Spring out of Winter

Spring is such a happy time of year, don’t you think? The pastel colors. Pops of red. And endless growing lime green.

But there’s one major thing that makes spring wonderful. Without it, spring wouldn’t even exist. That cold, bitter season many of us wish would discontinue.

Winter. Seriously, winter.

Now, South Carolina doesn’t have as long or brutal winters as my past homes in Northern Pennsylvania, New York, or New Jersey. Brrrrrr. Winter lasted from October to April. On my first anniversary – October 30th – we had a foot of snow. There were more than a few blizzards in mid-April too. But when May came to Pennsylvania…..oh, it was beautiful. Those first crocuses peak through the brown mud, and frost-covered tan grass. Sunny daffodils wave hello in the crisp winds. I appreciate spring. I NOTICE spring. The colors make me pause because they didn’t exist a few days ago.

Some tropical places don’t even get a spring. Sure, the calendar still holds the spring equinox. They celebrate the first day in late March, but spring can’t have physical evidence in nature. Without the cold, the trees don’t need to lose their leaves. Without the frost, the grass doesn’t disappear. Without a freeze, even the bugs don’t take a break.

Winter can be a season of rest. A season with no harvest. A season where we hold onto trust, hope, and faith. The trees appear dead, but we trust they’ll grow back in the spring. Those daffodils, hostas, irises, daylilies, etc. lay hidden in the ground, out of sight, and we have faith they’ll return with warmer temperatures.

Like those long winters in the north, sometimes life’s “winters” feel extra long. Maybe you’re waiting for an answer to your prayers. Maybe you feel like no one hears you, or listens to your cries. Maybe you feel like you’re in an endless loop of work, mundane responsibilities, or thankless jobs. You’re stuck in a cycle of laundry, dishes, errands, school, taking care of others, etc. Or, maybe, you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything because you see no evidence of making a difference.

I’ve lost count of how many “winters” I’ve endured. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been part of one endless winter with mere glimpses of sunlight through the thick clouds – that’s depression and I won’t dwell there, but I will say this: no matter how you feel; no matter how depressed or hopeless you feel… God never desires for you to stay in that place. NEVER. While wait periods, peace, rest times, and mourning seasons are normal, wallowing in pity, guilt, and anxiety aren’t meant for us. Depression and rest are two VERY DIFFERENT things.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3

That all being said, winter can definitely hold a lot of sorrow, trials, and turmoil we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. But, even those things can be used by God.

I bet the blind man in John chapter 9 felt like he was in an endless dark winter. He wasn’t resting, just waiting. Waiting for a spring he didn’t know was coming. Even the disciples thought he must deserve his predicament. Perhaps he was depressed. I know I would be if I had to sit stuck in the dirt on the side of the road. He was alone. No friends. No comforts. Then Jesus walks up and says He’s “the light of the world.”

Do you know what thing makes us notice light more?

I bet a blind person would know the answer.

I like to nickname my hubby “Andrew the bat.” I’ll usually call him this as I laugh at his squished face when I brighten our bathroom in the morning. He’ll be standing there at the sink, washing his face in pitch darkness. I’m sorry, but I need light to see where I’m going. Light illuminates the area, showing what we can’t see at night. And in that dark bathroom, the sudden flick of light calls attention to the brightness. The burst of colors momentarily blind us in their brilliance, and we acknowledge the light’s existence.

The bible doesn’t describe the moment the blind man found his sight. It simply says “he came home seeing.” I like to imagine he ran home with a spring in his steps, jumping for joy. He wasn’t shy in proclaiming the miracle to his neighbors, so we know he was excited. He appreciated the light because he knew what it was like to live in darkness. Like Jesus said in verse 3 “this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Knowing this story helps me look back at the “winters” and dark moments in my life in a new light, if you will. The sicknesses, depression, lost careers, deaths, disappointments, and valleys weren’t brought on because of sin or as a punishment… they were present so God’s work could be displayed in my life. Here, let me break it down in a simple list format:

Cancer caused me to thank God for health, and trust that “by His stripes, I am healed.”

The lack of having more kids naturally caused me to appreciate the one I do have. It also gave us the desire and opportunity to become foster parents and prospect adoption.

Depression caused me to appreciate joy. Joy everlasting. To seek out Psalms and the words of David when he also went through depression. I declared myself a woman after God’s own heart.

