Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Light Will Come

Living on the East Coast has been a unique and exciting experience. It is a completely different culture, climate, and way of life from the West Coast, especially here in New York City. One of the more obvious differences between the East Coast and the West Coast is the extreme difference of weather and seasons. Growing up in Southern California, I had never truly experienced all four seasons and I certainly had never dealt with a snowy winter in my life. In fact, believe it or not, I had actually never even seen a snowfall before moving to New York City. A true winter and quintessential snowy living experience was mystical and romantic in my eyes because it was the polar opposite of what I had experienced.

Well, that has changed.

This winter in particular has been filled with endless cold and snow, so much so that native New Yorkers who have lived here their whole lives are complaining about it and are thoroughly over it. Though snow days are highly enjoyable (a phenomenon for this Southern California girl), the wear and tear of having to live daily life in this type of weather begins to get exhausting and agitating after a while. A simple trip to the grocery store down the block to pick up a few items becomes a five layer wearing, watch where you are stepping, snow mucking circus. The next thing you realize, days or even a week has gone by and you have not seen the sun. A crystal blue sky is a faint memory and gray haze has suddenly become an unwelcome house guest that doesn't know when to leave.

It was not until I experienced the bone chilling cold, every day grays (skies), and the love/hate relationship of snow (Central Park=Yes. Snowy/sleety/three-foot wide ice-cold deep puddle off of every curb = No) that I quickly realized how truly amazing spring is.

I got a slight taste of spring today. Not in temperature, but rather in sunshine. After an extremely snowy week, the sun finally made its way out today to shine over a city blanketed in white.

It. Was. Glorious.

As soon as I looked out my window upon waking up to be greeted by the sun, I knew immediately that soon I would bundle up, stop to pick up a piping hot Cafe Americano, and take a walk through Central Park to soak up every possible ray of sunshine.

While walking through the Park, I was pondering the goodness of God and the beauty of spring. The spiritual metaphors of winter and spring especially stood out to me since I was experiencing them physically, as well as emotionally. Past entries have made it clear that I recently came out of an extremely hard season of life...a definite winter that (while I was stuck in the middle of it) felt like it would last forever.

But now, (praise God!!!) my spring is here! The winter has passed and the spring has arrived. I've never appreciated my spring so much then after having gone through my winter. And much like a literal, physical spring were plants and flowers that have died off during winter come back to life, I too have come back of life as a completely new creation. I am not the same person that I was before going through my winter season. I am SO MUCH BETTER now on the other side and I am rejoicing in my spring for the woman that God has crafted me into.

There is no doubt about it: A spiritual winter sucks. It is painful and bitter and at times feels like it may crush you.

But there is also no doubt about it: A spiritual spring is LIBERATING, REVOLUTIONARY, and LIFE CHANGING!

And lets face it: You can't truly have a spring awakening, without a winter burial.

I'm writing today to those of you who may still be going through your spiritual winter. I'm writing to you today from the side of a spiritual spring to tell you: Hold on. Your light will come. Your sunshine is on it's way. The winter will not last forever, but will soon give way to the miracle that is spring. God is faithful. He never leaves us in winter.

How do I know this?

Because the cross was not completed with the crucifixion and burial. It was completed through the RESURRECTION!

And if death, burial, and subsequent resurrection to a new life was good enough for Jesus, than mostly certainly it is more than good enough for us. After all, did Jesus not say, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26). 

Please understand me clearly here. I'm not talking about a literal death, nor am I talking about God purposely bringing suffering into our lives. I do not believe He that causes torturous things in our life, but I do believe that He allows us to go through wintery seasons of life in order to refine us and allow the baggage and unnecessary things in our life to die off in order to make room for a new, resurrected, stronger you.

David speaks brilliantly to this in Pslam 23:4 saying, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

...though I walk through the valley of the SHADOW of death....

That is it. It is only a shadow. 

The enemy mocks us and tries to convince us that it truly is death and that the winter season will last forever. But this is a lie from the pit of hell. For we know that "weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). 

Remember: "Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35-38, NLT). 

To all my dear ones still going through winter...hold on. The light will come. The sunshine is already on its way. The gray skies will depart and the blue skies will come. As hard as it is, do not focus on your winter, but instead, look toward your spring. Expect it. Call it forth. And when it arrives, embrace it wholeheartedly and do not allow familiar winter temperatures to try to come back. 

Despite all you are going through, He is with you in the midst of your winter. Though your bones are chilled and hurting, the Refiner's fire is heating them back to life and crafting them to be stronger than ever before. Embrace it. Don't run away from it. Lean into God even in the midst of the hurt and allow Him to change you and prepare you for your spring. Draw near to Him for He has already drawn near to you. 

As difficult as my winter was, I can honestly say that I wouldn't skip over it or trade it, for I would not be in this spring and would not be a new creation--a better me--the me that I have always wanted to be, but didn't know how to be. It is worth it. While you may not understand it while going through it (or even after you come through it), remember that God is working on your behalf mightily. What the enemy has meant to destroy you, God is using it to promote you and grow you. Your greatest pain may soon become your greatest testimony. 

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, NIV). 

The cross is always followed by the Resurrection.

Winter is always followed by spring.

The darkness of night always fades into the light of day.

Chris Tomlin, Awakening

For You and You alone awake my soul, awake my soul and sing. 
For the world You love, let Your will be done, let Your will be done me.

Like the rising sun that shines, from the darkness comes a light. 
I hear Your voice and this is my awakening. 

Only You can raise a life. Awake my soul. 
Awake my soul and sing.

1 comment:

  1. beautifully said my dear. I am so glad your spiritual spring has come, and even more glad that you are using it -- and the spiritual winter you endured -- to share with others what God has done in you.


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