So, it looks like Winter. It feels like Winter. It actually IS Winter. But…there are some very cool signs that say that it won’t always be Winter. Love that.
Potential for growth is all around, but sometimes disguised as …Winters. But if you look really close, you might see some teeny tiny buds reminding you that Spring is just around the corner. It might take some searching, and a really good zoom lens, but oftentimes when we look for signs of hope, we find them.
Yes, sometimes things just look like winter. Even relationships can have those seasons of cold spells. And sometimes it takes very passionate power-packed pow-wows that are anything but pretty to bring an end to the cold spell. Yes, sometimes heated arguments can warm things up a bit for sure. They have a way of bringing things to the surface –things that we dance around that end up causing a cold chill of avoidance. Just gotta be sure the passion is not for argument’s sake or just debate. Yes, pow-wows need to have a purpose…a positive purpose for all parties concerned. Yes, hopefully the purpose is mutually beneficial from both sides, for both sides. And that warming up sure happens a lot faster when we’re using our zoom lens, so to speak, looking for the signs of hope, and acknowledging the good. Like the warmth of the sun coaxes the seeds out of dormancy, the warmth of grace, even in the midst of powerful passionate ‘pow-wows’, can go a long way in meeting in the middle. Truth bombs delivered without love can create chasms and breed disdain. Not good. Love has got to be the bridge that carries heavy burdens if there’s to be hope for hearts to melt and break through icy barriers. So maybe before having power packed pow wows with those in our lives, we should have a serious pow wow with the one in the mirror. (…and ensure that prayer precedes pow-wows, lots and lots of prayer). Gotta be sure the motivation is coming from the right place or it could increase a cold spell in a relationship for sure.
So, these cold spells are a part of life. Being prepared helps though. Thankful for warm gloves and scarves that help keep us bundled up when the cold winds blow. Thankful for the hand made scarf from my niece…and people that look out for us and help us be prepared for the winds that rush on in. Little things like scarves can make a difference when the cold winds blow. Just ask my son Chase after snowboarding in zero degree weather….being prepared really helps one be able to enjoy the ride rather than just endure and suffer through! We can have a blast even in some pretty tough conditions when we’re prepared. There’s so much in life we just don’t know is coming and can’t really prepare for…gotta try to be strategic and prepared for what we can… and then trust that just doing life and God’s grace can prepare us for what we can’t. Love that God knows what’s ahead for us and can predict way better than any forecaster around.
Thankful for things that warm our hearts that aren’t things. I’m thankful for Skye, the therapy dog who comes to our classroom to be ‘read to’ by students who can read and students who can’t. Skye doesn’t care about the difference. She welcomes one and all with the same tail wagging, comforting little presence. She’s a welcome sight for students who just need to sit in the quiet and ‘read’ at their own pace and love on a dog who loves them right back. There was a student there today who really needed the love and comfort he got from the unconditional love of a golden retriever. His story is in the middle of a tough chapter or two. Our intuitive, sweet, Skye probably listened to more than mere words of this little guy. Thankful for that. This photo is of Skye saying ‘good bye’ to us today. She moved from her place on the rug to the reading group as her owner got ready to go.Yes, there are lots of things that can warm us up in a cold world. Just gotta seek them out and invite them in. Thankful that Skye’s paws grace the floors of my classroom on a regular basis and her presence helps offer a safe space and place for students who don’t always have that or feel it.
Thankful for new books (and the dear friends who gave them to me) that are definitely sparking thoughts and hope and faith in this heart of mine. Thankful for words that hold both encouragement and challenges all wrapped up in one-liner truths. Processing sometimes takes time. I’m thankful that God’s word doesn’t return void, and that even though I might not ‘get’ some things yet, well, good things do take time. Just like those branches with little buds forming, am believing that growth is on the way. In me. Around me. Thankful for the love of God that draws that growth out in His time and for His purposes. Praying that and Believing that.
Last, I’m thankful for readers and encouraging friends who lighten the load, encourage the heart, and challenge the mind. I’m thankful for friends who care enough to be ‘iron sharpens iron’ friends, and that seeing is often believing. Yes, good things take time…but they often come a lot faster when welcomed in and prepared for by another. I just love this quote by Saint Augustine. “Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe.” Definitely. Faith in God can see beyond what’s seen, and then change the whole view…and even the forecast. Yep, even in the middle of winter.
P.S. Kind of cool visual …the buds in the first photo will probably look like this in a few months! Yahoo! Those tiny buds will become beautiful dogwood blossoms. It’s what they are. It’s just a matter of time. (This is a photo I took last Spring….of the same tree <3)
“Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.”
Habakkuk 3: 17-19
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
“For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you…”