We had so many long days at home when it was too cold to go outside, and then days where we had no choice but to venture out to buy food and the wind bit our faces and clutched our throats as we ran down the sidewalk to get back to the car with our provisions. Liesel started walking and she had nowhere to walk except around and around inside the four walls of our house.
We've been warm inside our cozy home together, and I know that is a blessing, but sometimes I just couldn't help but feel sad because the outside world was so averse to me.
This is my eighth winter since moving up to the Midwest from Florida. It never fails that each year by February, I give up on Spring. Warmth and light hides so far behind the white sky that I forget it's going to come back, until suddenly it does.
I remember the first return of Spring I ever experienced, it was 2007 in Kansas City. It snowed until April that year, and I was so discouraged that when the last snow came on, I cried alone in my bed. I was out of hope. I didn't know it was the end of the worst, and a week later when I stepped out into the sun and looked around, I didn't trust that it would stay. I had to go somewhere new that day and got lost of course and ended up driving by a new park. Screams of delight made me turn and see a playground full of children, like ants on an anthill, and they were all shrieking and singing and running their little cooped up bodies, and it moved me. I cranked down my window so I could hear them better and feel the air they were breathing and found that it was truly Spring outside, honestly the turning away of the cold.
Every year since then, I have endured the pain of the winter, and I've been discouraged by it. I've had to sit and wait in that discouragement throughout the horrible month of February. But then there's always a day when the thaw starts and the sun shines bright and warm. That day is a surprise every year, and it's so glorious that it is worth all the somber monotony because I experience thankfulness that reaches deeper than the snow piles were high. Gratitude in the fullest sense fills me to overflowing. My hope is renewed, and God proves again to me that He is faithful. He will not leave me forever in the winter.
"...but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5