On Easter Sunday, we ate dinner on our front porch. We kicked off our shoes, Ian ran around the yard, and when the mosquitoes reluctantly sent us back inside, we opened the windows. It was beautiful and warm and welcome.
Then, in what seemed like the worst possible April Fools joke, it was rainy and snowy and icy the entire following week.
I’ve learned that the worst thing about winter is waiting for it to end. It seems like no matter how much I might (hypothetically) like the snow and cold, there is no denying how wonderful it is to feel the sun warm my shoulders, to kick off my slippers or wool socks and feel the ground beneath my feet.
Remember when the White Witch was reigning in Narnia, and it was always winter but never Christmas? That’s what it’s like to wait for spring.
Still, I must admit we had a very mild winter. Evan has bemoaned the fact that he only got to use his thoroughly-researched snow shovel a handful of times. Ian keeps asking when the snow is coming back and if he can use his sled. It seems the men in my house didn’t quite get their fill of winter.
By all accounts, we can’t use this past season to judge Michigan winters and if we might be the type of hardy people who can endure life in the midwest. Perhaps you’ll need to touch base with me again next April to get my true feelings about Michigan.
But in the meantime, I’m grateful.
I’ve heard it said that the two most-repeated phrases in Scripture are “remember” and “fear not.” I know I can trust Jesus with my fears. I can trust Him with the big significant ones–like the fear I’m not a good enough mom to raise these boys, or the choices I’ve made are out of His will (whatever that means), or I’ll never be rid of my anxious and approval-seeking nature. But I can also trust him with my little fears…like a midwest winter.
I don’t have any hard-fought theological understanding of God’s sovereignty. On the one hand, would a big omnipotent God really care to change the weather forecast on my behalf? Did He set the weather into motion millennia ago? Does He know and care for me so intimately that He’s involved with the minutest details of my life? Somehow, I believe He’s big enough and good enough that all of those things can be true, simultaneously. It’s a mystery, but I’m good with that.
Winter may have been mild, but it was still challenging, which had more to do with the condition of my heart than the weather forecast. I have been like Noah, sending out the dove, searching for proof of God’s promises after a hard time of transition and uncertainty. (Not that I’m comparing my cross-country move to an apocalyptic flood. Not exactly.)
It has seemed as though Jesus, in His kindness, sent me an olive branch. (It looked a lot like less than half of Michigan’s average annual snowfall.) It’s as though He looked down and gently said, “Fear not, Cornetts.”
Fear not the winter, fear not the snow. Fear not the ice, fear not the wind.
Fear not the new and the unlikely and the unexpected. Fear not the unfamiliar, fear not the change.
This week, temperatures hit the 70s. I know we are not out of the woods just yet; it’s been known to snow at the end of May around here. But on Friday, we played in the neighbor’s backyard again. I wore short sleeves to church on Sunday and didn’t bother to grab a sweater. I am remembering how it feels to walk barefoot around my home.
Truly: after a long winter, spring feels like a miracle.