Spring has FINALLY arrived for good now. The mud has dried up and the grass is green in places where the sun hits the most. The kids are on the look out for the first dandelions and the robins spend their mornings in my freshly tilled garden.
I have been cleaning the dead remains from last year’s flowers out of my beds and raking the generous amount of gravel left by the snow plow out of my grass. Plans for the yard are swirling around my head as I work. The trellis and raised beds I want to build for my garden are so clear in my mind that I can see them.
With the change of season came a switch in memories. Memories of springs gone by. The large pile of dirt for our first garden, Rebekah running through the yard squealing as Caleb chased her, and our first chicks peeping and scratching under the birch tree while we diligently stood watch for ravens and snakes.
I keep expecting to see Rebekah jumping from the large tree with the tire swings or throwing her socks and shoes off and running through the freshly tilled ground.
Catching a glimpse of my own blond hair being blown by the wind, caused my mind to tell me that she was there pulling the dry flower stems beside me. I hate it when that happens because its as if I’m being told again that she is gone. Does everyone experiences this? I don’t know if it will eventually go away, but every day she dies in my mind. Every day I have to remember again that she is not here with me.
The strawberry plants have brought one of my favorite memories. We have a patch of ever bearing strawberries which produce a steady supply of small sweet berries. They are delicious and we all make a point of checking our little patch every time we pass by in hopes of finding one. Rebekah would often run outside as soon as we were all out of bed in the morning, always bare foot in the cool wet grass, and check for our red gems. Caleb and Micah protested. They didn’t think it was fair she was the first one to get them, but I loved her ambition. I also loved that she shared them with me (and only me lol). Two for her and two for me.
Now I stand looking at our little plants trying to turn green after a long harsh winter and wonder ‘who will pick me strawberries?’
Of course, I can pick them myself, but they will not be given to me with a huge smile and a heart overflowing with love. They will be strawberries-not gifts.
Spring is a time of rebirth. It is a time where all things become new and what was dead is alive again.
Recently, I went for a walk around one of my favorite little lakes. Signs of spring were everywhere-robins, buds on the trees, geese in the lake, and the warmth of the sun. They were all shouting to me and encouraging me to think about this new season and new life. God was impressing on my heart to listen to the signs.
I didn’t want to!
Stubbornly, I stood my ground. I will not accept the huge hole in our family, hearts, and lives. I do not need to think about spring, new birth, a God who can make all things new. No, unless He plans on giving me my daughter back then I don’t want to hear it. I miss her, no spring can take that away.
God has a way of making me listen.
In spite of my stubbornness, God knew that I was crying out for help and He continued with my lesson. Through my mind ran stories I had heard about others’ loss. People who were so troubled that they saw no other choice and took their own lives, stories of abused children, mothers who were mourning their kids, and accidents which destroyed bodies while leaving minds untouched.
Although the sun was warm, the air was cold in my lungs as I walked faster and faster. Maybe I could outwalk the parade of evil marching through my head. I am not suffering alone. How many of us have been left scarred by the evil of this fallen world? No one has escaped it. We are all broken and hurt and searching for something to release the pain.
What if we allowed ourselves to be swallowed up by the evil and never reached for the only one who isn’t? If we stubbornly held onto the hurt instead of releasing it?
What if we never accepted the Spring?
I recently wrote about seasons of weeping and mourning in “To Everything there is a Season” and I don’t want to sound redundant, but I can’t help but ponder what God has done for us by giving us spring and with this new season the ability to accept the pain of the past and embrace the newness of life.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold, all are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Actually, the Bible is full of these kinds of “new life” verses. Why? Because we were never meant to live in a fallen world laced with pain and suffering. We were never meant to cry for our children, parents, siblings, and spouses. It was not God’s plan to force us to deal with terminal illness, drug addictions, and wounds inflicted by evil enemies. Children were never supposed to suffer at the hands of an abuser or bullied by peers.
God provided for us a safe place. No, we are still forced to live in this wicked world, but He has given us a hope to carry us through.
“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
I had the kids memorize this verse from John 11 in March in preparation for Easter. I have heard this story dozens of times, but this year it took on a different meaning for me. Martha was mourning her brother’s death and confessing her faith in Jesus. He knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, but he doesn’t tell her that. He wants to be sure she first understands the hope of salvation found in him and life beyond this earthly realm.
Martha’s spring had come.
Has your spring come as well, friends? Is it time for you to move out of your winter and embrace your safe place? Perhaps accepting the hurt that has followed you and releasing it will bring about the warmth of spring for you.
Maybe that is what spring is about? Releasing the cold and the barren, accepting the new, and moving forward. Moving toward the warmth of the sun and the new life around us. God didn’t intend for us to stay in winter, He provided for us a spring.
While this all sounds good, I cannot lie to you all. I know in my heart that I remain in winter, but the hope of spring dwells there too.