by Ginger Gaines, Chief Operating Officer of The Next Door
I love SPRINGTIME!
Every year when I spot the first little tiny crocus petals peeking up through the ground (or sometimes the snow!), quickly followed by the beautiful bright yellow daffodils sprinkled throughout my drive to and from work, I get so excited about Spring! I know that very soon I’ll also see the forsythia and redbud trees in bloom and the pear trees looking so glorious everywhere! Every March I always say, “Spring is my favorite time of the year!” I break out my sandals, put away my heavy sweaters, and happily move my winter coat from the back seat of my car to the inside closet.
But then, inevitably, the temperatures drop again, and I race to cut and bring in at least a few daffodils before the freeze kills them, I pull on my fur lined boots again, and feel like a cold wet blanket was thrown over my spring spirit.
Sometimes I feel like my relationship with God is a lot like the changing seasons. There are days when I recognize Him as the Light, in bright moments all throughout my day, and my heart and life feel like the “well-watered garden” in Isaiah 58:11:
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden; like a spring whose waters never fail.
But on other days, my heart and soul feel like that cold wet blanket. I dwell on the disappointments, the problems, or my failures, rather than His provision and love. Whether one’s struggle is with substance addiction, mental illness, financial difficulty, broken relationships, loss of a loved one, or any other life issue that might knock us sideways, there are some days we are better than others at recognizing that God’s blessings are given according to His rich grace, not the depth of our faith or our performance!
We are also slow to recognize that the troubled times magnify our need for Him, and we can recognize that even “in the valley of the shadow…” HE is with us! He comforts us and gives peace that only He can.
I will move forward on this cold spring day by remembering and accepting His great love and grace with every beautiful bloom I see. I will trust His timing for every blessing, and lean in closer to Him, not trying to live only for the next bright spot, but taking in the harder times and growing in them. I will be still long enough to get a glimpse of His “big picture.”
(I’ll also put on my big fuzzy socks again before climbing into bed tonight!)