When Bad Behavior is a Good Sign

A few years ago I started losing hair.  Lots of hair.  Like handfuls of hair every time I showered.  Naturally, I went to the doctor to find out what was going on.  After a battery of tests we determined my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) was high, which meant my thyroid hormone was low; hence the hair loss.  (Of course, then you have to determine why these things are suddenly out of balance, which in my case was related to nursing a baby.)

The confusing part to me was an increase in my TSH indicated a decrease in my thyroid function.  This is called an inverse relationship.  As one thing goes up, another comes down.

inverse relationship graph

Parenting can be like that, too.  Sometimes an increase in one thing is an indicator of a decrease in something else and vice versa.

Take sleep, for instance.  You’ve seen it.  A little toddler has missed their nap and is now up late.  What do they do?  Run in circles laughing hysterically.  Jump up and down while giggling.  A decrease in sleep causes an increase in hysterical laughter and hyperactivity among young children.  Conversely, decreased sleep causes an increase in irritability and caffeine consumption among teens and adults.

There are some inverse relationships in child development as well.  As mobility increases (e.g. crawling) independence decreases (e.g. separation anxiety). Of course, we usually expect equilibrium to resume with experience.  As a child learns they can return to you (and that you will return for them) the separation becomes easier to bear, and even enjoyable to a point.  It is fun for them to go explore their world and come back and report their findings.

But there is another, unexpected inverse relationship that I’d like to talk about today.  It’s the relationship between a temporary decrease in good behavior at home associated with an increase in love and acceptance.  This is something parents of young toddlers (and again in the early teen years) need to hear and be reminded of repeatedly.

There is a developmental necessity behind poor behavior at home in contrast to good behavior in public.  It points to a social awareness that needs to develop in all children  It can result in meltdowns with Mommy that would never happen in social settings.  It starts very young.

Babies will experiment with their different emotions only if they feel accepted. They don’t try new behaviors with strangers because they are not confident of being loved.

Don’t we do this exact same thing? Isn’t this the reason we can answer the phone in a cheerful voice even while we are yelling our kids just before our thumb hits the “answer” button?  We don’t have confidence that the person on the other end of the phone will accept us if they hear the fits we are throwing.  That’s fear of man at it’s finest, and it starts really early.

Of course I want to train my children to live for God’s pleasure and not man’s approval, but the realization that expressing negative emotions points to confidence in my love helps along the way.   Once I understand the freedom to try out a full range of emotion indicates my child’s confidence in my love, it reframes my perspective.  Not that I will excuse disobedience, but I can see it a little differntly.

It gives me hope.

It gives me perspective and assurance that I am doing something right. My kids know that with me it is safe to reveal their hearts – even the ugly parts.  It doesn’t make it fun, but it adds meaning.

Angry-sad facesChildren who recognize the presence of unfailing love have the confidence to try out their negative emotions.  They grow in the confidence to try out positive ones as well.  They will take risks. Given the freedom to fail, they will gain the freedom to succeed.

There is a difference between having the freedom to fail and being expected to fail.

There is also a difference between expecting poor choices as a developmental milestone and accepting poor choices without correcting them.  It is just as important for my kids to learn to direct their emotions in a constructive way as it is for them to feel free to have and express emotions.

It gets worse before it gets better.  Parenting is a weighty task.

So much of my parenting shapes the view of God my children will carry into adulthood.  Lord willing, I am training them for the transition from confidence in a mommy’s love and acceptance to confidence in God’s love and acceptance.  Ultimately, I want them to be so confident of the presence of a loving God that they draw on his power in daily life.  They will only draw on this power for life if they are equipped to recognize the presence of his unfailing love.  They learn to recognize Him as they experience me.

No pressure, right?

I need to learn to accept failure and paint a picture of failure as a step toward success.  It is different from expecting failure, or preventing failure, or promoting success.  My kids need to know I love them, that I accept them no matter what they do (based on who they are, not how they perform), and that I believe they can succeed.  I want them to learn perseverance is more important than “success.”  I want them looking for progress, not perfection.  And I don’t think they’ll see it that way unless I do.  I think that is how they will grow to understand the unconditional love of the Father and learn to live in light of it.