My failed careers each brought me to the place I am now. To quote Chariots of Fire: I feel God’s pleasure when I write. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, and can’t wait to see the next steps He has in store.

Each waiting period forces me into God’s word. Some people might need far less to get them to see, but I know I need a kick in the pants too many times. I need a winter to notice when an answer to prayer sprouts life. I need a dark valley to notice the bright morning joy.

When you look up the definition of spring, two examples say “originate or arise from” and “a sudden jump upward or forward.”

It’s time to arise, my friends. Rest when you need to, endure the trial if you’re currently in it, but don’t neglect your call to jump out of it. Don’t stay in winter. Sprout into spring. Grow from the difficulties. Arise from the ashes. It’s time to thrive and spread the joy everlasting!

A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. – Psalm 40:1-3

Silence Falls into Spring

The silence has lasted for too long.

It’s like the deafening quiet during a slow snow fall where the air is still and crisp and a white wonderland blankets the landscape like in an asylum’s solitary confinement.

Winter was so bloody long this year that I seriously felt like I was in solitary confinement at a psych ward.

I could blame my silence on this excruciatingly painful winter, but honestly I haven’t been blogging because any ounce of free time I get I’ve been either editing my book or querying agents! Even these moments have been too infrequent for my taste, but it’s been a roller coaster of a ride to say the least!!

First, I want to catch you all up on what I’ve been up to…

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Fine Arts took up the largest portion of these cold months. I helped 13 kids (2 separate groups) make it from the first round (sectionals) to the second round (districts).

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One of the two groups then made it on to the final round: Nationals!! This is a huge and highly sought after achievement. Sadly, due to the high cost of a week long trip to Houston Texas, they won’t be able to go on further. Next year the competition ends in Florida, so here’s praying funding will be more achievable for these deserving teens!

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We definitely had a ton of fun during our Fine Arts adventures! Especially during districts down in Hershey PA! 🙂

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We hosted Easter again this year!

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Our annual Easter egg hunt had to be conducted indoors for the first time. Ugh, have I mentioned how long this winter has been??

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(Taken on April 5th)

In late April Andrew took me to see my favorite band from my teenage years; the Newsboys! And these weren’t just the Newsboys of today…my favorite guys Peter Fuller & Phil Joel came back for this tour!!!!! Ahhhh, I was geeking out so hard!!

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The following weekend we visited Andrew’s best friend and his family down in Maryland. It is absolutely GORGEOUS down there and just the little family vacation we needed after our cold hibernation! Riker had a fun filled time with their 3 kids too which are all around his age. 🙂

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Riker has also been having a blast this year at Preschool. He’s growing up so fast that I’m getting whiplash!

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At Rock Solid Academy, I was a chaperone and a decorator at this year’s Prom! Our theme was “Enchanted Forest” and I’d say the kids had a blast, ALMOST as much as the chaperones! 😉

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Oh yes, and I made the cupcakes: Chocolate Espresso with Peanut Butter Frosting & Lemon w/ Raspberry Preserve Filling and Raspberry Frosting.

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Then, last weekend I held our annual Art Show!! HUGE success, especially since this year it was held at the same time as Rock Solid’s craft fair & talent show. Fantastic time and turnout despite the rainy weather. 🙂

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(And yes, that is my Doctor Who bag in the upper right corner.)

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I think Riker had fun too, lol…

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Also through Rock Solid Academy, a friend of mine who also happens to be the kindergarten & first grade teacher, asked if I could illustrate a book that her students were writing. I jumped at the opportunity and now I’m considered a published illustrator!

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Title Page

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Front Cover

Markers aren’t my usual medium, but I still had fun with it. 🙂

 

Although the winter has been long and cold it has been truly blessed. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that a select few know about. Hopefully I’ll be able to indulge into these deeper subjects in the next few months. In the meantime, I am grateful that spring is FINALLY here and that I was FINALLY able to share a few tidbits of my life with you all again!

I would love to hear from you as well, so don’t be shy in giving me a comment or shout out. Your messages fill me with joy every time!

I’m off now to pick up Riker from pre-school. This afternoon will be full of more editing of my novel and synopsis. I feel like I’m right around the corner from finally getting published. So look out for more updates on here and especially on my author’s page! Until next time; may you all be blessed!

 

P. S. I’ve also been hard at work on a full kitchen remodel. Look for my next post all on this project coming your way in a week or two! 🙂