We rise early on a Sunday morning and he whispers it out the bedroom window, "Wow... look at the trees... the snow!"
Absolutely everything is covered in an indescribable shade of glistening white. It's as if Creator God has sprinkled our whole world with powdered icing sugar. I'm awed, leaning closer to the low country window. For a long time I gaze at our long backyard, my eyes grazing the tall Black Walnut tree and the Evergreens lined up behind a crooked chicken coop.
"Cass, why don't you go for a jog?" My husband knows me and he knows I've been in the process of making peace with Winter. So, I don't jog, but I do venture out in the early morning sunlight for a rare solo walk in the woods at the end of the lane.
Usually somewhere around the beginning of February it hits me - there's a whole lot of winter where we live. The snow is piled high everywhere you glance and hits your face with frosty blasts. The banks beside the farmer's fields are drifted higher than the cars and the gusts blast over them with a chilling power. My feet are perpetually freezing and I just want to hide. And whine.
And pray hard for Spring.
But when I pray for Spring, I will away Winter. I long for the future and shove away the present.
(I know this but when will I really learn to live it consistently?)
Late in the afternoon, I crunch through snow with my sweet daughter. Her 8-year-old mitted hand is in mine as we weave through the same wooded area I took my walk that morning. The air is brisk, the sky is clear, the snow still glistens everywhere.
"Look Mama, a nest!" she's all enthusiasm at the sight of a tiny nest woven in low, naked branches. We bend close and peak in the empty masterpiece as the soft, solemn cries of nature surround us there.
"You know, Audrey..." I pause, trying to find the words. "Winter really is beautiful."
There, I'd said it. Out loud. And I meant it.
I gaze at her smiling face, freckled from sun.
"Yeah, it is," she breathes deep as we keep walking.
"You know what Mama has realized this year?"
"When I say I don't like Winter, it's like saying I don't like what God has given."
She looks up at me, expectant.
"Because, well, you know I've said I really didn't like Winter... I've said that a lot."
"And well, the Lord gives Winter as much as He gives Spring. And I want to be thankful for Winter and thank God for it, because He gives good things."
I'm preaching to myself, not my daughter. She already knows this. She's all bliss in every season.
"Yeah, Mama. And Winter IS beautiful."
I smile deeply. I mean, a soul smile. Yes, yes it is beautiful and how dare I rob the Creator of the glory of it. My attitude has been rejecting the beauty He gives.
And that's just it. When beauty surrounds, and I reject it, I reject the very Creator who gives me that beauty. And when Winter, a season the Lord ordained as good, surrounds me and I reject it - I reject what He gives. It's as if I know better. As if my comfort and my desires trump His goodness and His faithfulness.
He gives Spring, Summer, and Autumn. And He gives Winter. How can I not accept the chill of Winter as much as I accept the the warmth of Spring or the painted display of Autumn leaves?
And not just accept, but give thanks. Give honest to goodness THANKS for all His gives. Because even in the frosty cold, there is a great smorgasbord of beauty waiting to be found and there is a Creator so worthy of thanksgiving.
And I want to give thanks - to live that life of Eucharisteo, where thanksgiving turns into joy.
Because it always does.
But first, I must give thanks. And I can't give thanks when I'm whining. I can only give true thanks when I've surrendered and allow the Spirit to change my perspective.
I must marvel at the intricate details a tiny snowflake.
Find glory in a soft, gentle Winter snow fall.
Feel child-like bliss at flying own a powdery hill.
Embrace a chilled sun-rise walk in the powder dusted woods.
Stop. Sit. Listen to the far off loon and the chattering Mallards floating on freezing waters.
Glimpse a fresh set of deer tracks, criss-crossing through new snow.
Sneak to the river's edge and snap photos of nervous water fowl as they fly off on powerful wings.
Be filled so full with the glory of Winter and all that God makes and gives that hot tears stream down cold cheeks. Tears for the closeness of the Lord in His creation. Tears of deep gratitude for legs to walk on and beauty to embrace. Tears of remorse for my sinful heart and rejection of every season - every gift of breath and life.
And tears for the joy of realizing I can always come back home to the truth and the deep contentment of knowing God's sovereign hands rest on every place, every tree, every bird, every person, and yes, every season.
May you seek Him, and my He find you - in the snow, in the sun, in the rain, and especially in the storm, dear friend.