Grief made me a winter girl

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It feels weird to be coming up on another winter already. I guess I shouldn’t say “coming up on”… it’s just that I’m used to being in the south where I could probably still be wearing short sleeves right now. Alas, winter is in full swing up here in the mountain time zone. Ski season starts this weekend, which means nothing to me, but I think that at least means there’s a lot of snow on the mountains, so I’m calling it winter.

When I was in college, I had this thing for spring time. Spring brings this sense of newness that washes away the gray of winter and breathes life back into dry bones. There was one really special spring, my junior year of college, when I’d been believing God for a lot of really big, really specific things — and all at once, they all happened.

He was teaching me a lot about His loving kindness in that season. It’s still one of my favorite seasons of promises fulfilled to look back on and remember how faithful He is.

In my mid-twenties, though, I’ve grown this affinity for winter. It’s not the same “butterflies and excitement for something new” kind of love that I used to have for spring, though. It’s a deep love that has known suffering and grown to appreciate the way our barren days beckon us to enter into a kind of rest that makes way for a bigger, better spring.

Last winter was really hard. I remember heading into my second holiday season of believing God for a family, wondering why things were the way they were, wishing they were different. Hope deferred is a hard pill to swallow sometimes, and it seemed like I was having to do it often.

Within three weeks of each other, I would find out that both of my sisters and one of my closest friends were all unexpectedly pregnant. I wrestled with God through comparison and envy and just anger over the way He seemed to be forgetting about me. It was a pretty brutal holiday season.

And then God did the sweetest thing. He redeemed it all. He opened a door to give us a baby boy that was to be born within the same couple of months as all those babies of my sisters and my friend. It really was the sweetest spring.

As you know if you’ve followed along here the last few months, we didn’t get to meet that boy on this side of Heaven. Everything about our circumstances had me expecting for this to be my most painful winter yet. But something strange has happened: I feel more hopeful now than I did heading into last year’s winter.

There’s something about being shaken that tests the strength of your roots. And this year has taught me to dig deep.

I’ve learned that I can rest in my barrenness, because my roots have grown deep and they are connected to the life source.

And there’s something extra special about the winter snow here in Utah. The mountains that look rocky and jagged in every other season get blanketed in white, catching and reflecting light right back in to the valley.

For the first time in years — for the first time ever, maybe — I don’t feel afraid of the barren winter that’s suddenly crept in. I feel rooted. I feel hopeful. I feel at rest.

And you know what I’ve never wondered heading in to the winter? Whether or not spring will come after. It’s a sure bet, and until then, we let our roots go deep and we rest, and we watch as that quiet, healing snow falls and blankets every blemish in white.