It’s not just something I need to teach my kids either.  I need to persevere during these challenging years, too.   And sometimes the realization that some of the behavioral struggles I face with my kids is a sign of an invisible success can help me persevere.

You may need to see that you are doing something right if your kids act out at home but not in public.  I want you to have hope in the midst of this difficult phase of child training – yes, we need to be faithful to train, correct, and discipline our kids.  But the fact that these moments happen indicate that they know they are loved.  Good job, mom.  Keep going.

 

Reeling from the Blow

On Monday I published a post called Red Meat Sin.  There is so much that I struggle with on a daily basis which results from being out of scripture or not really digging into scripture, even if I’m faithfully reading it.

It is not uncommon.  Whether temptation threatens to overtake you because, like me, you need protein or because you are tired, or wired, or you just got fired, giving into temptation is sin.  Somebody needs to get to me in those moments and help me get over myself.  Meat or no meat, there’s no excuse for harsh speech.  Whatever temptation you struggle with, sometimes you just need to get over yourself, too.  Like me, you need to be confronted in love.

But there are other times in life when the issues aren’t sin.  We can be so overwhelmed by something – or a series of somethings – that we lose our footing. And it can happen when we are being obedient and faithful and walking exactly where God calls us to walk.  In those moments, we don’t need someone to scold us for being on the wrong path, we need someone to hold our hand in the darkness and assure us the path is still there.  We need someone who can see the light we can no longer see.

I need friends who will call me out when I am “hangry” and I attempt to excuse a harsh tongue.  I also need friends who will call out to me when I cannot find my way in a harsh wilderness.  Both aspects of friendship direct me to Christ and restore me to serving him.

About a year ago, I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually depleted from an extended period of difficulty.  At that low point, our family and ministry received a blow I had no reserves to meet.  I wasn’t merely “hangry.” I reeled from the blow and staggered to find my footing.

For years I had faith made strong by gazing on the face of Jesus and he sustained me as I walked on the waves of ministry and motherhood.  But there came a time when the reality of the wind and the waves caught my attention away from Christ and threatened to overwhelm me.  I sank down.  I felt like I was drowning. (Matthew 14:25-30)

My prayers truly were groanings of the Spirit on my behalf.  I could articulate nothing and was so overwhelmed I did not know what to pray. (Romans 8:26)

My heart was parched and shriveled soil – the kind that shrinks for the obvious reason: lack of water. Soil in this state is made worse because plants draw out just about all the water from the soil. On top of that, blistering heat evaporates any remaining moisture.  Ground like that cannot absorb the water it desperately needs. My heart, depleted by life and heated circumstances draining my reserves, was parched.  I would read scripture, but the words washed away in torrents, leaving me desperate and thirsty.

Worship became this place inside filled with an empty silence, not an ominous silence or the silence of being abandoned, but something so intensely private.  Even in hindsight I cannot adequately explain it, but my awe of God grew.  Understanding my utter weakness and his strength, grasping the fullness of my failure and his victory, sharing the rejection Christ experienced… somehow all that mingled with the scripture hidden in the core of my being and fueled worship.  His Spirit ministered to my heart from the inside when nothing could penetrate from the outside.  I knew his patient presence even as I floundered to trust his sovereignty and goodness.

Like Peter on the water, “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of [me], saying to [me], ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'” (Matthew 14:31).

But there was this long pause between the moment when “he took hold” of me and when he whispered gently, “Why did you doubt?”

Like several months of pause.

Just as I felt kinship with Peter who sank beneath the waves, I felt kinship with Christ as he recovered from his time in the wilderness.

“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” (Matthew 4:11)

imageHis “hand” that took hold of me was a few precious saints who ministered to me in my distress.  Truly they were angels of mercy.

I know how helpless it feels to sit with a friend and listen to the unspoken ache echoing in the silence.  I know how inadequate it feels to simply hold a hand as someone grieves.  I am familiar with how empty a full casserole dish can appear when it is offered to someone in a time of deep sadness.

I now know, in a different way, the soothing balm of practical friendship applied in liberal doses.

You see, when these precious few took care of my children, held my hand, cleaned my house, dried my tears, kidnapped me to get a massage, listened to my ranting, took me to lunch, quietly and gently called up truth in my heart, fed my family, texted me loving notes, mulched my flower beds, and cried my tears with me, they were loving me.

