Shelby Forsythia sent me an email this week saying she shared a bonus feature with content from our podcast conversation back in December. Parts of our conversation now fill an “in the meantime” slot for Coming Back and when I clicked play in the email, the words caused my brain to pause.
She asked me what was beautiful on that day back in December. December! Wasn’t I staring at Christmas lights just yesterday? Three months ago it was dark and cold and we were wrapping up one year in anticipation of the next. I was trying to live and plan ahead while hoping to cut off the pulsing blood supply to my grief wound. March was looming and with it came the promise of big birthdays and hard anniversaries.
Taking action, I thought, could help me resist the need to stay burrowed under dirt and hurt.
Ruth Chou Simons, painter of beautiful words and the owner of GraceLaced, said earlier this week on her Instagram,
“I won’t regale you with all the reasons and circumstances, but this has been a long winter for me. You, too?
But suddenly, branches are brimming with flowering buds and green shoots break through the cold, hard earth. Turns out, Spring arrived while I was busy thinking I’d never make it through the winter.
In reality, despite the way it feels to our feeble minds, God has not been hibernating or taking time off in our winter season …
While we’re wondering if He’s still at work in the circumstances that feel so impossible, He has been holding all things together for the unfurling of His plan.
Friend: what if your winter is His wooing?”
A gentle pursuit rather than a braggy ‘check out what I can do for you.’ I’m imagining a God whose wooing persists through desperation. Who woos while accepting angry blows to the chest from my flailing fists. The wooing from a loving spirit invites rest, waiting, and hope. Wooing requires trust, intimacy, and vulnerability. And wooing requires a willing recipient of all that attention.
I’ve been praying while doubting the wooing for quite some time. Asking and failing to trust all the same.
March submerged me in a pile of small grief bubbles, triggers popping like soap suds as days rolled off the calendar, moving us closer to the three year anniversary. I noticed today, though, my gosh, the days have suddenly passed.
So much has shifted since December and that interview.
When I stop to listen and sit at the feet of God’s mountains, his foothills, his rustling bare trees I see all that God has done for me and my family in our dark winter season. I’ve been angry and weeping and moving and still he kept saying, “I’m here.”
It’s light out longer now. The sun dances through my kitchen window long passed 7 pm. The things we had been praying for for two years just burst themselves beautifully into our lives like brave tulips poking their little heads out of hibernation and into our garden plot. The same patch of dry dirt that has been waiting. The place where we plan to cultivate beautiful things in this new season ahead.
God’s still at it – whispering to please slow down – for it is time to till the dirt and the hurt into beautifully rich earth instead.