Friday, March 14, 2014

A Longing for Spring

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be,
ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations..."
I Peter 1:6
(KJV)

Everyone who knows me knows how much I dearly love winter.
The long, cloudy days spent indoors...
cuddling up in a comfy, cozy quilt....sipping hot cocoa.


I make mine homemade...a concoction that includes unsweetened cocoa powder, honey, and milk  
Sorry, I don't have an exact recipe!  
I just mix the three ingredients in my favorite pot on the stove, to taste, and I don't ever measure anything.  
It is wonderful....smooth and creamy and delicious...and comforting.  


Especially on cold days when we are staying home.
You should try making it sometime!
Come up with your own special concoction, and sip away!

As much as I love winter though, with all its peace and slow, easy pace,
I will be glad to say good-bye to this one.

Yesterday, I had my best day since Christmas Day 2013,
 the 5th day of winter.
To GOD be all the glory!
It has been a long, hard siege....
a tall mountain to climb...
a Mt. Everest, of sorts.

I actually got out in the yard...in the glorious sunshine...
and played with Zach.
We played with bubbles.
He still loves doing that, and at 47 years old, so do I!
It is so relaxing.

As I stood there, listening to Zach's laughter,
watching him chase bubbles,
feeling gusts of wind on my back,
basking in the refreshing way it blew wisps of hair around my face,
it all felt so good to me.

I turned my head and heart Heavenward and stared at the fluffy white clouds 
that floated gently and ever-so-subtly across the blue sky overhead....
and I thanked God.


Oh, how I praised Him!
For life...for breath...to still be here...with our sweet boy...
to be able to stand outside with him again...
to see and feel the sunshine....
to know that spring is just a few days away....
to know that the long winter is nearly past....
to be able to experience it all again.

I looked around and saw the most welcome sights!
Slight, little, subtle reminders of spring...everywhere I looked.
Things I hadn't noticed, but things God has been working on when no one was looking.

Like the newness of life shown in the now-developed leaves of our maple tree out front....


and the beautiful buds springing forth on our red bud in the side yard.
Isn't this the most beautiful shade of pink?
The color of it against the blue sky is breathtaking.



The Bradford Pear tree out by the road is filling up with white.


New life!
It made me think of my "one word" chosen for this new year.
Restoration.
I am ready for it.
I need it.
I long for it.
I believe it has begun!

It also makes me think of Jesus...and Easter...and how He arose...
restored to perfect life....so that you and I might live.

This is the longest winter I ever remember living through.
I have been ill nearly every day of this season.
But, as the cold, wintry days are yielding their grasp over to days that are steadily becoming more 
sun-filled and warm, God is replacing what used to be more bad days than good, 
with more good ones than bad.

A few weeks ago, I wasn't sure I would ever feel the warmth of springtime again.
Seriously.
I didn't know if I had seen my last spring season.
Gasping for air, hanging on for dear life, pleading with God for healing.
Recovering from one illness, only to be thrust into the next siege,
wondering what on earth was going on.
But, if God spares time and life until March 20th, we will all see spring once more!
Glory to His name!
He is SO worthy!
Of every bit of our praise, adoration, worship, glory, gratitude, honor, and love.

Today, Zach spotted two robins flittering around in the backyard and snapped these two photos.



It is so good to see the robins again!
To know they are here makes me know for sure that spring is very near....
and that I am emerging from a very dark season...in more ways than one.  :)
Praise His name!

It is amazing how much we take for granted.
How we just automatically assume that the next season will roll around,
and we will be here to enjoy it.
How life will always go on smoothly, without wrinkles.
Sometimes, things happen to wake us up to the reality that
every day, every breath, every experience....is a dear and precious gift
from God, the Father, to us, and it should never, ever be taken for granted
or esteemed lightly.
Every now and then, He will allow us to walk through the darkness,
so that we will better appreciate the light when it pierces through and shines.

Life is fragile.
Uncertain.
Unpredictable.
Precious.

Ordinary days are supernatural, 
extraordinary gifts.
My appreciation for life....and ordinary days....
is deeper than it has ever been.
Ever.
How very blessed I am!
And how very, very, deeply grateful to Him Who gives it all.

I love Him more than I ever have.
My heart fills up with worship each time I think of Him and all He has done for me.....
which is very often.