They listened with their hearts fully engaged, even though it hurt.

It is painful to enter into someone else’s pain.  It is costly – and I mean more than the supplies and time needed to clean a house.  But please know, cleaning the house sometimes clears away more than dust and cobwebs.  Sometimes it creates a safe place for a broken spirit to heal.  Sometimes it clears the path out of the wilderness.

My friends sacrificed to restore me because of their love for Christ and for his kingdom. {Incidentally, they also love me. :)}  They comforted (as in fortified and strengthened) me so that I could serve his church again.  Not so I could enjoy happiness, but so I could enjoy holiness.  Which is the same reason they would confront me when I am “hangry.”

As women we need friendships that direct us to Christ like this.  We need women in our lives that love Christ even more than they love us.  And we need women who are compelled by their love for Christ to love us when we falter, regardless of the reason.  We need friends who love Jesus enough to call us out on our sin – but who also love Jesus enough to call out to us in the darkness.

 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.  Hebrews 10:24

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Photo Credits
Hands by Rhoda Baer (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Cracked Soil by L. Shyamal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Witching Hour

I don’t relate to some of the television shows from the 60’s and 70’s.  Someone like June Cleaver is standing in the kitchen – in a freshly pressed dress, classy heels, spotless make-up, with every hair in place – cooking dinner.  Her husband walks in from work and finds a tidy kitchen, is greeted with a cold drink and encouraged to sit in the living room while she finishes up.  He repairs to the living room and peruses the newspaper while carrying on conversations with the kids.  The kids quietly play jacks in the floor or diligently finish their homework.  They might talk about how to serve the man painting their house or discuss a meaningful book to read for an upcoming book report.

When my husband walks in the door from work, he will more likely find someone at the end of the hall looking for their happy heart, another couple of children tearfully trying to reconcile their relationship, and a mama wearing jeans, barefoot, with a ponytail that has seen better days in the kitchen chasing the toddler out of the cabinets,.  There might be a clean glass in the cabinet for a drink if he’s thirsty, but “cooking class” will have to finish before there is any hope of dinner.  Instead of being encouraged to unwind and chat with the kids, he is asked to take the whirling toddler from the cookie decorating cabinet and tend to the aroma issuing from the accident simmering in said toddler’s pants.

I affectionately refer to this time of day as the witching hour.

Eternity Clock

It’s this hour, late in the afternoon, when the sun begins its slow descent to the horizon and rumblings and groanings are heard in tummies throughout my house.  The noisy tummies turn into noisy children clamoring for attention and bickering as their lunchtime calories are depleted.  It starts like clockwork with one simple question:

“What’s for dinner?”

Can you relate?

Having a plan for dinner is helpful not only during the witching hour, but also for minimizing our food expenses.  By planning ahead, we save money on sales, bulk purchases, and time.

I’m sure you are sold on the concept and benefits of meal planning, so that’s all I want to say about that.  What I really want to talk about is a little trick I learned to make meal planning easier.

A lot of the time our family operates from freezer meals (a topic for another day), but we have phases where I am primarily planning freshly made meals.  I am in one of those phases right now.

The problem is, for me, meal planning is cumbersome and boring.  And if you read my post on Monday, you know I need red meat or things in the Quillen house can get really ugly really fast.  If we are going to eat well, I have to have a plan.

I knew one family who solved this problem by having seven daily menus that they repeated weekly.  There was a Monday plan, a Tuesday plan, and so on.  It doesn’t work for me because, I love efficiency, but I don’t like that much repetition.

Another friend simply wrote down their menus for an entire year – documenting shopping lists as well – and repeated it every year thereafter.  She allowed for a lot more variety, but I’m not patient enough to wait a whole year to get to the pre-planned, easy phase of the program.  Fifty-two unique weeks of menu plans is beyond me.

So, being the syncretist I sometimes am, I sort of married the two ideas.

I repeat breakfasts and lunches on a two week rotation, allowing for some variation.  This means I only have to have 14 days of lunch and breakfast ideas.  Thirteen, actually, because we have bagels every Sunday morning, and we have sandwiches when we come home from church on Sunday afternoons.  If I am repeating meals every two weeks, I am able to purchase items on sale or in bulk which reduces our grocery bill.

