Tag Archives: winter

Missing Spring

When I lived in Chicago, my favorite season was spring. It was exciting, thrilling, invigorating to see green peeking up under the gray, drab snow. The budding trees, the tulips, the daffodils, the grass, long dormant, perking up to a warm emerald once again. Even the air smelled differently – infused with the faintest hint of wildflowers and roses long before the temperature rose above 50!

Despite the calendar heralding the beginning of spring, it is still winter in my heart. The hush is profound just like newly fallen snows silences the world. Naturalists tell us winter is preparation; there is growth going on underneath the surface. I don’t see it in myself…not right now. So, I resist the stillness, hoping my heart will not become more bruised than it already is.

Early Spring FlowersDuring the winter seasons of my life, I wonder if I’m valuable to God. Am I doing anything significant? How am I contributing? It is during winter I wonder why God has abandoned me, let me down, replaced conversation with mind-numbing quiet. I want to will myself into spring, into the season of enormous growth, of riotous color, of warming sunshine, so I keep busy. But that never works.

I try to see winter as necessary. While we both see my struggles, God sees more than that. He sees the growth within the stillness. The season of preparing. The repairing of my heart so when spring finally arrives, I will be able to grow, to bear fruit, to give.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 states: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” If you are in winter right now, you long for spring to replace the fallow ground with verdant fields. Despite the fickleness of the changing seasons in our heart, there is one constant. God loves us. He knows our circumstances. He understands our needs and our desires. Every day, forever, He is our companion, caring for us in ways we can’t comprehend. Every day, always.

Take heart, my fellow travelers in winter. Grab a hold of God’s hand. He will lead you into the spring waiting just over the horizon.


October is next week; the beginning of fall. It’s a season I do not relish. I don’t rejoice in what it is: brilliant colors, snuggling in sweaters, hot apple cider taking off the chill. I merely view it as the start of winter. And in doing so, I miss the best part of fall. Instead of enjoying its treasures, I make it into something it was never meant to be. White Birch in Front of Maple Trees

Last night, Richard and I talked over dinner. Dinners are tough for me; they zap me of my energy. Every day, day in and day out, all that preparing and work for something that is over in 30 minutes. When I’m by myself, I don’t mind having a sandwich for dinner. For a larger, more elaborate meal, I fail to see the creativity combined with the nourishment. The drudgery slows my heart and weighs me down.

I’ve tried this past month to make healthy meals, different meals, even some fun meals. I thought I was doing well. Then Richard complains. All the energy leaves me. His mother, for example, only went to the store once a week. She planned all her meals for the week ahead of time, got all her supplies in one trip and never had to go to the store in between. Why can’t I be more like his mother? The words chafe. I can’t be more like his mother because I’m not.

Why do we do that? Compare people to others; want them to be something they are not? I’m not sure, but I wish we’d stop it.

My sister is a Martha Stewart type. All the preparation, all the planning energizes her. Her meals aren’t like mine; they are lavish, orchestrated events. She tackles recipes that would leave me flattened. Why can’t you be more like her? I’ve heard it all my life.

Do we compare others because of something we are missing in ourselves? Not sure. But I have felt forced into a mold when all I wanted to be was free. I’ve felt beat up by images of what others want me to be. Not a better me, but a different me. A me I was never created to be. Rather I want to be winging my way, liberated and light, towards who I really am. I don’t want to be assessed. I want my words, ideas and dreams to bring pleasure to my Lord; not be tamed by some arbitrary human evaluation. I want to be appreciated for the best parts of myself.

We fracture community when we compare. We find the weak points in another and tear at them. Does that make us feel better about ourselves? Shouldn’t we just rejoice because we are together, that we are close? Can’t we use our communication, our words, to deepen intimacy?

I was never meant to be a weak imitation of someone else just as autumn was never meant to be the poor stepchild of winter. God is all over the details of my life. He smiles at the times when I am truly me. When I laugh at something no one feels is funny; when I cry because the sorrow cuts quick to the pain in my heart; when I give thanks for something deeply moving to me; those are the times God rejoices and says, “It is very good.” If you do one thing today, celebrate someone for the truly marvelous person God made them to be. Give the world that. Be the audacious, untamed someone who breaks out of the mold by giving others the courage to just be themselves.


The saying goes: “Silence is golden.” And yet, to me, silence is confounding. In one sense, it is beautifully laden with potential and possibility. But is also a void – mysterious and empty – waiting hauntingly to be filled.  ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Lately, I’ve been thinking how my silence on this page has been perplexing. To be sure, a lot happened since my last blog entry months ago. I spent most of the time freezing in Illinois, had deep, moving conversations with a great group of friends, worked diligently on a house project and after too many wintry, sunless days, learned that I honestly can’t live without that magnificent, warming orb.

Quite frankly, the days were rich with inspiration for writing. But I never felt compelled to sit down at my laptop and pound out a blog entry. I’d like to say I was just too busy, but somewhere between the bitterness of my confusion and the sweetness of God’s redemptive tenderness, I became afraid of the cursor.

Most writers have it: the fear they’ll finally make time to sit down to write, open a document, but then stare, maybe for hours, at a blinking cursor deeply frustrated that the words won’t come. But for me, starting a new entry has always been exciting. It felt freeing to fill that page with juicy words, ripe with meaning. There was always a hidden joy of tapping into my internal creativity. And even though God’s fingerprints were all over my life these past months, opening myself up was impossible. I was empty and fragmented from the intense dilemma I created for myself.

You see, being a writer requires you become more skilled with each work: richer imagery, better phrasing, more precise word usage. It demands your creativity become rounder, deeper and open-hearted. That’s part of the hard task of writing: to hone your voice to one worth listening to in increasing measure with every page. Writing requires both the very methodical skill of grammar and syntax and a burning passion about the story.

And all that means every time you sit down to write, you grapple with your own sense of worthiness. And in the deep silence of a northern Illinois winter, I just didn’t feel worthy.

That’s when God, more than me, said “Enough!” He reminded me of something fundamental I had forgotten: You can’t get better if you don’t write!

And so I finally am sitting down to write with renewed passion hoping to find the words to say that will bring hope and joy to someone else. That will make them feel like they are one tiny bit less alone, to erase their unworthiness and scream what I learned during this confounding spell of silence, “You are not wrong for being who you are!”