It seems strange that on a day when it’s 95 degrees and I’m sitting in my sweltering living room (PAUSE: we don’t have AC…we chose the “extras” for our modular home in the middle of February, and I gotta tell you, when it’s -45 outside, you really don’t think it could ever be in the 90s again) …that it really feels like winter.
Winter always gives me the sense of loneliness. You stare out the window at chunks of ice swirling violently over a frozen dirt road and you don’t really care that no one wants to go anywhere or do anything…it just seems right to sit on the couch and drink something hot. Now summer, sweet summer, that is OUR time here in ND. Everybody’s out doing fun things, camping, going on adventures, having fire pit parties and going out on the lakes. Our little family has had the chance to do some of those things too this summer. But you know what? The soul doesn’t care what the physical season is. We aren’t on the same track as mother earth. God is the one changing our internal seasons, and sometimes, we’re sitting in the same one for what feels like forever.
Just after my daughter was born, winter hit me hard. Winter outside was pretty intense too, but nothing like the internal freeze I was experiencing. It seemed like my every attempt to reach outside of myself, for the friends and the things I had been so enjoying…just fell flat. As the months went on I didn’t want to see anyone or go anywhere. At some point, two ladies from my MOPS team reached out to me. We hadn’t even hung out much outside of MOPS team meetings, but they thought of me. They made the effort to come over, they set me up with dinner for the family and brought some warmth just when I needed it most. Recently, I’ve been really trying climb out of this “winter” season, but working part-time has kept me so busy it’s been a good excuse for being anti-social. Still, I’ve forced myself to take my son to birthday parties and community events, even made the effort to make a couple of play dates happen. Having my sister here has given me courage, as well as a close friend who gets me out of the house almost every week so our kids can play. But yesterday, as soon as I woke up, the bleh feelings, the overwhelm of a messy house and parts of life just as chaotic…it was suffocating. I grabbed a cup of coffee and climbed back in bed. I set Eloise next to me, and opened this beautiful book, GraceLaced by Ruth Chou Simons. Wouldn’t you know it, the devotional is divided into SEASONS. *chills!*Honestly, as tough as this season was and has been, I truly believe that it isn’t wasted. When everything else fails, God reminds us He’s still there.
There’s been a couple of devotionals I’ve read lately that have been nothing short of chocolate for my soul. 🙂 But this one, my friends, this one page was like a soul-exposing lightning bolt.
“Any notion I have of finding comfort and satisfaction in the perfection of my surroundings has simply shown itself for what it is: an idol of the heart that can neither sustain nor deliver.”
Perfect surroundings, perfect friendships, perfect mommahood…safe to say those are all pretty major goals for me. I never thought of them as idols. But, yeah. All I can think now is, “Wow, no wonder I’m so beat up. That’s quite a burden I put on myself. This season of winter hasn’t just been post-partum baby blues (though that’s been a very real part of it) or rotten timing for friendships and family drama. This has been one of those times of life where God is sending a clear and persistent message: make Him my shelter. Rest in Him. Dwell in that place.
As I read GraceLaced I realized there’s something really important about winter…
“You don’t have to bloom to be growing”.
Cue my “come to Jesus” moment and lots of ugly mom tears. Oh boy.
Fast forward to now. A sweet woman I met at a church small group back in the actual winter invited me to her home for homemade enchiladas and a lot of other deliciousness. It was one of my first group get-togethers since my own personal winter got really bad, and I was hesitant to go. But something pretty awesome happened. I enjoyed myself. AND, while we were there, I found out most of the women there had never been to a tea party. Ummm, HELLO! I’m pretty much ALL ABOUT tea parties! Plans were made, and this weekend I had TWENTY-TWO women and children in my home for the biggest tea party I’ve ever hosted. My sweet sister was amazing at helping me bring it together, and my friend, the one who made the out-of-this-world enchiladas, cooked wonderful treats for the savories course. Ah, food for the soul!
Everyone had a great time, despite no AC and a messy kitchen. Perfection was not necessary. After all, it isn’t actually real. And at the end of a full day (because you KNOW that none of us mommas actually just sat and drank tea the whole time with 14 kids needing tending to), I’m sitting here and thinking about growing even in winter… spring might not be so very far away.
*I found out Gracelaced is offering free gifts with pre-orders! Check out this beautiful devotional at: www.gracelaced.com/gracelacedbook