The Hostas Underneath the Snow

Spring matters more than ever at our house, because the resurrection matters more than ever.

Lewis calls spring the “waiting room of the world,” a “nothing time.” I have felt begrudgingly similar toward my least favorite season. I’d take the known cold of winter over being jerked around by the seemingly false promises of spring. I love warmth and buds, but every year I find myself in a malaise of disappointment, wondering if it will actually come round.

Yet, spring is reminding me that God does keep his promises. Even when it’s April and a snowstorm. Or, May and a snowstorm. Even when it seems like death wins. I must not mistake the hints of God’s goodness and promise-keeping that are all around in the thaw/freeze/thaw/freeze cycle of spring, for the taunts of the enemy, who’s hoping I don’t notice the hostas underneath the snow.

Think of Jesus and the thaw/freeze cycle of his final week. Triumphal entry=thaw. Cleansing the temple=freeze. Lament over Jerusalem=freeze. Teaching and explaining parables=thaw. Plotting of Pharisees=freeze. Last supper=thaw. Gethsemane=freeze. Questioned by Pilate/Herod=freeze. Release offered by Pilate=thaw. Crucifixion=freeze. Resurrection=thaw. Humanly this is difficult to grasp in the moment, but this is all one massive thaw, just like spring. It seems back and forth, but it’s really the trajectory of resurrection, and the freezing is necessary for the ultimate thaw.

Winter is the setting and the stage for redemption. It is the stark backdrop to the glories that are coming.  And for those who have gone deep into that winter, those for whom winter has been the bleakest and coldest, who have refused to take the road of bitterness and have thrown themselves on the grace of God, perhaps the glories will be all the brighter.

We bid farewell to winter as the big melt was underway on Saturday. Tom took the kids for the last sledding trip down the hill.

four kids, a dad and a sled.
four kids, a dad and a sled.
Whoops, falling off.
Whoops, falling off.
All set!
All set!
And they're off!
And they’re off!

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Goodbye winter.
Goodbye winter.

 

When the House Cries

Our home has been crying for two days.

wpid-housecry.jpgIt started with the hot tears of disappointment. Yesterday morning, out on the pond, there were ducks. By early afternoon the storm had started, the ducks were gone and the window panes were covered with tears.

wpid-housecry2.jpgThe following day, the hot tears had become ice cold streams of sorrow. Unrelenting and dimming every view.

wpid-housecry4.jpgAfter a while, the cry started to wear itself out. The sadness was there, but the tears were stagnant. They’d lost the volume, but not the ache.

wpid-housecry3.jpgAt last and almost by disguise, light started to creep in the windows. A single color presented itself. And our house sighed and silent tears started. Tears of gratefulness, of heartache soothed, of melting. Tears that taste all the more sweet for the time of bitter.

P.S. Anyone else feeling morose and wordy in the wake of this weather?! Forgive the melodrama!

the miraculous sermons in my front yard

A couple of weeks back I was cleaning out flower beds. That, in itself, is a minor miracle, considering it was mid-march in Minnesota.

As I raked out a few leaves and pulled off dead stuff, I had no expectation of seeing growth–none whatsoever. So imagine my surprise when I saw this.

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Amazing right? I had been lulled to sleep by winter, but these little shoots jolted me awake to the reality that God had done it again. He made life come out of the ground. Spring does not usually catch me by surprise, (at least not since I’ve lived in MN and so desperately longed for it) but this year, it did.

Now comes one of the sermons my front yard provided.Image

Can you see it? It looks kind of watery, but it wasn’t. It was pure ice. There were green shoots growing straight through a block of ice attached to the ground.

Just look at it! Leftover death in the form of the long brown leafy things and present death in the form of the ice. And the small green shoot is the miracle of new birth in Christ amidst it all screaming at me to take notice. That shoot is saying, “LOOK at me! This is what happened to you when God quickened life into your dead and sinful heart!” And that is a true testimony. Out of past death and present darkness my new heart was born through Christ.

And here’s sermon number two, just a foot and half away from sermon number one.

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Yep, that’s a thistle. Oooo, I hate them. I pulled this one out with my bare hand. Because sometimes I need to know what sin feels like to my skin. I can mask what it feels like in my heart, but when it makes my hand bleed, there’s no denying it. And the thistle did its God given job of yelling, “Sin isn’t a soft pet that you keep and coddle. It’s prickly and voracious. It is a living, spreading death.”

Our God, El Roi, The God Who Sees, sees us in every little thing we do, and His creation testifies to greater things than mere shoots and thistles. Do I have eyes to see what the Father has revealed in His spoken world? Lord, give me eyes to see and ears to hear!

“’Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.4 And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. 5 Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil.6 And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8 And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” 9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’”   Mark 4:3-9