It is almost 40* in South Dakota today. It is absolutely gorgeous. The last snowfall has just about melted away and it smells like spring. Except it’s not. It’s January. In South Dakota. The weather changes quickly here. We can experience all four seasons within just one week. We are the land of infinite variety. Likely, by the time you are reading this, our temperature will have dropped by about 35 degrees. We will barely be above zero. And the snow. The snow will be starting. You know, the stuff that makes you glad you have a 4×4 vehicle? More snow is coming, after we have just gotten rid of most of the last round.
Today I had an early morning appointment that took me on a 30 mile drive through some of our state’s rural beauty. I was drinking it all in, mile after mile. The smell of spring, the gorgeous clear sky, and the lack of substantial snow on the ground. The road was wet, not icy, and the sky crisp. It just *felt* like spring. I was thoroughly enjoying it until I remembered. I remembered the “S” word. The one that is going to attack tonight. And then I felt angry. I felt angry that this gorgeous glimpse of spring felt like a cruel joke. As if God was using nature to say “neener-neener”. This wasn’t spring, and it truly won’t be so for several months. Winter isn’t even half over. And in that split second my joy had been stolen. I had allowed the negative to take root and steal the absolute joy I had been experiencing just a moment before.
I had been listening to the radio for the first half of my drive, as if it was a means of distraction. Here I had a perfect quiet opportunity to have a chat with God, and I was dismissing it because the truth was I didn’t WANT to. If we’re quiet, then we many have to actually hear. I felt prompted though, to sit in the quiet and just BE. To listen and be still. And I did. For a while, until I got angry. And then…I did what any good toddler does and I whined to God. “Why this tease?!” And in the quiet stillness (remember, I had actually turned the radio off) I heard Him say…. “I’m giving you a glimpse of what’s to come, to help you through the coming storm. Even though there may be discomfort, hard work, or negative circumstances within the storm, there is purpose to it. There are things you can’t do without it.”
Ummm…we’re talking about the snow, right? Or are we? I immediately felt the parallel to my job, my life as a parent. If you’ve followed this blog at all, you probably know that my job firstly is raising and educating our six children, and then any other side projects my husband and I may have. Today’s weather was just like my job as mama. It can be HARD. It can feel like Elsa threw us into an eternal winter. It can feel like a struggle to ever see signs of change, signs of the sun, or spring. However. There are those glimpses of spring that we get to see and feel, while in the midst of the winter. In the physical, winter has purpose. Snow brings moisture to prepare the ground for spring. It takes A LOT of snow to equal an inch of rain, but it is a nice and slow moisture. One that seeps into the ground as it thaws, preparing it for the time of new growth and sustaining of life. Snow allows us unique opportunities to play. Skiing, sledding, snowmen, and forts. Winter gives us ways to play and be active that we can’t do in other seasons. There ARE bright spots to the cold and sometimes lonely winter days. So it is with our lives. Each season prepares us for the next, and allows us unique experiences we wouldn’t otherwise have.
Ironically, by the time my appointment was over and I was heading back home, the sun was beginning to hide and the fog was rolling in. Instead of being angry at the loss of the glimpses of spring, I breathed a word of thanks for getting that moment to experience the sun before the gray returned. Friends, may we all remember to do the same in our lives. Look for the bright spots, the sunshine, and the promise of renewal. You’ll be glad you did.