We are in the thick of it… It’s gloomy and cold and snowing at least once a week.
It’s winter in the Midwest, and each year my itch to relocate to a place made for palm trees grows exponentially. According to my calculations, snow should be present for approximately three weeks. Then it is no longer acceptable. We can get through the “White Christmas” holiday fun, but once January hits, blizzards and ice need to get the (snow) boot!
And it was during one of my venting sessions with Jesus about Illinois weather, that I noticed something remarkable. It had just snowed for the 1,000th time and the trees were outlined perfectly in a soft white frosting. The sun shone at just the right angle and turned the landscape into a spectacle of shimmering glory. As I drove past in my black minivan I couldn’t help, but think, “I might actually miss this…”
Because in reality, winter isn’t all bad. Some people like living in these cold climates and truly look forward to winter! I seriously doubt I will ever be at that level because… flip flops. But living with this season for over 30 years of my life has actually taught me a few things (Besides de-icing a car like a boss). And I can prove it.
Here are the top five things I’ve learned from winter:
1.) Beauty really can be anywhere.
We may not like everything (or most things) about our circumstances, but God has a way of shining His light into even the gloomiest of places. Sometimes our perspectives are so fixated on the negative, we forget to keep our eyes open for the positive. We forget to look for the good and the blessings and the unexpected. Does that mean we can’t be honest about how we feel and how we are struggling? Of course not. But we can turn our eyes towards the One who can transform our minds and help us see His beauty right where we are.
2.) Winter makes us thankful for the Spring!
Sometimes you realize how wonderful life is because you have come out victorious from the other side. You’ve experienced the down and the gritty, and now you’ve lived to tell the tale. The cold days of winter make sunny spring days and warm summer mornings that much sweeter. God doesn’t long for His children to endure hardships… what parent does?! But because we live in a world vastly different from the perfection of Eden, we will encounter the muck. Yet, the gracious promises of Jesus point us towards His kind redemption, and as walk through our winter seasons, we will remember. We will remember what is was like, and we will be all the more grateful for our spring.
3.) Life is always changing…
A winter here in the Midwest can go from -20 degrees and icing to 50 degrees and sunshine all within the matter of 24 hours. It’s pretty insane. My closet is full of coats, ranging from parkas to light fall jackets. It just goes to show that every day can be something different. In an uncanny manner, winter has taught me to welcome unpredictability. A blizzard may be coming, but it’s not the final chapter. You never know what tomorrow may bring, and with God in control, a bright future can always be on the horizon.
4.) It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
My kids are obsessed with the snow. They will withstand the bundling and the triple-layering just to get out there and build a snowman for 10 minutes. When they see the flakes peacefully falling, they always say, “Look Mama! It’s so pretty!” I’m dreading shoveling the driveway, they’re enjoying the simple delights. Leave it to the kids to point out the obvious. I’ve been adult-ing for so long, I’ve forgotten to place myself in their tiny shoes and embrace the small things that bring such happiness to others. I may not think winter is amazing, but my kids can see this season from multiple perspectives. And it’s time I start taking notice, especially when my eyes are unknowingly out of focus.
5.) This season won’t last forever…
Unless you consciously choose to live in some arctic part of the world, the winter times will inevitably pass. There are moments when we think we are stuck… when we think things are just meant to stay the same and there’s no way around it. But seasons are just that… they are periods of time, however long or short, that morph into the next stage in life. Even if we feel stagnant, we can trust that our God moves mountains and He is always moving on behalf of His children. There’s an inspiring verse I like to cling to when I sense my spirit deflating.
“… But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” (Romans 8:24)
It’s so encouraging to me because hope is all about trusting God for what lies ahead, not for what we already have. It takes courage to choose hopefulness over hopelessness, but God has made it abundantly clear that as we wait on Him, we can do so with confident expectation of His goodness. We know the heart of our Jesus is loving and His intentions are kind. So even if it’s uncomfortable, we can place our dreams and desires in the safest place possible… in the hands of a great God. His BEST will lead to our best days, and we get the crazy opportunity to witness miracles only He can do.
So yes… winter isn’t my favorite. But it has taught me a lot. And maybe if you are a tropical-loving human like myself, this list can give you some hope too.
Because trust me, dear friend. His faithfulness will see us through.
Through this season and every season to come.