Seasons. I love the different seasons.
Here in the heart of Ohio, winter has definitely played it's tune.
We have had plenty of snow and record low temperatures this year.
This winter season has been evident on all levels.
The seasons of nature often play an analogy in my life as well.
We go through seasons in our own lives.
There are definite periods of winter: clouds, cold, ugly, and something most people dread and hate and don't like experiencing.
Spring looks more like green, growth, beauty, excitement, joy and new found warmth.
Fall and Summer play their own roles as well.
But it is difficult to truly appreciate spring unless you've experienced winter.
This analogy has been on my mind lately.
I used to hate winter. I mean absolutely dread every day of it. I was one of those whiners and complainers when it came to the cold and snow. I've come a long way in that journey. Perhaps one could say I've grown up a lot when it comes to dealing with winter. I admit, I still do not like the cold. But I have learned to truly appreciate the dreary season. I was leaving my dad's the other night in the middle of a snowy storm of sorts and I just smiled and truly enjoyed the pure vision of untouched, glistening snow. The beautiful white dust sparkled at me, winked at me as if to say "Hello! I'm glad you are out with me." I loved how pristine it was, how pure and untouched. No plows had been out yet, and the snow was beautiful.
Today I thought of that view in light of my life. Winter seasons happen. In all honesty, the last few weeks have been a bit "wintery" for me. Times when the roads are hard to navigate. It's difficult to see through the ugly grey clouds and dreary days. But as I have grown up, I have learned to appreciate the beauty behind those clouds and "cold days". I may not see it in the very moment, but I have learned not to complain and dread it. I have learned this the hard way, but I have learned it because I have seen beauty come from it. When before I would choose to drown in my own weariness, now I choose to see it for what God intends it: a season; a time where underneath the surface, seeds are growing, but cannot bud yet because they aren't ready. But when they are (when He sees me as being ready) then the spring time will be all the more beautiful and appreciated. And I can bloom in all new ways. But it isn't possible without winter.
During the winter season, the trees appear dead and ugly. But really, they are just preparing for something greater, for a time when their leaves will sprout and their beauty will shine and they will become full once again. Without winter, those buds wouldn't have appropriate time to prepare. I'm like that. Through winter seasons, I learn a new dependance on God. And underneath, inside my heart where others cannot see, He is preparing me through the ugly times for a greater purpose. Perhaps to encourage another person going through a hard time; perhaps to accomplish a task I am currently unable to do; perhaps to teach me new aspects of His characteristics and of prayer with Him.
so, perhaps the next time you think about winter, maybe you can see it in a bit of a different light, even if just for a moment, and stop and appreciate the beauty within it. Without winter, we could not truly appreciate the spring and warmth that will come following the cold season. And if you're in the middle of your own winter season, don't lose heart. Your buds are growing, even though you can't see them. Spring will come.
PS-I wrote about seasons a long time ago. If you care to dig into my archives, you can find it in May 31,2011.June 1,2011. Seasons were quite different then, and it was cool to see how far I have come from that time.