I have a confession to make to you.
I really like cold weather. I didn’t know this about myself until recently. I don’t necessarily enjoy being cold, but I love all that cold weather invites in. I love any excuse to be cozy. Twinkly lights, blankets, layers, candles, hot drinks; the list is truly endless for me.
Here in Maryland, it seems we’ve finally stepped into that kind of weather. But let’s be honest. The chance of a 70 degree day next week is just as likely. The truth is that within the change of seasons, there is often an overlap. A one step forward, two step back kind of thing. A period of time where you are caught in the in-between of more than one environment which gives conflicting messages.
I decided yesterday to take a walk in the sunny 35 degree weather, and on my normal route, I passed a tree that seemed to be in this exact state. Honestly, it looked really confused. A third of the branches were bare, prepared for the heaviness that winter brings. The next third was holding onto dead leaves, just waiting to release them to step into the next season. And oddly enough, there was entire section of tiny pink flowers. They were not withered or lacking any life at all. The leaves on the grass were covered in a sparkly frost, and somehow, these flowers held evidence of life and fresh growth.
Do not believe the lie that you are in any way one dimensional. You are allowed to be and feel more than one thing at once. It’s absolutely much more comfy for us to close the chapter on one season and open a brand new book to begin the next, but more often than not, that’s not how it works. 2020 has taught us that much, hasn’t it?
You are allowed to mourn for the reality of what is while still holding onto hope.
You can experience beauty in the midst of death. Gratitude and loss can co-exist. Disappointment and joy can share the same space.
Right now, the world shouts one word as the undercurrent: hopelessness.
Physical and mental health, politics, injustice, education, hate. According to the standards around us, we are in one season of darkness.
But the Lord promises us this:
“It’s impossible to disappear from you or ask the darkness to hide me, for Your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night. There is no such thing as darkness with You. The night, to You, is as bright as the day; there’s no difference between the two.” [Psalm 139:11 TPT]
Make no mistake, this darkness wants to take you out. As you trudge through virtual learning, or show up every day to the hospital you work at. As you battle the fear of a very real virus, or pray for your sick loved one who is alone in a hospital room. Jesus is bringing light into your night. He is. Sometimes it’s subtle, maybe even slower than we’d like. The catch? We have to look for it.
We don’t have to give in. I’m telling you. This is the secret that the world wants to keep from us. Our God walks with us in the wins and the losses, the death and the life. Let the seasons teach us the lessons of coinciding loss and growth. Let the cold months teach us about quiet and stillness, while the noise of the world swirls around us.
You are are so much more okay than you think.
“Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will define our character, and proven character leads us back to hope.”
[Romans 5:3-4 TPT]