And my breakfast rotation is a little bit vague, too.  I might schedule muffins and cheese for a breakfast, but any given week we might make pumpkin muffins, blueberry muffins, banana muffins, zucchini muffins, donut muffins, snicker doodle muffins… you name it!  So it’s not exactly the same thing every other week, even though the menu plan looks fairly repetitive.

I am not very creative with lunches – they are my downfall.  We may eat ravioli every Friday until Jesus returns simply because I am short on ideas… but at least we are eating, right?

With dinners I’m a little more varied.  We operate on a 10 week rotation for dinners.  I chose 10 weeks because my rising chef’s pick 10 meals for their cookbook when they turn nine.  If they cook once per week for 10 weeks, we can get through all of their menus several times per year without growing tired of the things they prepare.

For a long time I managed this meal rotation on paper.  A little over a year ago I got the brilliant idea to use some of my digital calendar features to simplify things even more.

  • I set up google calendars for each meal of the day.
  • On each calendar I create an All-Day event for each menu.  This keeps all the meal plans at the top of my agenda view rather than at scheduled times throughout the day.
  • I set the Recurrence to the amount of time I want between repeating the menu – for breakfasts it’s every two weeks (except the Sunday breakfast is set to repeat weekly).  Lunch is the same as breakfast.  And then dinners are set for every 10 weeks.
  • When it is time to make a grocery list, I open my calendar and the meals are pretty much decided for me.
  • Since I can view the meal calendars simultaneously with my appointment calendar, I can make changes on the fly based upon what is happening in life in the current week.
  • Sometimes I simply shift meals around within the week because of soccer practice or an orthodontist appointment that will interfere with the timing required for meal preparation.
  • Other times I delete the meal and add something else in it’s place.  Maybe it’s somebody’s birthday – we celebrate birthdays with lots of special foods.  Maybe we are having company one evening – I may need to account for food allergies or dietary restrictions.  Sometimes we are surprised by a meal from someone else, have a date night, or the oven breaks and we need to order pizza.

I find editing much easier than creating, so having the creation part accomplished makes the whole process easier for me.

I will say that I like to try new things.  Sometimes I interrupt the schedule simply because I found a new recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala I really want to try and chicken is on sale, so it’s the perfect opportunity.

Maybe a two-week breakfast and lunch rotation is too frequent for you.  Maybe you don’t have 70 dinner recipes to make before you start repeating…

There is nothing special about the timing I chose – it’s what works for us.  But I will say, the repeating calendar option is wonderful and I think anyone who struggles with creating menu plans could benefit from that little idea.

I created menu plans for 10 weeks – just one week at a time – setting the recurrence for every dinner to repeat every 10 weeks.  Somewhere along the way, I lost count of how far I’d gotten into the plan, and I can tell you it was simply delightful when I opened the calendar on the 11th week and saw my work was already done!

I also started posting the menu plan on a dry erase board on our refrigerator and the spell of the witching hour was broken.  I even have kids who will start meals I’m scheduled to cook if they see I’m running behind.

Maybe someday I’ll greet my husband with a cold drink after all…

A girl can dream, right?

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Eternity Clock by Robbert van der Steeg (originally posted to Flickr as Eternal clock) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Red Meat Sin

When I was in college I was a shift manager of a CVS Pharmacy.  One of the responsibilities that came with managing a store was dealing with shoplifters.  It’s not something most of us think about, but I got a little glimpse of the juvenile court system.

One time I had to appear in court because the young man pled innocent, in spite of eye witnesses, a clear video image, and his confession when he was arrested.  He refused representation and was fighting his own case.  He did not deny taking something that did not belong to him, but he justified his theft based upon his need.

I’ll never forget the gentle, but stern look of the judge as he explained, “Your desperate need explains your behavior, but it does not excuse it.”

Those words have echoed in my heart for more than two decades, and they accuse me at the most inconvenient times.

Like when I am hungry.

First of all, you have to understand, I think there is some red-meat genetic mutation that the people in my family seem to have.  Some sort of chemical imbalance happens if we go too long without red meat.  It is not unlike what happened to the minions in Despicable Me 2… except we don’t turn purple.

