March 20. The best day of the year. The first day of spring. We woke up to dreary, cool weather this morning, but by mid-day, the sunshine was bright, and the chill was replaced with a warmth reminicient of spring and the promise of new birth ahead. This winter has been one of the cooler ones I remember in south Louisiana. Of course, northerners would scoff at such a comment. I suppose I've become quite acclimated to the sultry summers down here so I don't have quite the tolerance for cooler weather like I once had. And this winter has seemed very cold and rainy. It's a welcome feeling after the harsh summertime heat, but I am ready for green grass and leaves on the trees and planting my garden and blooms in my flower pots. It's time for spring!
I know I've been silent lately, and there are a lot of reasons for that. I do hope to perhaps share some of those reasons in due time. In January I participated in a time of fasting with our church, not really knowing what exactly was God's purpose for me in all of that. But it unknowingly ushered in a time of barrenness, a time of testing, a time of winter (if you will) in my own life. It has been hard. It has been seemingly long. But I do finally feel spring time a coming in my life, too. And I sure am looking forward to it!
God asked me if I trusted Him. Well, yes, of course I do, LORD! And then He required of me to actually LIVE that trust. Well. Saying I trust and actually trusting are two entirely different things! Saying I have faith and living that faith are not one and the same. Not at all. And even though God walked with me through that valley and whispered His promises all along the way, a fear gripped my soul like I'd never experienced before! Fear. It was scarry. But it was necessary. My flesh and my will and my plan needed to be stripped bare. They were in the way. In the way of what God wanted and needed to do in my heart and even in the life of my children. And, let me tell you, barrenness is ugly. It really is. Or is it? Because without the barrenness of winter, branches stripped free of their foilage, the spring wouldn't be near as green, near as beautiful!
I took this picture of the sunrise in my backyard on February 27. The trees are bare. But the sunrise? It's one of the most beautiful I've ever seen!Even though my soul was laid bare before the Lord, His glory showed through the midst of it all, and He has done a mighty work that I may have missed otherwise. Faith and trust and hope seem like such "simple" lessons, such "basics" in the life of a Christ follower. For this child of the King though, they were gritty and painful.
At the beginning of the winter, the Lord gave me the following verses:
For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. ~Psalm 18:28-32
I clung to those verses night and day, many times as the only source of consolation and hope and strength I could find. And as my faithful Lord brought me along this journey, He later gave me the following verses:
Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." ~Psalm 94:17-19
UNLESS THE LORD HAD BEEN MY HELP. Unless the LORD. If it were not for He, I have no idea where I would be. How in the world do people go through this life without Him? I can not fathom!
After a chilly, wet winter, spring is finally in the air. Spring is coming! Besides. March 20 is always the best day of the year every year. It's my birthday! It's OUR birthday!