If you’ve lived in Minnesota long, you know what it feels like to long for spring. We begin the count down in midwinter and by February 1st, we are ready to put our spring expectations in the paws of a groundhog. Why do we long for spring? Is it just to be rid of cold and snow, or is it something more? Is there a purpose for winter?
In life we also go through seasons. This last year has been the longest season of “winter” for me. The song with the lyrics “four seasons of winter” resonated in my soul. I felt the darkness. Some days, I struggled just to breathe. I called out to my Father, “God, where are you?” I began asking; “Why? Why did I need to go through this? How long will it last? When will I see signs of spring?”
Rewind to December of 2018. I had recently been set free from a destructive and hurtful marriage. I was now a single mother to 8 kiddos; six still living in my home, one in heaven and my oldest, living independently. I was beginning a whole new journey. I didn’t know the trials to come. December 26, 2018 would begin the biggest trial. My son and I were at a routine pre-op appointment for a surgery he was planning to have. The surgeon walked in, popped up the MRI image of my son’s spine on his computer screen, and informed us that he saw, what looked like to him, a tumor inside my son’s spinal cord. The first season of winter began in my heart.
Throughout the next year, the trials continued, and I felt buried in grief. Heartache and loss seemed around every corner. Would spring ever come again? I longed to see the light and feel the spring breeze of newness. I felt God’s whisper in my heart that even in the darkest days of winter, He was there. He was allowing me to walk through the darkness but would never leave me. In His time, I am slowly beginning to see the light and feel the anticipation that spring is near.
I now have a new appreciation for spring. I had to go through the winter and learn to trust God’s plan. Deep in the darkness, He was at work. We often forget that before there is new life, there is always a struggle. In the dark, seeds sprout, chicks hatch and buds turn into flowers.
Is it hard? Is it painful? Yes, but God is the master of turning the ashes into beautiful masterpieces. I want God to use my struggles and ashes for His good.
As I reflect this Easter season, a season we associate with new life and springtime, I can see there had to be darkness and even death, for there to be new life. Jesus willingly walked through the trials and pain. He willingly gave His life for us. He willingly paid the price for our sins, so that we could be free.
As we enter the Easter season, I pray you find hope in the beautiful story of redemption and new life. If you are struggling to see the light of spring, the Bible tells us that “When you go through deep water, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
No matter how long the winter feels, God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. He loved us enough to give us the gift of Easter.