Snow in the shade

Though almost all the snow has melted in the sunshine this past week, our road has been a different story.

The ice still clings to the gravel that winds through the clearing in the woods as you travel back to our house, and until just a few days ago, snow remained packed down, determined to stay.

Snow sticks around in the shade.

Snow remained on our lane long after the rest melted

Snow remained on our lane long after everything around it melted

The same can be true of our hearts.

The snow falls around us, and to protect ourselves, we choose to hibernate, to hide from the coldness of this world. The disappointments, frustrations, failures and rejections pile up around us, and the frost bites until we become numb to God’s goodness and sweet grace. We can’t feel our hands in His because the flame of our passion for Christ has grown dim. And when the storm has passed and God’s sunshine beams down, we cling to the shade. Our eyes have grown too accustomed to the grays, and when His light pierces our hearts, we resist to awaken and drink it in.

So, the snow sticks, slowly, slowly melting and then freezing as night falls, causing us to slip further.

We need the Light of the world.

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

– John 8:12

Listen to Jesus speak to you again. Follow His voice into the sunshine. Let the light cascade into all your hidden corners. Experience the warmth of His embrace as He thaws what has kept you from feeling His love and understanding His plan. His Word will reawaken your purpose and call you back to the path He has called you to walk upon.

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.

– Psalm 119:105

The first creative act of God was to speak the light into existence, recorded in Genesis 1:3. He longs to do that again in the shade of darkness you have pulled around you. In the midst of your pain, apathy, struggle for control, chaos or conflict, cry out to the Lord:

God, create a clean heart for me
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not banish me from Your presence
or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and give me a willing spirit.

– Psalm 51:10-12

God will hear, and He will answer. With the willing spirit He gives, step into the Light.

Enjoy the sunshine

Last week, our family was able to go out, without coats, and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Our family is squeezing every moment of fun that we can out of these sunny “winter” days here in Missouri. Instead of snow or ice, we have been blessed with above average temperatures these last few weeks, to the point where jackets have even been optional.

So, after lunch, I’ve been shuttling the kids outside to explore in the woods, to hide and go seek, to play on the swing set and to simply enjoy the sunshine.

I’ve noticed recently that so much of what we as Christians talk about is our struggles and the trials that we’ve had to or we are currently facing. Even I catch myself dwelling in this type of discussion, because God has taught me so much through the “valley of the shadow of death.” A common and oft-quoted saying in Christian circles is that we are either in a storm, heading out of a storm or heading toward a storm. Though I can understand the truth of that statement, I’m growing weary of focusing on the storm.

I don’t think we stop enough and bask in the pure blessing of being a child of God. We are so busy suiting up for the very real spiritual battle around us, that we shield ourselves from delighting in our victorious King. For many, Christianity is all work and no play, and it’s no wonder many faith communities are known more for their “no” rather than their “yes.”

Where is the joy? Where is the dancing? Where is the adoration bursting from our hearts onto our lips?

This week, I want to focus on the praise. I want my life to exude gratefulness to my Savior, who considers me to be His treasure. My life should sparkle before Him, cleaned by His everlasting love that defeated death itself to provide a way for me to be with Him.

I understand that life is often very difficult, and unanswered questions and hurts abound. I have lingered in those dark corners during different times in my life, and all it brought me was pain. Only when God reached down and helped me step into the Light and see the glory of His love,  was I able to leap into His arms of grace.

There is a time for everything, and as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, a time for weeping and for mourning. But, let’s not gloss over and miss our times of laughter and of peace.

Get out of the cage you have built around your heart, and breathe the fresh air of God’s mercy. Embrace the joy and freedom available to you in Jesus.

Enjoy the sunshine.

This picture makes me laugh because the kids are pretending they are actually riding this tiger like a horse.