I’ve always been a spring and summer kind of girl.
Sun shining, warm weather, flowers everywhere, late nights with clear stars shining and family get togethers! To me, they’re the happiest seasons! Just thinking about them puts a smile on my face!
From the first sign of Spring I can feel my mood becoming brighter and my thoughts beginning to revolve around things like strawberries and lemonade and fireworks.
But as I turn my clock forward an hour and the darkness of winter fades away there is something else that I feel…
Hope of new, vibrant life after a season of death.
The darkness of winter has always sat heavy upon me like a cold, wet blanket. All of the life that was once so vibrant around me is suddenly stripped bare. The sky turns grey, the days become short, and the harsh bite of the cold wind sends an ache through my bones and keeps me shut up inside.
Winter, with all its harsh, bitter storms, has symbolized pain and darkness to me for a while now. Perhaps it is because the last several winters life has stretched me across the months so thinly, I end up entering March like a dried up sponge, greedily soaking up every last ray of sunshine before the sun sets. It is as though the rays of spring melt away the ice covering my heart and the buds on the trees reflect the life that is being reborn within me.
And just how Spring causes the trees to bring forth new life after their leaves have withered and died, Jesus brings a Spring into my heart and brings all the dead parts back to life.
Spring brings hope because spring is a time of resurrection.
Isn’t it beautiful that God designed the seasons of the year to mirror the seasons of our lives?
The last few years have been a series of many changing seasons for me. I’ve gone from a part time working student, engaged to be married and still living at home, to a full time working wife, and now to my current stage as a full time stay at home mom. Each of these different life stages has brought many ups and downs. Good times and bad times. Painful changes and exciting ones. But regardless of things being good or bad, there has been a lot of transitioning going on the last few years.
The thing about transitions is that they always involve letting go of something in order to obtain the next thing. By entering into marriage, we let go of the immediate familial relationship with our parents. Upon becoming a parent, we let go of our independence. When we move to a new town, we must leave everything behind. Often times, we don’t think about what we are losing due to the transition in life because what we are gaining is so wonderful. However, after time has passed and reality begins to sink in a bit, we realize that although much has been gained, much has also been lost.
This process is often very painful and the reason why change can be so scary. However, it has been in the dark, lonely nights of winter that God has been gently teaching me that these seasons of transition are not to be scorned but embraced.
I have wrestled with Him, begging for everything to be normal, demanding that I have it all- for I want everything I’ve gained but for nothing to be lost. I’ve daydreamed about the way things used to be, or the way things should be, anything to distract from the ache of the loss that I’m experiencing here and now. It is in these moments I hear His soft but firm and persistent reminder:
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP
But God, why can’t I have it all? Why does change have to leave me so broken, the loss leave me so empty?
His voice speaks again,
“It is in brokenness, that you will be made whole.”
I have learned that there are no flowers without rain. The soil of my heart must be must be raked and stripped bare in order for the new seeds to grow and flourish. The cold rain that pours down upon me is watering a harvest that will be richer than ever.
I am made empty so that He can fill me up.
We are currently in the season of Lent. For those of you who do not know what Lent is, it is the season before Easter that is set aside as a time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us because of our sin. During this time, Christians prepare their hearts for Easter, the resurrection and culmination of Christ’s victory over sin and death. Lent is an amazing opportunity to draw nearer to our Savior and allow Him to reveal our areas of sin and death so that we can experience the resurrection in a deeper way. Many Christians over the years have chosen to fast from something during the 40 days of Lent. The purpose of this fast is not a legalistic tradition, but a sacrifice of something dear that leaves a void when missing. A void that only Jesus can fill.
While I personally have not fasted from anything this Lent, I have been thinking a lot about how the stripping of our souls that takes place during Lent is so parallel to the Winters in our lives. In Lent, Jesus takes us to a place where we are empty and exposed before Him. Our sin and trials and weaknesses are all laid out before Him and our only hope is that Easter is just around the corner. In just the same way, it is in the wintery seasons of life that a part of us dies. However, just as we know that every year the seasons change, we can know that our Spring of healing, our Easter, is coming and will bring those dead parts back to life.
This is what has gotten me through the Winters in my life. While I love and long for the sunshine, I now know that it wouldn’t have the same richness and value to me if it were not for the seasons of darkness. Change and transitions of any kind can be painful, but they do not need to be feared! They are also not meant to be simply endured. God has us go through every season in our lives in order to make our Springs and Summers more beautiful and meaningful. If we are to get the most out of our trials, we must ask God what He is trying to reveal to us through the process. Otherwise, we will just be vainly suffering.
If you find yourself in a season of darkness, take heart! Your Spring is coming. He has said that, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.” Don’t forget that when things get stormy! : )
Here is a beautiful song that has really encouraged me through my many changing seasons. I pray it does the same for you.