Living here in Colorado we are not unaccustomed to a snowy, even at times, blizzard-prone winter (and let’s not discount spring too!) We find ourselves at the beginning of the season, singing the four part harmony of “Snow, Snow, Snow” from Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, but after the successful or unsuccessful white Christmas, the snow allows for two opportunities: (1) playing in the snow (yes, all the sledding, snowball fights, and building of snowman galore) and (2) becoming discouraged with the amount of snow and frigid days (thankfully Colorado can be quite mild at times, but still…). We are always happy when the ground begins to thaw and that possible “last” snow has passed (even if it is early May- yikes 😮). It’s something akin to the “Long, Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, although not quite as destitute, yet don’t tell our “hope for spring time” souls that, because it sure does feel long and endless.
It makes me think about Ecclesiastes 3:1 and how Solomon wisely proclaims that “there is a season for everything”. I do enjoy living in a state that experiences four seasons, but what about the seasons of the soul? How do we endure the seasons of challenge, opposition, or disappointment? I saw a quote (although I do not personally know the author) that resonated with my soul:
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”LR Knost
I think that could be interpreted as a modern version of what Solomon was advising his readers in Ecclesiastes. There’s a time of all kinds of different seasons of the soul, and situations we face… but we can breathe and hold on through them all. And for us as Christians, we are not merely “holding on” to get through these different times, we are actually being HELD during it all.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10
I think about the snow, and snowstorms, and it reminds me of my favorite blizzard (yes, being a Colorado Native I have been in several!):
I remember a blizzard when I was a kid where we all got snowed in at my Grandparent’s farm. Both my family and our cousins’ family made a visit, and before we knew it, large snowflakes started to fall, and fall fast. Hearing the news updates of the conditions of the road, as well as the power going out, caused us to hunker down using candles for lighting and the stove for heat as vast amounts of snow fell. I always remember that night, because as a kid, it was so magical to be able to spend the night at the grandparents (on the couch & floor) snuggled with my cousins for warmth. I remember, even then, writing in my notebook about the experience, knowing it was a special moment in time. After figuring out cold dinners, how to borrow diapers from the neighbor for the baby, and plenty of story telling by the fire–the next morning came, the skies clear. The snowing had stopped. With plenty of shoveling, we were able to four wheel out with an Uncle’s truck and return back home via snow logged roads.
The point of the story being, what could have been a scary blizzard actually ended up being an adventure (as a kid) because we were sheltered, safe, together, and we knew the storm would eventually end. One thing about storms of any kind (as well as seasons of life and situations) is that they are not permanent. Yes, it’s the impermanence of snow and storms that gives our heart courage. During this instance, I’m sure my parents were frazzled about our house, the powerlines, the pipes, etc.— but knowing the snow would soon stop, the roads would soon clear, and things would return to normal— we were able to nuzzle in at our safe place and enjoy a special time inside during the storm. The clouds were white, the snow poured down, the power went out… yet inside, next to that stove we were all nice and cozy. In fact, we all recall that day with fondness because it somehow tore us from the endless marching on of regular days and gave us space for a deep breath and connection together.
I know in our own lives the storm clouds can gather, situations can pour down that feel out of our control: relationship trouble, finances, health or any situation of sorts. Opposition, anxiety and fear. We feel like we must hold our breath, get through it. But God’s calling to us:
“I’m here in the storm,” He says and motions us into the old comfy farmhouse. “Come and be safe.”
We walk, with weary snow-covered steps to the porch, then enter inside stomping our feet as we go.
He has the stove warmed and roaring, the red hot fire in its belly.
We would peel off layers of jackets, pants, and wet socks.
He’d snuggle a blanket around our shoulders, light a candle and come sit next to us.
Slowly, the cold would release from our fingers and feet, our cheeks rosy with warmth from the stove.
He’d begin to speak and the time of sharing would begin.
It’s the kind of sharing that would only happen here and now. It’s a treasure of sorts.
We find ourselves less focused on the flicker of the power lines, and instead, focused on the warmth of His presence, and the snap and crackle of the warm fire before us.
Instead of focusing on the howling of the storm, we hear His voice and His heartbeat in our ear as we lean on Him.
The place of the storm is transformed into a place of special connection, warmth, and love.
Instead of fear, we see Him. We feel His love in our hearts, warm as the embers in the fire stove before us.
I’m starting to learn our times of stormy, difficult weather of the soul is bearable because He is with us in the storm, providing safe shelter and protection. And not just that (like that isn’t enough! 😮) But also he provides His LOVE and the constant companion of His presence.
All fears are gone because Perfect Love casts out fear (1 John 4:8). ❤️
Nothing can separate us from His presence (Romans 8:38). ❤️
So next time the snow flurries start to fly from all angles– sending storms of challenges and opposition— Let’s get to the fire, the warmth, and the safe shelter of His presence.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.Psalm 36:7
It is a place we can live in.
It’s a place that we can feel at home, safe and free until the storm blows over and the sun comes out.
Because even then, even in joy, He is with us.
(For a great companion article to this please check out my last entry https://melanietalevski.com/2021/01/01/a-guarantee-for-the-new-year/)
Until next time,
PS. Here are some pictures of our snow adventures and fun over the years!
Fun fact: We got engaged in the middle of a huge blizzard here in Colorado in March of 2003. We got over 32 inches of snowfall over 3 days, making it the second snowiest storm in Denver’s history! 😮