One week before Spring officially begins, we have a winter storm.
And not just a storm, but blizzard-like conditions. Likely there’s about 18 inches or so outside my house. Just a few weeks ago it was 70 degrees outside and spring fever was at an all time high.
Many of us find ourselves sighing. Snow really destroys those lovely thoughts and anticipation of new things to come. Because, Spring. Beautiful spring where all feels new. Shoots begin to poke out of the ground. Brown grasses turn green. Buds appear on trees. Birds chattering to each other wakes us in the morning.
Spring is the anticipation of life becoming new again. The anticipation of change. The bleakness of winter often causes our hearts and spirits to feel weak and downtrodden.
Kind of like those difficult seasons of life, no?
I’m sure I’m not the first person to compare the winter season to hard seasons of life. Something about winter makes it seem like the longest season of all. I certainly anticipate its end much more than the other seasons.
A winter snow storm of this magnitude certainly isn’t expected so close to the start of a new season. A few warmer days maybe. Some more sunshine yes. A few buds here and there. We expect to see the end of winter when it’s supposed to happen. I can’t help but wonder if that in our difficult seasons, we tend to view God the same way.
We expect our trials to end much sooner than they do. We expect to see God’s hand move when sometimes it doesn’t. We expect God to act a certain way and in a certain time. Our time. In some ways we expect God to think and act as we do, not allowing Him to work in our lives in His way and His time. Sometimes, even in difficult seasons, He’s giving us gifts that we can’t see because all we see is what we want Him to do. All we see is what He’s not doing because that’s what we’re looking for. And then, we miss what He is doing. Because He’s always working, even when we can’t see it.
I’ve been guilty of this so many times in the past years. Hearing God tell me something and expecting to see it right away. Thinking that I know how He should be responding and what He should be doing and why hasn’t He already? And I know in doing so, I’ve missed a lot. I’ve missed what He was trying to tell me and show me. And maybe eventually I got it or saw it. But in the moment, I missed it. I’ve had to train myself to shift my perspective to see the small things He is doing, while I’m waiting for the big things. I have a post-it in my Bible to remind me of this simple verse in Proverbs 19:21:
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
When we’re waiting for provision, we look for God to provide. When we’re waiting for healing, we look for God to heal. When we’re waiting for wisdom, we look for God to give answers. And sometimes, if we’re honest, we’re so focused on that, we miss all the other things God is doing and all the ways He is doing exactly what we’re asking for, just not how we expect. And how He’s doing other things we didn’t ask for.
The past four years have gone nothing like I thought they would. I was convinced certain things would happen that didn’t. I kept expecting God to do something that He didn’t do. I kept looking for Him to move in ways that He hasn’t. But He’s moved in ways I didn’t expect and never saw coming. And not just in providing for our needs.
A few weeks ago, I was laying down our circumstances (again) and I just started thanking God for all He had done (a great way to shift your perspective by the way). Because He’s so good. He’s done so much. After I thanked Him for the time I had with the kids over the years, out of nowhere, I started thanking Him for things I had never thought of before that moment. And as I’m praying, tears are streaming as the Holy Spirit revealed to my heart what God had been providing this entire time and I had missed. Completely missed until this moment.
Rest. Rest from my “old life.” Rest from thoughts that had plagued me for years. Rest from my discontent with my old job. Rest from the burden of providing financially. Rest from trying to figure things out. And in the midst of all that, He allowed me to dream. Seeds He planted years before had time and room to grow. And even though I can’t say I’m an expert at “resting in the Lord,” He certainly showed me what that looks like because I’ve had to have total reliance on Him. I was looking for financial provision and realized He was providing more than that. He was providing Himself, over and over. He taught me what surrender looks like. What trust looks like. What going deeper with Him looks like. Isn’t He good? In what has felt like the longest and most difficult season of my life, I can look on it now and know it was a gift. His gift to me. And even in the moment of realization, He was gently reminding me in His way that I can still rest in Him. In His promises. In His ways. In who He is.
I’m not one for snow. Ever. Ever. Ever. But this storm today hasn’t bothered me. It gives the kids their last snow in this house. The last time they build a snowman in our yard. The last time they get to jump off the slide into the snow. The last time they run around our yard soaking wet. The last time they make snow ice cream. They won’t remember their first snow here. But they will remember their last. In the midst of wanting a new season in more ways than one, God gave us a gift in an unexpected way.
What are you waiting for, dear reader? What are you looking for God to do in your life? I encourage you to taste and see that He is good. And be open to seeing what He is doing while you’re waiting.