OK, so it’s not that bad.  But I do get sort of jittery and agitated inside.  And there is this underlying fatigue/weakness.  And without remedy (a hamburger will do…) I quickly become irritable and unkind.

When I am in such a state, little things like loud voices, spilled milk, a child rolling their eyes seem so much more significant.  And my response is often way.over.the.top.  I find myself saying and doing things I fully regret later.  I know it even as I speak, and that knowledge provokes me all the more.

I think the popular term for this phenomenon is “hangry.”  Hunger + Angry.  There are a lot of articles, jokes, and memes out there exposing “hanger.”  I guess I’m not alone.

Eat Beef

One solution, of course, is to just get some red meat.  Better still, I plan the meals for our family – why don’t I schedule regular infusions of red meat?  But things happen, meal plans get rearranged, red meat is expensive, we travel… there are all kinds of reasons I end up steeped in red-meat sin.

And it is sin.

My desperate need for red meat might explain my behavior, but it does not excuse it.

There is no scripture that says, “Love one another as I have loved you unless you have not had red meat lately.”

Nope.

And it gets worse.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  Matthew 4:1-2

Jesus fasted for 40 days and “he was hungry.”

I think that’s a bit of an understatement.

And then the Bible goes on to tell us about how, before he stopped through the Burger King drive-thru, Jesus met Satan.  And Satan tempted Jesus in every way – while Jesus was hungry – and Jesus, having feasted on scripture, did.not.sin (Matthew 4:3-11).

Forty days, people.  There are days I go 40 minutes without food and I’m sinning all over the place.  Then I try to excuse it because of my red-meat deficiency.

Red LettersPerhaps it’s more of a red-word deficiency.  I am not feasting not the words of Christ.  Whether it’s the red-letter words of Christ in my Bible, or the Bible as a whole, those words, “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3) speak truth to my “hungry” heart.

When my body has depleted its stores of myoglobin, I don’t have any physiological reserves to draw on for restraint.  If my heart has depleted its stores of scripture, I have no spiritual reserves to draw on for righteousness.  If I am spiritually famished, I do not have the strength to withstand the schemes of the devil.

Until I am ready to recognize that a regular infusion of scripture will do more to meet me in moments of temptation than a consistent diet of red meat, I will continue to rationalize my sin.

Red meat is a real physical requirement for my health and it is wise for me to attend to that need.  I would be foolish to say I can just read the Bible instead of eating red meat and all my problems will be solved.

It is important for me to eat red meat, especially since I am prone to sin for the lack of it.  But whether I have had red meat or not, I still have a choice about how I respond to provocation throughout the day.  The Spirit of God resides in my heart, so I can choose to respond differently than my physical body demands.

I am especially tempted to sin when I haven’t eaten red meat.  But that is not the only circumstance that can leave a person weakened in the face of temptation.  What is it for you?

    • Sleep
    • Stress at work
    • Chronic pain
    • Sugar
    • Criticism
    • Alcohol
    • Money
    • Caffeine
    • Nicotine

Wherever you find yourself making excuses for your sinful behavior is your own version of red-meat sin and it seems to point to a red-letter deficiency.

The only way to have victory over this kind of sin is to feast on the words of Christ.  When I am confronted with the truth and grace of the gospel, I find strength to take my thoughts captive.  In that moment there is hope.  It is in the strength of the gospel that I can resist temptation.  It is in the hope of grace that I can choose a response that glorifies God.

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Photo Credits:
Beef Wagon by: Spyder_Monkey (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Sunburst by: By Tamasin Ramsey [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Bible:By Hoshie (My own Bible; I took the picture myself.) [CC0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome Spring!

Crocus

March 20, 2014, 12:57 P.M. EDT marked the first day of spring on the calendar this year.  I don’t know about you, but my experience of spring didn’t change between Wednesday and Thursday.  We casually pass the first day of spring while the forecast suggests erratic weather and frigid temperatures will persist.

Spring starts at a defined point in time based upon the position of the earth with respect to the sun.

