember?  We watch reruns on TV or go with a friend to a great movie we just saw.  We read special books again. We listen to the same news over and over. And need I say anything about our favorite songs?

Perhaps a little repetition will be helpful. Perhaps truth will sink in, take root and bring forth fruit.

Our 40 days will begin next Wednesday, February 25 because I will be counting all the Sundays.  I hope you will travel with us.

Look for the introduction next Tuesday, February 24 and get ready for 40 days leading up to Passover and Resurrection Sunday starting February 25.

I don’t know about you, but I am longing for spring, new life, new beginnings.


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