A friend sent me this song this morning and it has been on repeat in my house today…Winter Snow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpHiAmL8-b0. Beautiful piano and lyrics… “You came like a winter snow…quiet and soft and slow.” There is something about seeing winter snow that makes us stop, clear what we had planned for the day, stand still and just watch…with childlike wonder as beautiful white flakes fall from heaven gently on our cheeks. It’s as if we reconnect with our childhood hearts for a minute.
Snow refreshes me in an unexpected way. It reminds me of the beauty in winter that I often want to miss. As someone who loves outdoors and sunshine, winter can be a challenging season for me. My life is overflowing with blessings for which I am so thankful, but there is something about this season that makes a tear fall faster and that makes belly laughter feel like a long distance friend rather than a constant companion. This season makes me more aware of cold and hurting people around me. Something in me can feel stuck and frozen and needing to melt. But I think the gist of the struggle is that I am just ready...ready for Spring. Ready for days when the sun doesn’t set at 5pm and my kids are not so very sick and we can stroll and see green buds on the trees and watch flowers bloom and smell spring air and feel completely alive outside again. We are ready for warmth and melting and rebirth and Easter that is 40 long days away.
There are many things I am ready for that I can often make happen with very little waiting. If I need something, I can go to Amazon, click a button and have it freely shipped to my door in two days. How I wish I could click a button for Spring and have it arrive at my door later this week. But it’s not like that with God. There is not one thing we can do to make a new season come any faster than it will. I am ready for something and its time has not come. And so I wait. Much like the cold, dark winter, there are seasons in our lives…seasons of mourning, of grief, of regret, of hurt, of pain, of darkness…and we want to expedite them. We want them to just move along faster. Or we want to fly away and escape. But Spring will not come a minute earlier despite our best efforts.
Recently I stared out my window at 4:30am. It was the anniversary of a hard day that God has sweetly restored in more ways than I could ask or imagine. I knelt in a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who makes all things new. And in those moments of reflection, I was caught off guard by the emotions I felt, and I wept. It was a day I needed a good cry. Some days I am just ready. Ready for Jesus to come back and take away all death and tears and pain forever. That morning, I felt as if Jesus lifted me up like a little child and held me. Usually it feels as if we are walking together, but sometimes, I just need to collapse and cry and let him carry me for a little while. It seemed as if dawn would never ever come. And when it did, it was the most glorious sunrise. Worth every minute of waiting. Worth every moment of the dark that was, at the moment of day break, a distant memory. The view out my window was completely new. And I was so thankful for those quiet moments with Him.
We are in a season of waiting aren’t we? We are brides waiting for our Bridegroom to come back for us. I recently heard someone explain marriage in ancient culture which helped me so much better understand Scriptures about our marriage to Christ. Here in the modern west, weddings are all about the bride. But in ancient Eastern culture, they were all about the bridegroom. He would come to his bride, make their marriage official and then go away for an unknown period of time to prepare for their wedding. He and his father would make preparations for this amazing day of union while she eagerly awaited the unknown day of his return. She would wait in expectant hope for the day she would officially live with the one promised to be hers forever. And just like her, we are waiting for Jesus to return. We are waiting for the new city where God will dwell with us. We are waiting to be reunited and stand face to face again with our Loving, Holy and Perfect Father. We are waiting for the end of all darkness, for all tears to be wiped away, for death to be swallowed up, for perfect justice to be administered, and for the One who has captured our hearts to come back and get us and bring us home.
I was reminded today about a reflection I wrote last February about winter snow and God’s beauty in the seasons, even in the winter and the waiting…
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
This tree is the tree that God used to write a love letter to me when Mary was born. Having never lived a Spring in our home, it caught us by complete surprise. We left for the hospital hardly noticing its green buds and came home two days later to the most beautiful display of soft pink blossoms you’ve ever seen. As we carried our baby girl up the sidewalk and stepped over the blanket of pink petals, we were covered from head to toe in this sweet, soft, glorious display of spring! “The voice of the Lord is majestic.” (Psalm 29:4)
Mary was born on the first day of Spring and her birth was a love letter to me from God. It marked a new season not only in nature but in my life. God used that first day of Spring to open my eyes to His amazing grace and to the new abundant life in Christ. “The old is gone, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I find myself in a bit of a winter season. Like the trees, I feel bare and run down. Desiring to feel God’s presence and walk out His purpose, but I’m just…tired. Rather than coast through the days as I do when things are going well, I have spent the mornings on my knees reading and praying and journaling the Psalms. The words have helped me articulate how I feel and God has gently lifted my head. “you bestow glory on me and lift up my head… to the Lord I cry and He answers me.” (Psalm 3:3-4)
Late last night, the power went out. I stepped outside to see what was happening not knowing how much it had been pouring snow. It was completely quiet and the ground was covered. It was magnificent and there in front of me was this tree. Wow. Completely dark outside with no power, no light from anywhere and… there it was, lighting up the whole yard with beautiful soft, white snow. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18) In the quiet, cold, deep, dark night, He comes… gently, like a whisper, magnificent and splendid, still and soft, bright and clear. “And after the fire, a still, small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11)
I stood in awe and stared at each branch and how brightly they all shone together. The small detail was amazing. God is amazing. He created that. “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” (Psalm 8:1) Sometimes I think of Him as a “Spring” God and want for winter to end. But it’s as if He said… “Shhhh, be still. I am here in the winter just the same. I am here and just as magnificent. On this cold, dark night I make light shine in the darkness. Step out and see what I have for you in this winter season. Embrace it. Behold it’s beauty.
Thank you Lord for the winter, for drawing me to my knees to call out for help and for lifting my head back to you. “Lift up your heads… that the King of glory may come in.” (psalm 25:7) Better than winter being over is knowing that You are here in it, and through it. You’re here, the same God, the same tree, the same voice. Your promises are true in every season.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
And so…we wait for Him, for the One who never changes, for the One who loves us so much He would rather die than live without us. For the One whose perfect love clothes us in robes of righteousness. We wait in expectant hope for the Bridegroom who is coming back for us, His beloved bride, to bring us home. And we lean into His never-changing beauty in this season.
“They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as spring rain.” Job 29:23
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6
“I am the bright Morning Star….
Behold, I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:16,12