These buttercups are starting the Great Bloom of 2019 and I’M HERE FOR IT. I love the contrast between the bare winter trees and the new spring blooms. Winter saying, “I’ve done my job.” And spring saying, “I’m here to do mine.”
We can be sure that with God there is no season wasted and no spiritual state for us to be permanently stuck in. We can also be sure that joy + grief can live close together, bumping into one another without apology. Spring comes in gradually and does not force the winter out. Likewise, our spring & winter go forward, making room for one another, forcing us to see the value of both and more importantly the great power, love, and comfort of our Creator.
Spring, we welcome you.
God, we’re ready for whatever You’re about to do right here. Winter trees and all!
I ran out of the house and yelled to Ben, “It’s picking the craziest time to bloom!!”
The last 2 weeks have been off-and-on stormy here in Northern CA. Sheets of rain came down yesterday, and big ole short-lasting snowflakes came today AND YET this crazy, cold, and stormy season is also the right season for this particular bud to bloom.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but there it is. A flower. Beautiful. Strong. Not of my own doing. I love that we don’t get to choose when flowers bloom. We just get to water, wait, watch, and see. There’s a lesson in that. I don’t get to choose the conditions in which I’ll bloom, but I do get to bloom in crazy conditions and all I can possibly say through the snow, hail, and sleet is GOD DID THIS BEAUTIFUL THING DESPITE THE HARD. SEE!
And though we’re in the crazy snow, hail, and sleet, you won’t even have to squint to see.
It was the first official day of our Porch Garden (can ya tell by my face) & one of the first photos to document my true & full decision to EMBRACE life just as it was right where I stood.
I watched life burst from that corner as my soul followed suit. God gave me so much more this year than I could have imagined…opportunities to speak, counsel, publish a book, and host festive parties (with a full heart). The year 23 was bigger than I dreamed. And yes, it was hard & different…but it was also an honest delight for my soul…a waking up to life again.
Turns out that corners can turn into Porch Gardens and restless laments into bursting songs.
Haven’t we all said it? Or hoped it? Or desperately wished it to be so? “Well, a lot can happen in a year!”
But what if it doesn’t? Or doesn’t feel like it does? How do we watch friends and family go by without us? Survive another night feeling left behind or afraid of being left behind?
What happens when 2023 comes and it isn’t “our year” and we just look at a trail of days that seemingly led us nowhere. Here we go into more days that are just days where nothing happens, but people cheer from the sidelines with rings on fingers and babies on hips shouting, “A lot can change in a year! It did for me!”
But I want you to know you don’t have to afraid or intimidated by this phrase. It’s true that 2023 may come without fireworks or fanfare or what you hoped for.
So let me tell you about 2017.
I don’t remember much of it, really. It was early stages infertility. It was heartbreaking in more ways than one. I had a lot of hard things to say and admit. I don’t remember much life that happened that year. I remember it like death and loss and wounds just pouring out.
But then 2018 came.
And it continued being hard and escalated in April. Then April became a turning point and Mother’s Day in May found us rolling out of Grocery Outlet with a cart full of flowers. Ever so gently, I woke up to life. I sensed I missed so much in 2017, but I didn’t really feel regret for it. I just felt the gift of waking up to the fullness of life around me. I was thankful I wasn’t missing it. I don’t know if I could have felt 2017 any differently if I tried. I’m so human, and I was in the very vulnerable stages of finding life cut out so differently and myself scraped against those ridges. I had very real, distressing emotions and questions I needed to bring to God.
It was a time where the phrase, “A lot can happen in a year!” didn’t quite fit. . .and yet 2017 was woven into the fabric of a story where a lot did happen. A lot of good. A lot of healing. A lot of growth and joy, happiness and light-heartedness, miracles and spring and life!
It could be that a lot won’t happen or change this year, and you don’t have to be afraid of this or frustrated by this phrase which can be oblivious and short-sighted. So what if it is! And so what if people have the the “first comes loves then comes marriage then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” That’s not a bad thing and should be celebrated.
But you are not as lost as you think. Your year won’t be wasted. You may not remember much of it, but with God, it will be woven into the fabric of a story where a lot does happen. A lot of good. A lot of healing. A lot growth and joy, happiness and light-heartedness, miracles and spring and life! If you’re not celebrating at the start of 2023 (or this year for that matter!), I get it. I’ve been there. Will be there again.
Keep turning to God. “Those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” (Psalm 34:5). The year itself may feel like nothing. You may forget it. You may feel disappointed by the whole of it. But it won’t be lost. It won’t be wasted. It won’t be the hopelessness you may feel it is right now. There’s no rush and the pressure isn’t on you or me to make things good and okay. God will do the impossible. He will wrap our years into His arms and from His hand we will receive good. And in His presence we will be comforted and emboldened to live. We will be safe to grieve and to rejoice.
A lot may *not* happen or change this year.
So what if it doesn’t?
God isn’t bound by the days on a calendar. His stories last long and rich and eternal.