While our kids were young, I counted the passing years by taking pictures of them by our front door on the first day of school. Now that I live in Minnesota, I count the number of winters. This is our seventh winter here.
Northern Minnesota winters are overwhelming. Last year we had snow for six months. And yet, they always come to an end. I have had other winters: spiritual ones; relational ones; circumstances that seem as if they will never change. But at some point the light returns, and hope buds like the early crocus under the snow.
The time between my former life in California and my life now has felt like a Minnesota winter at times. There has been a lot of waiting, discouragement and loneliness. I see now that this in-between time has been necessary; a pruning of sorts, tempering my desire to be productive so that I can respond to God’s desire for intimacy with me apart from any agenda. It has been a valuable reminder of who I am and who He is, how very much He desires my undivided love, and how His love is all I need for this life and the next. There is beauty in winter’s barrenness. It is easier to hear Him when life is cloaked in icy silence.
“Wait for the Lord”, David says in Psalm 27, “be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” And Hosea 6:3 lends this encouragement: “Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
The full moon shines over the icy lake tonight. It shines with the light of day from over the far horizon, reminding me that morning is on its way.