One of my favorite songs these days is sung by Jeff & Sheri Easter.
You have been called to be more
Than you were before
Just set your sights
On Heavenly heights
And trust in the Lord
---
Lyrics submitted by judy james.
These lyrics are not available for printing.


Read more at http://www.lyrics.com/born-to-climb-lyrics-jeff-sheri-easter.html#rJMTQZyG96k9ihxF.99
As far as I can tell, they are also the writers of the song.
What amazing, precious words!
This song has encouraged me so many times,
as I have walked through these valleys.
Please listen to the words.

If video doesn't load, click here.

One of my favorite parts of the song is the bridge...
"You have been called to be more than you were before,
Just set your sights on Heavenly heights and trust in the Lord."

I love that.
Every trial we go through is for a purpose.
God knows how far we can stretch.
He knows how hot to allow the furnace to be heated.
He knows when it is one degree too much.
He knows our limits.

Sometimes, the pressure feels so extreme.
He knows when to release us.

I feel like I am now standing at the top....
of this mountain I have been climbing for so long.
Looking back, I see treacherous terrain.
Jagged rocks.
Straight-up climbing.
Long stretches with no place to stop and rest.
Tiny, glimmers of hope scattered here and there....
just enough to give me courage to keep going...
to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Whew!
It wears me out just thinking about it all.

Standing up here, I can look back...all the way to the bottom...
to where I was before I started the climb.
And I can look at today...to where I am now.
And I can look ahead...forward to tomorrow.

The view from here is beautiful.
Majestic.
Much closer to God.
Peaceful.
Serene.
Quiet.

Life is one long series of this pattern, isn't it?
Peaks and valleys.
Low places and mountaintops.
And all of those uncertain spots in between.

Walking by faith insures a firm footing...
every time we take a new step.
You have been called to be more
Than you were before
Just set your sights
On Heavenly heights
And trust in the Lord

Read more at http://www.lyrics.com/born-to-climb-lyrics-jeff-sheri-easter.html#rJMTQZyG96k9ihxF.99
How thankful I am that God is absolutely faithful.
He always keeps His word to us.

So, where are you, my friend?
Are you now in the depths of some dark valley?
Does it feel the sun will never shine again?
Have you climbed until you feel you can climb no more?
Are you in a season of heaviness?

Remember this.
It is only a season.
Hold on.
Stay steady.
Right where you are.
God is not rushing you.
He knows your heart.
Breathe.
Know that His everlasting arms are underneath you and the mountain you climb.
He holds it all in His hands.
He will never let you go.
You may slip.
You may grow weary.
But, you will never be beyond His grasp.
Don't look down.
There is nothing there you want to see.
Keep reaching towards the sky and His hand that is outstretched to you.
Keep listening to His voice urging you to stay strong.

Your mountaintop will appear.
Springtime will come.
The long winter will pass.
You will make it through this.
God will see to that.

4 comments:

  1. Oh Cheryl! We are not seeing those signs of spring here yet in Indiana...how I long for those trees to bud! Bradford Pear are one of my favorites even if they are hard to keep. They break so easily when they get too large! Anyway, I am looking forward to spring and new life. So glad you had such a good day. Blessings, friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my dear friend! I know you long to see the signs of spring...surely you will very soon. I love those trees, too....yes, my husband has to keep our trees trimmed back. They are so beautiful when they are in full bloom. Thank you so much for your kind words. Always so happy to see you stop by. Love, Cheryl

      Delete
  2. What a blessing to find another southern gospel music lover, Jeff and Sheri are one of my favorite. Your pictures are pretty, what a great talent to have. I am loving the weather in Southern California, usually ever day is nice enough to get out and walk and enjoy the beauty around us. Thanks for the visit on my blog Cheryl..I will be back to visit yours often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! It is so exciting to meet another So.Go. gal! We met Jeff & Sheri, and they are every bit as sweet and down-to-earth in person as they appear to be. Just precious people! Have you ever visited Jeff's Dad's store in "Mayberry", NC? We went by there a couple of times. Once we met Jeff's sister, who happened to be working the store. Another time we met two of the Easter Bros. It was great! Thank you for your kind comments, and I hope you enjoy living in California. Sounds like you just moved! Yes, please come back as often as you'd like. I hope to enjoy more visits together. Love, Cheryl

      Delete