I've lived in Kentucky for 3.5 years now, and I've never experienced such a cold winter here before.
Last winter, we didn't get a single snowflake to stick, and I'm almost certain that it didn't drop below 25 degrees F at all. But so far this season, we've had several consecutive days where the temperature won't even reach 20 degrees F. And though I should be used to cold days because I'm native to Colorado, it's still hard to miss warmer weather when I can't feel my toes most of the day.
And I suppose it’s only natural to long for spring when life around us seems cold and barren.
But last year, God walked me through a quiet lesson about the importance of rest and solitude. He reminded me that there's a purpose for winter —a time to rest and let seeds lie dormant as we wait for the right conditions to grow.
He reminded to look around to see the patterns and promises found in each season.
In this part of the country, the leaves don't stay green.
And they fall beautifully each October.
And each winter, the trees rest as they make way for spring.
Winter remains unhurried and unconcerned. And yet, spring comes like a promise each year, and we can await its return joyfully.
And until it comes, we can settle until winter. After all, this season forces us to snuggle up a little closer, and to sip our tea a little slower, and to savor the sheet of white that is here today and will surely melt away tomorrow.
I've learned that just as winter is good to the earth, waiting is good to the soul.
We've all felt that pressure to produce, to sustain growth, to prove that we are not wasting any bit of our precious time. But if time really is precious, then why do we spend it on things that leave our bodies and minds weary and dissatisfied?
Though I've never really been an over-achiever, I did spend most of my life worrying that if I didn't make more art, if I didn't move up in my workplace, if I didn't work hard or fast enough, I would fall behind. I thought that I needed to be in a constant state of growth.
But the funny thing is that when I look outside my window today, I see barren trees and snow-covered sidewalks. I see how nature is full of pauses and bursts of growth that come and go in patterns and seasons. And trying to keep up springtime growth when it's supposed to be winter just sounds wrong.
For both the earth and our precious lives.
So today, let's take a look outside. Let's remember that it's okay to slow down, or to stop. Let us pay attention to the season of our own hearts, knowing that we can find rhythm, purpose, and promise when we settle into barren and abundant alike.
“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:
A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part.”
A time for winter and a time for spring.
I so appreciate you being here! I wrote these words for you, and I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
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