For those of you who have read any of my previous posts about the subject of the seasons, you already know that I am not a cold weather person. That's pretty amazing, since we live in the Midwest and cold is just part of the package around here. Every year, I have to brace myself for the season that is my least favorite of all...winter. Even the word sounds cold to me. Brrrr!
It seems this winter was colder and snowier and just plain meaner than most. The temps were outrageous ~ so many days below freezing AND below zero. At times, I just stood at the window, looking out on the arctic weather that encased us and reminded myself repeatedly that this too, would pass. And as I sometimes do when the skies have been cloudy for days on end, I would encourage myself to remember that, beyond that gray blanket hanging over our heads, there was/is a sun that shines on and stars that still fill the night sky.
Some days it's easier to remember than others. But I faithfully cling to the hope ~ the anticipation of the warm, sunny days filled with the sounds of birds singing from trees that will be covered once again with beautiful green leaves that sing and dance when the wind blows, a yard covered with a soft verdant carpet of grass beneath my feet and the sounds that carry me back on the wings of memories to a game of hide-and-seek or tag or Red Rover played with my brothers and sisters and all of the kids in the neighborhood.
The sound of the neighbor's lawn mower as he manicures his yard echoes in the recesses of my mind. Of course, those mowers were the old-fashioned kind...no engines, no gasoline...just the whirring of the blade as it clipped the grass, all powered by the human being that drove it through the suburban jungle called a 'yard'. Oh, and the airplanes flying overhead. Not jets...airplanes! And the sound of the milk truck as it came down our street... We had such a nice milk man! He delivered eggs and cheese and milk and I don't remember what all... That was back in the day when milk came in bottles and butter was real and eggs were, too! Ha!
And delight of delights! The Ice Cream Man! For a child, it seemed the times were few and far between when we heard the bell on the truck announcing to all the neighborhood children that he was only a street or two away, so we'd better hurry and get our money and be ready ~ standing on the curb in front of the house, if we wanted him to stop so we could buy an ice cream treat. Always afraid they would say 'no', but hoping that mom or dad would say 'yes', we raced to beg our parents for a dime or a quarter to buy something from the Ice Cream Man. Bomb pops and ice cream sandwiches and popcicles and oh my! The list goes on and on and on! The choices were always so difficult! We wanted one of each!
We made mud pies and tried to get the neighbor kids to eat them. We played 'Open Your Mouth and Close Your Eyes and You Will Get a Big Surprise'. One time, we took the stuffing out of an old chair in the basement and put it in the next door neighbor girl's mouth! She ran home, vomiting and of course, we had our behinds warmed by our dad. Kids can be so ... childish! Needless to say, we didn't do that again!
Often in the afternoons, we played 'Tarzan and Jane', running through the yards all over our little subdivision...no place was off-limits. Well, almost no place... Anyway, we were little kids with giant imaginations, unhindered by fences or roads or stop signs...or barking dogs or anything on the planet! We ran barefoot around the whole neighborhood, laughing and doing our own imitations of the Tarzan and Jane calls...at the top of our lungs, mind you...totally oblivious to the desire some of the older residents may have had for peace and quiet! We were gloriously happy in those times! And the skies were blue and the grass was green and the flowers were in bloom and the wind was soft and gentle... What a time it was...
There were hard times, too. Yes. There were. But GOD was always there. There was the arctic blast of a divorce between my parents. There were gray skies that covered up the sun's light when I chose horrible lifestyles and went down cold, dark and lonely paths of sin and rebellion. There was loss and barrenness in circumstances. There was guilt and shame and embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy far deeper than I can describe. There were bitter winds of abuse and rejection and pain. Just as there are in most lives. So it was in mine. But...G O D!!!!!!!
Yeshua/Jesus. He was always there. Standing beside me as the sun kissed my face with warmth on those sunny days in the neighborhood... He was there, drawing me with patience and long-suffering toward His Son's Light when it seemed that death was the only thing that would stop me from continuing on the destructive path I chose. He stayed with me in those bitterly cold, icy times in my life. He waited and wooed me. He spread the glory of His LIGHT - His LOVE - across the Midwestern plains of my heart and soul and lifted the garments of sadness, discouragement, hopelessness and despair from my cold-racked being, replacing them with the warmth of His Comforter...His Holy Spirit. He brought the sunshine back into my life. And it was a different kind of warmth and light. For this was the Sonlight that will never ever EVER leave me again, regardless of circumstances or anything else. He brought HIMSELF!
So on those cold days in winter, there continues to be a warmth that has poured into my spirit and my soul. Like the living waters He speaks of in John 4:10-13, He brought new life into me. Oh, I still don't like winter as much as I do the other seasons of the year. But I am grateful for every day. Cold or hot. I am grateful for each one. Because my Father in heaven has chosen to keep me on this planet a little longer. I want to finish well. I want to complete the assignment He's given me to do while I'm here. So I refuse to complain about the cold. I choose instead to be thankful for whatever He puts in front of me. And I will continue to rejoice for the new life and the new day and the gentle winds of His precious Spirit and for all that is set before me. And I will thank Him and declare His goodness all the days of my life ~ winter, summer, spring and fall. And when I see those little blades of grass peeking up through the ground and the buds on the trees and when I hear the sounds of the robin singing and see the blue skies and sunshine and white puffy clouds, I will always do a little happy dance in my heart. My GOD is GOOD. He is from EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING. And He brings NEW LIFE to all who will embrace it.
Enjoy FULLY this new day! Blessings!