Restoration & Revelation
Certain songs, the really really really good ones, they take you somewhere. Take you back to a moment in the summer sun, wind in your hair, take you forward to a time you hope to see, to a place you've never been. They can take you to sorrow and they can take you to celebration. Certain songs are infectious that way, they seep into your veins and use your own blood and bone to remind you that you're alive, that you can do this, that you are doing this. In this same way, certain seasons have the power to take you somewhere, to show us that we are, indeed, alive. Certain seasons of our lives can tear us down and reshape us into better versions of ourselves, bringing us closer to the picture that God had intended for us all along, if we're willing.
This past season of my life, well I can't quite tell where it began, but it certainly has ended now, and indeed, it took me somewhere. This past month, this past year, truly it was Winter for my soul. It was a generous and merciful stripping away of all that should not be. It was not fun, it was not easy, and it left marks on myself and on those that dared to love me through it. But it also wasn't terrible. It was just Winter. In some ways, we even welcome the cold, we welcome a rest from the sun. We eagerly hide away, burrowed in the caves we create - hiding in work, in ministry, in riveting tv shows streaming and our favorite books. We hunker down and welcome the cold because it is, at least, different than the hot sun of summer or the slow decay of autumn.
Winter makes no qualms about itself. It is a place to be dead. A place for quiet. A place for coldness and the ease of shorter days. Winter is a place for the trees to be reduced to branches. For the rivers to turn to ice. For the landscape to be washed of all its color. A necessary cleansing. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than that.
Well, today I thank God for winter. If it weren't for winter, there could be no spring. If it weren't for the necessary stillness, we would miss all the stirring and new life. What it really comes down to, is the true fact that our God creates life where there is death. He does this in the natural world, in the spiritual, and within our own hearts He bids our sleeping shapes to rise at His call. And after all, isn't that the Gospel we proclaim? Is not life born of death the most beautiful of all realities?
So if winter is a time for stillness and cleansing, then spring is a time of restoration & revelation. Through the restoration of the once barren natural landscape, God's glory and faithfulness is revealed in new buds, green leaves, warm air, and in a heart that is beating once again. And indeed, I have seen the slow wakeful stirring in my soul as God, Himself, restores, confirms, strengthens and establishes me. He bids me to rise, and so I will rise. He whispers to me, "you can do this, you are doing this. stand up." and so I stand once more.
I am grateful for the springtime, for the life and the victory and the Gospel reality that can be found even in the trees, even in the flowers, even in the air. But I am also grateful for the winter, though I wish it wasn't necessary. I am wholeheartedly grateful for a God who graciously gives us exactly what we need to grow.
He is a whatever-it-takes kind of King, a beauty-from-ashes kind of Lord, and my whole world is coming to life again, my own heart is beating once more, due entirely to His faithfulness and none at all to mine.
"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
1 Peter 5:10
These are photos from a recent trip to Austin, Texas with my dear friend, Jess.
"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands."
Psalm 63: 3-4