Enduring the Seasons

9:07 AMHeather

Words can hardly describe the cacophony of sounds at my house on Friday night when eleven of us gathered together.  Twenty years after graduating from Baylor and leaving our little apartment complex, where we shared years of amazing college memories together.  I stood back at one point and took it all in--thinking it sounded like hundreds of conversations happening at once.  Amazing how much we had to catch up in the years since we have all been together.  It was a time of laughter.  So. Much. Laughter.  My sides hurt--literally.  And a few tears.  Lots of pictures of our children and husbands.  And of course, several girls pulled out the hilarious big haired pictures of us back in the day. 

Why oh why did we think those Laura Ashley jumpers, big bangs, and huge bows were so stinking stylish?  

I guess we all live with regrets from our youthful ignorance.

My soul was filled with the sweet fellowship of such dear friends.  

But, I have to admit something.  Come Sunday night, everyone had left except for my friend, Trisha, who was due to fly out the next day.  And I found myself melancholy.  Overwhelmed.  Heart wrenched.  Trisha--being keenly observant--immediately picked up on my mood and questioned what was going on.

As I sorted through it, I realized that a huge part of my melancholy was simply feeling grieved for what many of us have endured.  Where many of us are currently struggling.  Because we realize something anew after three days together.  

All of us have or are enduring hard seasons of life.  Not a one of us can escape unscathed from the harsh winters of life on this planet.  As I've come to realize in my adult years--we are all broken in some way.  We all carry around bleeding fresh wounds or scars of old pain.

I wish it wasn't so.  I wish I could change it for myself and for these dear friends whom I love.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and erase the struggles.  

But, it is all part of life.  These hard seasons.  During the weekend, nearly every single one of us reached a point where we opened up.  We shared where we are currently wrestling against hard transitions in life or difficult extended family relationships or financial woes or other huge burdens.  Or where hard seasons of the past continue to blow blustering winds across our souls.  

What we all have in common is this.  We sit, with trees stripped of leaves, and feel the pain of bitter cold circumstances that cause our hearts to feel frost bit.  The skies feel gray and the clouds feel suffocating, thick and overcast, blocking all light.  Blocking all hope.  We all have these long hard winters of life that feel nearly beyond survival.  We shiver and shake with the anxiety and the dull aches of these winters of life.   We cry and we scream and we grasp for any semblance of hope.  Because it feels as though it will never end.

But, here's the truth.  Here's the reality, bloggy friends.  

No matter how long these winters last.  No matter how cold and depressing and suffocating and hopeless they feel.  They are but a season.  They will come to pass.  They will not stay forever.  

No.  None of us will live in a lifelong winter.  Even though it feels that way at the time.  

The truth of it is that we may hardly notice at first.  We may not even sense the warmth of the coming spring as we peel back one little layer of our bundled coats and coverings.  We may not recognize these subtle signs of a coming spring.  

That we may ask the Lord to give us eyes to see them!  Faith to trust they are coming. Hope of brighter days.  

That we might marvel at the first glimpse of green budding on the barren trees of our winters.  May we see it and know.  The winter will pass.  The spring will come.

Father, help us to realize the gradual increase in temperature as You break through our cold and bitterness with the warmth of Your love.  May we see the kind words of those around us or the messages of songs or sermons we listen to.  And know that they are your signs of spring.  Your signs of a coming thaw for our hardened souls.  

Abba, may we have ears to hear and eyes to see how you dance over us with the blooming flowers and the break of the sun through our clouds.  May we remember that your Son broke through the longest winter our soul may ever face.  Because of your love.  You made a way.  For an eternal spring.  For hope to push through even the deepest snow and ice and bloom within us.  Forever and ever.

Bloggy friends, no matter the winter you face.  No matter the depths of your sorrow and your struggle.  May you know and remember this.  May this phrase be written on your heart so profoundly that you can believe it with absolute certainty.

No matter your struggle.  No matter your sadness.  No matter your suffering.  Or your longing.  Or your brokenness.

It is but a season.  

And seasons change.  The sun will burst forth.  The clouds will roll away.  The fresh scent of flowers full of color and blooms will fill your gray.  The budding trees will once again provide shade for the harsh days.  The birds will sing.  Because your help can be found.  He is the maker of the heavens and earth.  He is Creator of all.  Our times are in His hands.  He has defeated the darkest forces.  He is our hope and our Redeemer.

You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.
Isaiah 55:12-13

Oh yes indeed.  The loneliness of a move.  The wounding of a former spouse.  The failures of our extended family.  The hardships of mothering.  The burdens of financial strain.  The weight of an unfulfilling job.  The anguish of a hope unfulfilled and a prayer not yet answered.

They came to pass.

They didn't come to stay.

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