"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God." - Corrie Ten Boom

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Winter Came Again.

Winter came.
 It came again.. and I wasn't ready. Some fragile blooms had started to grow.. 
                                ... but winter came again.
Winter came again.
The sun still shone.. it never left. But I mourned the broken things that winter exposed. 
There is an unspoken, inexpressible agony that many winters can expose.
I wanted to decorate the broken and dead things with the beauty that I knew the sun created. I wanted them different... I wanted them to have a chance to be made new.
The sun still shone... but winter came and it exposed things. The broken things, the dead things.. and even through the gentle sun, the winter came and light shone and exposed what was cold and what was broken.
There were no more coverings on the fences and walls... and I could not save or tend to the garden that I wanted so badly to take care of.

I could not protect them in the winter time. I could only stand, exposed, in the light of the sun.
Winter came again
... and the prized shelters I had built now looked like mere child's play. They were a facade... they were not a shelter in the winter. And the sun shone and exposed it.
How can I so adore the sun... and yet shrink so from feeling exposed?
Winter came again.
        ...and the sun was still there.
Stripped from all I had covered in and defined as a "new identity" and unsure of what was next... I still knew that winters are a means to the springtime. And they are necessary. And I know that God has never wasted a trial. And because I could not do anything else.. I stood still.

I was told to look at the dead things that I had tried to revive and recreate (until the winter exposed my charades). I did not want to look. I saw dead things, things that were lonely and scary. Things that looked useless to me. What a blessing to have friends who looked at me the same way when I was exposed as they did when all was covered, and who dared me to do the same. Friends who showed me God's love in a new way... who simply stood as shelter while I regained the strength to stand. Who looked at the agony of exposure I could not hide with the same love and more than when all looked ... "right." And I fought hard at the idea of looking again at the broken, dead and exposed pieces but when I realized I was still loved it was less scary, and so I tried to look. What I saw... were twisted limbs pointing my eyes up into the light of a beautiful, blue sky that was so much bigger than the broken.

The sky sure did look more beautiful surrounding those broken parts.

I didn't understand why a God who I knew could make things beautiful would see fit to make me look at the fallen, broken things again. I did not want to look. I felt afraid and guilty that I was wrong to feel that way. 

He said my grace is sufficient for you. My grace is enough. My grace is complete. 
He said this is the way to the Spring. There are no short cuts.

Decorations are pretty. They cheer you up. They cover things. But they are not real, they will not last.

I was broken and could not change myself and so I stared and stared beyond the bare and broken limbs into the sky, into the sun. 
And winter lingered still. 
Have you ever noticed that all of creation lifts it's arms to it's Creator? 
I never noticed it until I saw the exposed ones. 
Some are hidden by mountains of thick beautiful flowers and leaves to be admired by all.
Some are exposed. 
And I know how agonizing it can be to have things ripped off.
And I know how good the warmth of the sun feels when there is more of you to cover.
And I know how clear the view is when all else is stripped away.
And I smile to know the roots are growing deeper as the broken arms reach for the sun.

And it is the posture of praise. 
I didn't think I had the energy for another winter time yet. And I didn't.
He had said.. His grace was sufficient. And it was.
And that's why it was grace that he brought winter when He did.
And it was grace that He exposed me.
And the ache and the pain... it was all grace.
Because in it He exposed Himself to me, as well.
For every bit of me that looked dead, He covered with His light.
For every bit of myself I showed... He showed me more of Him. And it all became worth it.
And suddenly the winter has brought more joy and healing and a better view than all of the carefully constructed coverings I hold so dear.

And sometimes God uses broken outward parts to heal you on the inside... and to grow roots.
And sometimes God lets you feel the agony of loneliness... to remind you that you are not alone. 
And almost every time... what God knows is good... is not the same as what we think is good.
And every time.. God is right. God knows best. He is the truth. And in the things I feared and ran from... and saw as destructive... were God's goodness to bring healing and a new perspective.

 I went looking for Spring... and expected that now I would find it. But it isn't time yet. It's not in full bloom.. but there are signs. And I know that Spring is coming.  Praise the Lord... there are signs of the Redeemer!
Winter came again... but the sun still shone. Because winter is just a tool in the Redeemer's strong hands. 
I thought He needed to start all over with me... to leave all of the broken parts and start fresh. I didn't want the broken things. I just didn't want to see them anymore.
But He is bigger than that.
He redeems even me. 
What He really wants me to be... is His. All His. And sometimes that looks beautiful and sometimes it looks like dying does... but it is never wasted. We are never alone. And we are His. Broken, and beautiful.
The broken pieces are now tools and a back drop to the glory of a Redeemer. 
To my Redeemer.
And on limbs that looked dead to me... not thrown out... not destroyed... not costumes carefully selected... my own broken pieces have hope of  being tools to grow beautiful things... to grow strong things... things that will last. What a wonderful Savior!

Winter came again.
And it was so.. so hard... but I am so glad that it came. I am thankful for the grace of winter... and all that it brings. He makes beautiful things out of the dust.
And Spring is coming again! Growing on those same twisted limbs... shining under the same blue sky. 
In the posture of praise. All creation sings His praise! He is worthy. 

The hard and fallen things are perfect ground for building strength... for growing.
Even for practice. For adventures.
And the sun shines through the exposed branches and creates shadows of His handiwork all across the ground. And it is beautiful. 

The winter came again... and it will come again and it will come again. It will expose my weakness, it will expose His strength... and it will create the posture of unending praise. Of unshakable roots. And with every winter I may look more bare... more empty... and oh I hope that if seeing Him and allowing the Light to shine through is what it all means, that He will continue to allow this painful exposure and strengthen me to stand even still... and enable my arms to point into His light. He is making ALL things beautiful in His time. He is writing a beautiful Redemption story and I don't want to miss a moment of it. I can't believe He would care so much about making me stronger, and showing me His love, and about making us new. 

"I know my Redeemer lives, and in the end He will stand upon the earth."  Job 19:25


Red Chair Moments said...

Praise God that He works in seasons in our hearts. Thank you for sharing what God is writing on your heart!

Anonymous said...

Mary this is beautiful and powerful. God is faithful and spring is a visible reminder that even in our winters spring was waiting. I love Spring and the promise of beautiful new life. The garden holds the promise of a pretty summer garden. Never doubt spring will always come.