Here in Canada, in the early days of May, we are just moving into the spring season. And this year, Mother Nature seems to be unable to make up her mind. We keep going back and forth from sunny warm days to cold mornings blanketed in snow.
It is so unpredictable and difficult to know how to prepare for the day when you wake up to snow and want to wear shorts by the afternoon. In fact, I saw a funny post from a friend who shared how ridiculous he felt wearing his winter snow boots uptown on a sunny afternoon because when he left the house in the morning they were required!
This is how we do spring, right? We are used to it. Especially in Alberta. Its common for April and May (and even into June sometimes) to be unpredictable.
My youngest daughter has spent the past year or so really digging into and learning about our first nations ancestry. I myself have (finally) applied for my status and together (but mostly her) we are rediscovering where we have come from.
One of the amazing things we have learned, is that in First Nations culture, we celebrate six seasons instead of four. There is winter, thaw, spring, summer, fall and freeze. (some nations vary on what they call it, but this is the simplest way to explain it)
When Coral, my daughter explained this to me, I felt like it was a deep truth that resonated within my soul. Recently, with this up and down weather, I have spent some time searching what this might mean to me. Particularly the thawing season.
In Christian circles we talk about seasons a lot.
(Do people outside of the church do this? Let me know!)
It seems to me that people talk a lot about the harder seasons of life. The “fall” or “winter” if you will.
The seasons where things seem cold, or dying, or so very difficult. I rarely hear people talk about being in a season of spring or summer! (Maybe we need to have that discussion…another blog for another day perhaps)
To jump on that metaphor, I would say that our family has been in a winter season for 3 and a half years. Starting with the sudden loss of my mother in 2015.
We have struggled so very much in this time. There has been so much loss (life, friendship, jobs, health, dreams, etc), so many emotions, fears, tears, and confusion. We have worked so very hard just to survive some of the coldest days of our lives. Weeks and even months at a time where the sun didn’t seem to shine. Where we just felt the cold and the dull lack of colour in our day to day. Our ONLY light and sun coming from Jesus and a few key people we trust and love.
A month or so ago, we were at a worship gathering at church. One of our pastors was so very kind and loving to reach out and pray over my husband and I (and our family). Declaring that this season was FINISHED, speaking life into the new things to come from it.
I believe with my whole heart in her words and I know that Jesus is working something amazing.
However, it isn’t going to change from Winter to Summer overnight.
I wish it would, to be honest. I long for restful days, basking in the warm rays of joy. I miss the unhurried nature of summer, as we know the light lasts long into the evenings, where we don’t have so many demands on our hearts, time or prayers.
Where we can just be with people, laughing and rejoicing in the sun, splashing in the water and sharing food on the banks of a river or lake.
However, there is a process to go from Winter to Spring.
It’s called “The Thaw”.
You could call it “the in between” or the “now but not yet” season.
The thaw is a very dirty time isn’t it? Muck, mud, garbage and the residue left in layers of snow begin to emerge from the melt.
Its too soon to clean it up though, isn’t it? You MUST wait for the full thaw in order to do the work needed to move into spring. Spring, the time when the green grass begins to glow, the buds of trees begin to emerge and brave bulbs make their way to the dirt’s surface, reaching and seeking the light.
This, spring, is when you can finally see the change from the dead of Winter into the warm growth of summer.
It is a lovely and amazing time, but you must endure the thaw to get there.
If you try and rake the grass while it’s still frozen, you can damage it. If you try and dig the flower beds up before the air is warm enough, you can kill the new life hiding beneath. If you try and plant seeds before the frost is fully finished, you will not have any new growth. You must let the thaw come, you must let it finish it’s work.
All this to say that I see my heart is currently in the thaw.
The messy, dirty season that comes after a winter and before the regrowth of spring.
I am in a place where I need to feel the ugly, experience the garbage, let the melt bring out the layers of crud that have accumulated over the winter SO THAT the clean up on my heart can begin and I can lean into the work of the new growth to come.
The spring is on it’s way. I can feel it in small moments of the warm sun on my skin through the front window. Or the melting snow streams washing through the streets, carrying mess and mud away with it. I sense the way my body is reacting to the vitamin D exposure in the hours of longer light. I hear it in the birds singing in the front patio. I see the way the chickadees are working to make new nests and homes for the new life they instinctively know is around the corner.
But it isn’t quite spring yet.
The most important aspect of the thaw is that it can kill despair and bring new hope to life.
It can help us see that things are changing; that new life is coming. It is the new, the now, but also the “not yet”.
It is the time when we can see that we are not going to be buried under the blanket of cold and death forever.
The season is finally changing.
And thankfully, so am I.
Thank you, Christ; thank you for your new creation life that is in all things. Thank you that you remind us with everything you have made that life is full of change and seasons, and that all things have a cycle.
Thank you that you are always working on my heart, my faith and my growth. Thank you that you are continually creating new life, in and through me.
And thank you to my family (framily) and friends, who have watched us go through the toughest winter, prayed for us, held us up and didn’t bail when things got tough or when the ugly muck and mire of the thaw began to reveal itself.
Thank you to those who are still here, helping us grow through, cheering us on, and reminding us that summer is coming.
You are a treasure to us, and we couldn’t have gotten here without you.
What things are currently thawing out in your heart? Where is God preparing you for a new season of growth or of fruit? I would love to hear about it, drop me a message or comment on my social media posts. Let’s share our hope with one another!