Tag Archives: storms of life

Snow Blossoms

What, I sometimes wonder, would it be like if I lived in a country where winter is a matter of a few chilly days and a few weeks’ rain; where the sun is never far away, and the flowers bloom all year long? ~Anna Neagle

I crossed the border from Virginia into West Virginia. Pollen floated around me as I sped my way down the first of many hills.

Then it occurred to me . . . The trees aren’t blooming here, yet. That’s not pollen; it’s snow!

Spring break in West Virginia meant that I was able to experience a day of winter break instead. I sipped a hot cup of cinnamon tea and read a book. As the day progressed I watched the storm outside the living room window.

The apple tree clinging to the side of the hill shivered in its scanty springtime skirt. Tiny leaflets scattered around the bottom half of the tree, the naked branches at the top of the tree swaying in the wind.

Morning turned into afternoon and I stopped for a sandwich and a glass of milk. Gulping the last of the milk, I wandered into the living room where earlier I had spotted some chocolate peppermint Dove candies. The smooth chocolate melted in my mouth as I gazed at the snow globe outside my window.

But something seemed oddly different.

Though the snow was still swirling in windy rivulets across the porch and under the eaves, the apple tree seemed less naked, more colorful and clothed. That can’t be. Not in a snow storm.

Finally, as the day was ending, I stood at the window talking to Matt on the phone back in North Carolina. Now I was sure. Against the dark backdrop of more snowy storm clouds a yellowish veil of tiny leaflets dotted the entire tree.

It had snowed off and on all day, but the tree had continued to bloom anyway. Because no matter what the current weather was doing, the tree knew that spring would come, was coming, IS coming.

Sickness knocks you flat on your face, bankruptcy blacks your eye, a child breaks your heart. Maybe termites eat your house, a tornado rips it apart, or a flood washes it away.

Whatever may be the snowstorm freezing your resolve as you stand half-naked in the eyes of the world . . . Remember that spring will come, IS coming.

Don’t wait for the good weather. Just go ahead and bloom in the middle of the storm.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2 NLT

Like a Virgin

flower-child-336658__180Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. ~ Lord Byron

I like to walk in the morning listening to the Bible app. The sun comes up bringing light to me and the day. I also go to the gym several afternoons a week, but the morning walk is my favorite exercise. It’s a habit I find refreshing and energizing.

Last week the price of gas rose ridiculously because of a pipeline leak. I hadn’t filled the car, so I planned to stay home unless absolutely necessary. I changed my schedule and rode to the gym in the morning with Matt, saving my walks for the afternoons.

I like another app . . . the Weather Channel. One day in particular it said there would be rain most of the day, starting at 9:45 A.M. Even though I had just been to the gym, I headed out for my walk to avoid the rain.

I left the house with a sun visor on my head. The sky was sunny and blue, a warm breeze blew, rain was nowhere in sight. I made the first loop around the neighborhood noticing that the blue sky was being invaded by large, white, puffy clouds. No problem, those aren’t rain clouds.

I started onto the second loop and noticed gray wisps of cloud rising from the woods to the south. Halfway through the nearly mile-long loop, the wind picked up. The sun hid behind the darkening clouds.

As I came around again, I noticed four dark birds circling in the sky over the south woods like ominous warnings. The trees swayed in the wind, the day grew dark, and I turned north to home. It was 9:40.

The week before I spent away at a writer’s retreat. I had a deadline, needed to correct some issues with the newest book, and I was looking at other writing avenues of income. It was a good week spent writing, contemplating, reflecting, and studying God’s word. I felt strong and encouraged.

The last day of the retreat I headed to the hot tub for a break. As I waded into the warm water another woman moved over for me. We started talking about things to do in the area.

“We’ve stayed in all week,” she said. “Our grandson was murdered two weeks ago and we just needed to be still and recover.”

That night as we headed to bed my husband received an email from a friend of ours. His wife left him. He’s hurt, confused, angry, alone.

The next day we packed up and headed home. On the way we received a telephone call. Another couple we are friends with was contemplating separation.

I looked on Facebook . . . and a relative split with his wife and child.

The next morning during worship I found out that a friend’s niece committed suicide, leaving two very young children alone in the world.

There was no weather app to tell me that those storms were coming. The sky was fair at the end of my retreat with God; all looked calm. That’s the thing about life’s storms . . . They don’t show up on radar. They don’t get announced. They aren’t usually predicted. You go out into the world with your sun visor wrapped snug on your head, and then you find yourself drenched by a hurricane.

[box] “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.

The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.

The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived.

The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. Matthew 25:1-13 NIV[/box]

Hopefully you are already prepared for that final day, but how are you faring during the stormy days that rage around you now? Are you prepared, having spent time with the Lord beforehand? Face the storms strong and encouraged. Be a wise virgin.

“He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.” Matthew 16:2-3 NIV


morningI’m a morning person. I sing, I work out, I cook breakfast, I read my Bible and other devotionals, and I do it all with gusto. I especially like mornings in the spring and summer. The songbirds greet me with a chorus of “Zippa-dee-do-dah”. The sun dances through the window, cheery and bright.

But autumn slowly seeps in with fog and dreary rain. Getting up is not as easy. I would rather snuggle down into the warm nest of my quilt and comforter and avoid what I know is coming.

The time changes, the air changes, the light and the happiness and the song of the birds all change. It is harder to get up, harder to embrace the outdoors for a walk or a drive to the gym. The window is shut tight against the cold wind and darkness that threaten to force their way in. And it is harder to open my Bible, to listen to others’ words about God, even to pray.

But I get up anyway. I go to the gym, I make some warm oatmeal, and I crack open the Good Book.

Sometimes, the bad weather, cold darkness, and bitter wind arrive in the middle of summer. A bad report from the doctor, from the financial department, from the auto shop. Sometimes it is even a bad report from church; someone has lost their way or tried to make someone else lose their’s. Occasionally a storm blows in that includes all of these at once, and I burrow into the bed like Punxsutawney Phil crying for more time, more warmth, more sleep.

But I get up anyway. I work out with the disciplines I learned during good weather. I breakfast at the table of the Lord. And I dig deeper into the Word instead of my covers.

And then, when I raise my eyes and look out the window, a light begins to dawn. The birds begin a slow chorus. And the clouds begin to scatter.

No matter the season, no matter the weather, I know I must continue to seek the One who brings light to a dark world. Don’t let the weather be your whether or not.

“. . . And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
    for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
    in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
    whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
    to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79 ESV