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Even in winter...

I know it’s possible, but how is it possible to have snow starting already?

I’m not ready!  I just got used to Fall and the return of pumpkin spice lattes and boots and sweaters and harvest time!  I want more pumpkins and more nights around the fire and more cool fall mornings with the windows open and the fresh air rolling through the house.  

But suddenly it seems we’re catapulting into long underwear weather and while the peppermint mochas are truly divine, I’m not ready for this.  I’m not ready for snow and slush and ice.  I’m not ready to become a winter hermit.  I’m not a trek-through-the-snow kind of girl.  I suppose having a near fatal car accident on iced-over roads will do that to a person.  But regardless, snow is pretty, but it always sticks around for so long.  And those hazy winter skies!  Looking up in hopes of finding bright sun and billowy clouds will be met with that depressing haze of winter.  I can feel the dark cloud on my head already.

I'm.  Not.  Ready.  

I am finding that internally I am fighting it so hard.  Which is pointless, because who has ever been able to stop the seasons?  But I was just getting used to the trees changing into beautiful and just this past Wednesday I was speeding along to choir practice and was literally silenced and awestruck by the brilliance of the sun bounding off the golds and the reds of the fancy trees along the way.  

And I think today... it’s so easy to worship when it’s beautiful like that.  To see God’s hand.

It’s another thing in winter to find the beauty and to hang onto it.  But more than that.... to appreciate winter for what it is and not just use it as something to get through so we can leap and hop into springtime.  Is there a way to love the season of winter, even as we’re eyeing the calendar and dreaming about tulips?  Is there a way to love the sleet and the long socks and being snowed in without constantly looking back and dreaming of September?

This all snowballed (pun intended) this morning after my husband called to make sure I wasn’t headed out.  There was some slush on the roads and he was going to caution me if I was planning on going anywhere.  We’re not, but of course I appreciate the diligent care.  But then a few seconds later he texts, “SNOW!” and I respond instantly, automatically, "Nooooo!"  No to winter and no to ice and no to the cold and no, no, no to this season of change.  Just no.  No, thank you.  

It’s amazing how the lessons are always all around.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been presented with a set of circumstances that was not ideal.  Beyond that, it was not what we were led and encouraged to believe and so we rolled through the typical emotions of frustration and some bitterness and a little anger.  Those betrayed pinballs pinging around our disappointed plans.  We tried to just coast through it as best as we could, but the fact remains, and more clearly today: change is coming.  We can brace ourselves all we want.  We can put on a good face.  We can own the irritation and the cause and put it to rest.  We can prepare for the winter blast, but it’s still going to come.  

The undercurrent of stress has gotten to both of us.  I thought I was merely worn down from mothering and traveling, but when I noticed my better half struggling and showing similar signs of wear, it was a floodlight: we’re going through something.  And I take comfort that we’re in it together and we’re both weathering the signs together.  Leaning into positives.  But we're still trekking and our legs are tired.

We’re exhausted and drained.  I’ve been too tired for the past two weeks to draw the bubble bath I keep saying I need.  He’s been too beat to do anything but collapse on the couch, dozing off even during his favorite shows.  The anxiety, the winds of change... it knocked the wind out of our sails.  Just a little.

Last week in preparation for a Mary & Martha gathering I was hosting, I scrolled the message, “Keep Calm & Give Thanks” on my chalkboard tray.  I left it sitting in it’s home on my stovetop, ready for the party to come later over the weekend.  I’m a very much “count your blessings” kind of girl and so it was an easy message for me to pen.  I’ve done it before.

But a few days later as we were discussing the winds of change to come, my husband said he had taken note of the message I had written when he had come down for a snack earlier.  He told me, “I just looked at that and thought: that’s exactly right.  We have no need to worry about this.  We just need to stay calm and give thanks for the blessings we have.  It’ll all work out.  Maybe this is all a blessing in disguise.”

Who knew that such a little thig... just one falling leaf... or snowflake... or white chalk on a black board, could bring peace?  Just a small reminder that the God of everything is always the God of everything.  Seasons in, seasons out.  With flowers pushing up through the damp ground or with a blanket of snow and ice compounding the earth.  Whether the leaves are on the tree or they are raked into a pile.  He remains God.  

And He remains good.  

Even then.

"Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them 
up a g a i n tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from 
danger's view this time
Or  maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case...
We'll give thanks to You
With  g r a t i t u d e 
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view 
if no roof is overhead 
And if we never taste that bread..."

~ Nichole Nordeman, Gratitude


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