Wednesday, February 17, 2016

When Winter Threatens To Steal Your Joy

I took a walk yesterday. A few weeks back it snowed for nearly two days straight__ almost three feet of snow piled up on the farm. The snow's still here.

It's hard to believe that we've been through five winters in this place, five of which brought a deep, real struggle for this Mama. 

And if I'm honest with myself, I've been afraid. I've been afraid that when our sweet Shiloh was born in winter, that this would be the hardest winter yet. I had in my mind that the combination of the trapped, angry, sad, in a funk feeling that I have had every winter in this place, mixed with the hormones that come with a new baby, that this winter just might be the worst one of all. 

Until we moved to the farm, I never knew what a soul-winter felt like. The dark days and the cold winds and the way they bring with them a pit in the stomach and a feeling of a never-ending dark season. When you're in the thick of a soul-winter, it is so stinking hard to find your joy. 

I keep trying to pin point what has been different about this winter? Has there been less snow? No. Maybe it's the vitamins I've been taking or the exercise? I'm sure that has helped in some way or another. Maybe it's the warm coat and the tall boots that I got as Christmas gifts that have made the cold a bit more bearable?  Maybe it's that the kids are getting older and more able to practice a bit of self control on the days that we're stuck inside all day? Or maybe they are just as loud as they have always been and the Lord is working some things out in this Mama?

This winter has not only been just okay, it's been sprinkled with bouts of joy. I wanna say that it's because the Lord is faithful and kind to bring His kids sweet relief, but then it gets me thinking about the past five years when the joy wasn't so tangible.

Where was God's faithfulness in those seasons, in the ones where I wanted nothing more than to pack up the treasures and convince my man to bring us all back to CA and the year-round sunshine and the glorious beach and the people I have known and loved since I was 12. When things get hard, my mind automatically goes to the place my heart remembers as being glorious. It completely blocks out any of the struggles or trials that I might have had in that place, and it glorifies all the aspects of that place that I currently feel like I'm lacking in this place. 

But the truth of the matter is that God is still God and I am still me, no matter where I'm living. The truth is that there are joys and struggles in both places. The truth is that the Lord doesn't change. It doesn't matter if I'm in the depths of despair, or if I'm in my sweet spot, He will always be the same consistent, loving, faithful God. His steadfastness is the attribute I love most about Him.

The snow has hit the farm hard this year.  As I walked our muddy road, surrounded by fields of white,  I breathed in the fresh, crisp air and whispered thanks to God. Thanks for warm jackets and tall boots and white twinkle lights and cozy book nooks in the middle of winter. Life on the farm will never be perfect. But there is beauty in this place and always one source of joy that will never go away. It's the joy that comes from that sweet, old hymn when it assures the soul that b__ the steadfast love of the Lord (truly) never ceases.