Technically speaking, spring begins the day the sun’s rays hit the earth perpendicular to the equator.  On this day the sun spends the same amount of time above the horizon as it does below the horizon at all points on earth.  Or at least it begins on the day it would happen if the sun were a point of light rather than a disk and the earth’s atmosphere didn’t bend light rays… but that’s another story.

Spring may be defined by our position with respect to the sun, but the ongoing results of this change in position are revealed slowly.

As we continue to turn toward the sun, we see fresh glimpses of “spring” every day.  I see purple and white crocus peeking up through the leaves we never raked last fall.  Daffodils are starting to dance in the wind.  Thin green spikes herald the coming of star flowers, iris, lilies, and tulips.  Buds are beginning to bulge from thin, bare branches on our forsythia and dogwoods trees.

Spring is this time of transition between winter and summer, inaugurated by the vernal equinox.  Even as we see leaves bursting from high branches, the forecast is erratic, some days frigid, others frightening as tornados and violent storms erupt.

Spring is a transition, but it is a season in its own right, and I savor the delicious beauty of spring.

Redemption is a bit like spring.  Redemption from the fall – from a human perspective – started at a defined point in time based upon the position of the Son with respect to the grave.

Three CrossesTechnically speaking, from a position in finite time, redemption hinges on the day Jesus rose victorious over sin and death.  The entire course of human history revolves around that point in time.  The resurrection of Christ is kind of like the day on the calendar we call “vernal equinox.”  Likewise, the ongoing results of that change in position are revealed slowly.

We are living in this transition time between the fall and glory.  Even as we see signs of the gospel peeking out of the decay around us, with a seemingly erratic forecast of turbulent times, we are headed toward summer – and eventually harvest time.

But this time in history, this period between Christ coming and Christ coming again, is a season in its own right.  I savor the delicious beauty of the Sonrise.  I delight in the new growth springing up from the grace sown and watered with Jesus’ blood.  I see patches of darkness being vanquished in his light as the effects of the fall are pushed back like piles of melting snow.

It’s a bit like life with Jesus, really.

On a personal level, redemption starts at a defined point in time based upon the position of my heart with respect to the Son.

The result of the change in position is revealed slowly.  This is where it gets really hard.  Sanctification typically happens in the same halted, stepped manner as spring.  Some days feature clear blue skies, puffy white clouds, and a fragrant breeze full of blossoming hope.  Other days are characterized by raging storms that send me scrambling for shelter and herald my doom.

Paul captures this springtime experience perfectly in Romans 7,

…I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…. I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing…. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.  Romans 7:15-25

The tangle of living in this transition fuels my desire for Christ’s return.  I know I am living in the transition between the time when I was depraved in my sin and an enemy of God and the time when I will be completely free from my sin and reside in his presence.  I am living in the time of seeing dimly as in a mirror and knowing in part.  It is the season between knowing and seeing nothing because of my sin and seeing face to face and knowing fully because of Christ (1 Corinthians 13:9-12).

It can be difficult to remember that spring has arrived.

Jesus brought new life.  He promises greater and greater victory over sin as I inch along the timeline of my life, but sometimes it seems like winter will never end.

Whatever winter you are facing,

the desperate longing to welcome a child into your home

the weariness of seeking after a wayward child

the endlessness of sleepless nights and unwashed laundry

the thirst for friendships

the fading echo of your voice with no ear to hear it

the ache of dying love

the despair and defeat of giving in to sin again

the futility of fighting chronic illness

the hunger for true peace

the yearning for freedom from worry or shame

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5b

This waiting period can be agony.  There is simply no denying it.  Whatever it feels like, whatever the forecast seems to indicate, spring is a certainty.

Hope in Winter

Every second the world is rotating toward the Son.  Satan is losing his grip.  The effects of the fall are being pushed back as we learn to face the biting cold cloaked with Christ.  New life thrives as we trust him with our tears and learn to recognize the signs of spring even as we long for the harvest.

The results of the resurrection are emerging from the decay.  Jesus will come again.  The truth is Christ has come, resurrection day marked a new season in history, what is now a hint of new life guarantees a harvest of righteousness.  It is only a matter of time.

Welcome, Spring!

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Photo Credits:
Winter Road by Superior National Forest (Winter Road  Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Crosses by Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons