Coldest Winter

I was driving on Saturday, allowing the beautiful sun to shine light on me and fully feeling the breeze tossing my hair to and fro.  I was really enjoying it and taking it all in when it occurred to me that what I was feeling was pure happiness in that moment.  I haven’t felt that in awhile – a happiness not propelled into existence by a situation, a person, or something temporarily going my way.  I was just happy to be alive and I felt amazing being free of the weight of the past few months.  Spring had arrived.

Winter was quite the time here in the DMV.  While I definitely would not have called this the harshest winter that I remember experiencing here, I can say that this winter weighed on a lot of us as unnecessarily long, predictably unpredictable, and just much.  It left many of us who would normally pray for as many snow days as possibly screaming no mas; it was time to be on with the next season.

But while winter began in December, my personal winter began in August of last year.  I had, no doubt, experienced rough and dark times in my life before but this time felt different.  It felt so interpersonally cold – a different type of harsh.  The light of hope seemed to linger shorter than the darkness of reality on many days and I faced many decisions about where to go from here.  I could not wish this personal winter away, much like in the natural; I had to wait it out until the changing of the seasons.  My winter solstice lingered for days and weeks and I begged to feel the Son closer to me.

“There was healing in my pain (everything happens for a reason)…”

I felt more wilt than bloom and many days I wished that I had migrated (avoidance, my usual action of choice).  This winter, however, I decided that I was going to wait out the ugliness and bareness of the season until I start seeing the fruit and bloom of the spring.

I had two options: die or harden.  Many plants die in the winter but some actually live through and bloom through the winter.  The process of survival of the plants and trees in winter is called hardening.  The snow, though it kills many plants, can actually protect the roots of certain plants and trees causing them to survive the winter.  Even if some of parts of the plants and trees die, the roots are secure.  My winter secured my roots and though some stuff withered away and other stuff died, my foundation and my growing mechanism was intact.  It thickened my skin and forced me to believe in who God created me to be and what He’s purposed me to do.  I had no one to lean on and no one to believe in me for me anymore; it was time to grow up and glow up.

As my winter went on, the effects of it weren’t as much of a massive blow.  I wasn’t wilting anymore; I was standing.  The tears that had watered so much of my winter had slowed down and the storms didn’t rock me like they did before.  The light of hope started to outlast the darkness of my reality and when I least expected it, spring showed up.

I can write this, not because everything is going absolutely swell in my life right now or because I am done with all the lessons.  There are the lovely spring days and the days when it seems that winter is refusing to go away.  But Spring is the time to celebrate growth and bloom; it’s a time to recognize greatness in things that were considered dead or were unacknowledged in winter.  Spring is the time when the birds come back and the animals come out of hibernation; things are restored to order.  So if you don’t think you have any reason to be excited for Spring, you do.  If you have never experienced a personal winter, trust me you will.  But when that time comes, remember that no season lasts forever – Spring comes soon.  As someone who has just experienced a personal winter, spring is so much sweeter after a true winter.  There is hope!

“Crazy how the coldest winter feels so warm and my brightest days are without the sun and my best of all has just begun, I made it through in winter…The cold was worth it all…

I love who I am becoming…or better yet, who I always was but am now seeing for myself.  I know that this would not be possible if not for winter.  So, as with everything else, I’ve learned to be grateful.

Note: The italicized words are from the song, Coldest Winter, by Micki Miller.  I have been blasting this song for the past couple of days.  This beautiful, talented young lady (and PK!!) released her EP, Coldest Winter, on mickimiller.bandcamp.com.  Check it out!  You will not regret it, trust me.

xo,

Ash!

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