There was a day that seemed magical where soft flakes of snow drifted down on Christmas day and covered our world with a glistening blanket of white. Our hearts were merry and bright. You could see the twinkle in eyes of young and old alike as we dug out sleds and bundled up for play. Who could remember such a perfect holiday season? It was everything we imagined it could be, everything that the world tells us it should be. A perfect postcard.
But then the snow lingered. It turned to ice. The sky became hidden behind a fog that didn’t seem in a hurry to leave. Temperatures continued to drop and our beautiful dream began to feel like a nightmare. Where once a twinkle had danced in our eyes, a cloudiness had settled in.
Now, we spend our days dreaming of the sun and its warmth and all the fruit of its rays. Inevitably, the sun will come out again. All of us know the truth of this. But it is feeling it that becomes the issue. The cold feels like it will never leave and there are days where we start to believe that it won’t.
Have you ever felt like this in a different area of your life? Maybe inside of your marriage that started out perfect but has fallen into a rut that seems like will never end. Or a relationship with one of your children? You can remember the days where they colored pictures for you and danced in your arms, but those days feel like a distant memory. And the strain of the relationship wears on your soul and drains the life from you. Perhaps it was a group of friends, a church group, a mentor relationship….all of us have relationships in our life that go through winter seasons. The question is how do we hold on until Spring comes?
I am still in the process of figuring this out. As much as I feel my years hanging out with teenagers all of the time, I am still young and learning about life. So, here is my “holding on” plan that is still being tested and tried. Feel free to add yours or comment on mine.
1. Envision the Future
I can get lost in the feelings of the present and lose sight of the future, so I have to be intentional about what I set my eyes on. There are things that help me to see and I use them a lot. They are Scripture verses, inspirational quotes, a detailed vision, a conversation with a trusted friend about the future…all of these are anchors to pull my emotions into the reality where things are changing and a new season is being birthed just beyond what I can see.
2. Remember the Past
When the dream turns into a nightmare, you have to go back and remember the dream. Remember what you fell in love with, the beauty that is still there buried inside of the burdensome, the mystery hiding just beyond what has become so familiar. Sometimes I write out a list of things I am thankful for. Sometimes I whisper them out loud in the quiet of the morning and let them sink into my soul. Sometimes I speak them out to a friend. Whatever it takes, I remember.
3. Bathe in the faithfulness of God
There is nothing that I need more than the steadfastness of His love when my world feels like it is being buried under arctic temperatures. So, I turn to His love that still mystifies me. Over and over again, I take in His words that tell me of His faithfulness even when I am unfaithful. No matter how cold my heart has begun to feel, the power of His love saturates me with a supernatural warmth. I can feel the life coming back into my being. And in this place of bathing in His love, I can actually be thankful for the winter’s cold. Because without it, I would not know the force of His love and how it changes me in spite of the conditions that surround me.