Today, it is -4 degrees outside, our roads are icy, the house is cold and I have piles and piles of work and house tasks to tackle--some day. This is one of those days I wish I had servants to clean, cook, and lots of family and friends to occupy my family so that I could sleep or just do something for myself, to care for myself.
After the holidays, the adrenalin can come down and we are a bit tired and still have people in our homes who make messes every day and want to eat and talk to us. :)
I called a friend who works with me in my ministry and I could tell her voice was down. I probed, and I was right--a down day. I began to tell her about some of the tensions, issues, difficulties and challenges that we faced over the holidays--not the least of which is just irritating--the fridge stopped working just before all of our kids came home and we had to go out to find one, and the messes of ice melting, meat thawing, well you get the picture. Then there was the garage door opener that will never work again--which makes it interesting to leave the house....
A medical emergency happened in the middle of our days together. And I could go on. But somehow my normal, out of control life encouraged her. Knowing that she was not alone, that each of our stresses was probably, in some ways, common, helped her to giggle at her own stresses and strains. The garage door broke amidst all the other expenses.
In my 60's now, I have learned not to dwell in the land of worry, down and sad thoughts, challenges, because I have learned a little bit more of the art of gracious endurance. Putting one step in front of the other, choosing to create beauty amidst the down days, (tea times, candles, music are essential--not just decor in my life.) But, I have also developed a grid that says, "I believe God is good. I know He will be faithful. He will fill in the cracks that I cannot manage. He will work on my behalf because He is a compassionate Father."
And so I move from my pesky thoughts to a place of faith I have learned to practice--from toddlerhood to teens to young adults. Breathe. Believe. Rest in me. Celebrate and create joy amidst your days, and you will hear the echoes of my music and feel the touch of my invisible fingerprints in your life.
As I reflect on having Nathan as my different child, I am so grateful to have made it through. So many dark and questioning days as his mama. And yet, even though many of the issues he had as a child still plague him, and will till he sees Jesus, I have seen him flourish within the context of his own life, and grow beyond what I thought was possible. All the fear and fretting didn't change anything.
Are you the resolution-making type? My idealistic spirit is more tuned to reflection and dreaming visions for the next year than setting new rules for myself. Since it's a time many of us are thinking about what's coming next, I thought I'd share a bit about winter from Seasons of a Mother's Heart, a book I wrote many years ago because I have found that it is in the winter seasons when my roots have gone deep. (find it here) ...
Winter is a season for reflection, a time we are waiting amidst snow and storms for the coming of spring. But still we must wait for a long season ahead. For all the darkness I may associate with winter, I have discovered that the winter seasons of my life can also be times of peace and even quiet rest, if I will let them be. A winter season can force me to slow down, reflect on life, wait on God, and trust him. It can seem that everything is dead in winter, that nothing is happening, but that is never true. Under the surface of the winter snows there is always the continuation of life— roots are growing deeper, sap is being stored, energy is being conserved. Winter is not an end but a transition. The abundant and unstoppable life of spring is due to break forth; a new beginning is coming.
In the same way, my roots are growing deeper in the winter seasons of motherhood, the Holy Spirit is within me, and my energy is being conserved, all with one goal in view—that I will bear new life and new fruit. Winter is a time to diligently and faithfully store up his word in my spirit, drink deeply of his goodness and mercy, and keep the fires of hope alive in my heart. It is a time to stop and reflect on how my life is different because I am God's child, to consider what is most important in my life with him—my husband, my children, my family, my friends. It is a time to look for signs of life.
Winter is a good time to reflect on Romans 8:28, to see how "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." It is a good time to reflect on Jesus' encouragement that "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). It is a good time to recall, with Jeremiah:
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those who hope in him, to the one who seeks him (Lamentations 3:22-25).
Winter is a good time to reflect on what you know is true.
On the final leg of our long journey from the southeast back to Colorado, we passed through a winter season. Everything was gray, it was difficult, and we were tired. But even when we could not see the road before us, still we kept our hearts focused on the hope of home. Even when we saw other cars abandoned in the snow drifts, still we knew our safe, warm home was waiting. And when we finally made it home, we reflected on God's faithfulness and goodness to us. Motherhood is a long journey along an uncertain road of life, but take heart, God is with you.
He will never leave you or forsake you. He's with you all the way home.
May God grant you the courage to take heart in the midst of your winter seasons, to reflect on what you know is true, to wait on Him, and to hope in the power of the resurrection promised in the season ahead. May He quiet your spirit with his peace as you reflect upon the winter landscape of your life and anticipate the promise of new life with the coming of spring.
We also want to announce the winner of our conference giveaway from a couple of weeks ago: Jennifer Williams! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information as soon as possible!
Thanks so all of you who have been helping Nathan and me get the news of our book out. We had over 35,000 shares on the video in the past few days--amazing. Perhaps more of us are different or feel different or have different children than we have talked about. It is my hope that many will feel they are not alone, that they will feel understood.
We're so excited about the upcoming release of this new book, Different! You can read more about it at and even order a copy at www.thedifferentbook.com !