One of my favorite activities in the late winter is “searching for spring.” In our climate we have “teaser” days in January and February. Those days when you think it’s April and you want to stay outdoors are the perfect times for “spring searching.”
What do I mean by that? Since I became a gardener, especially with berry bushes that come back year after year, I’ve learned to look for the earliest signs of budding. Along with the jonquils poking through, I see the blueberry bushes nonchalantly begin to swell at their tips.
You wouldn’t see it if you weren’t looking. Even the blackberry bushes’ new growth looks deceiving like last year’s dead ends, but it’s not. They are subtly beginning their new life.
Berry bushes are only the beginning. I find myself eyeing the trees on our driveway, looking for those microscopic buds. It’s sort of a game. Let’s see which ones are beginning their growth this week!
Searching for these subtle signs of spring help get me through the cold, brown winter days. They remind me that no matter how cold it gets, spring is, in fact, on its way.
Similarly, we inevitably go through winters in our lives. Last week my mother’s doctor discontinued her last cancer drug. We’re experiencing a winter. Other situations in my life blow like cold winds with seemingly no growth in sight.
But like my new favorite late winter activity, I’ve learned to search for signs of spring in these proverbial winters. In the midst of all things dark, where are the signs of life? Where are buds of growth beginning?
Maybe in my winter I’m growing closer to God. Maybe relationships are deepening. Maybe my heart is enlarging in compassion. Maybe I’m learning to appreciate the small things. Maybe my vision of eternity is widening.
I’m reminded in the seasons that God is a God of hope. Sure, some winters have brought terrible ice storms that wreak destruction evident for years. Some winters in our lives will leave gaping holes that may not be filled. But growth will continue, if we can see it. If we will let it.
So, in both my yard and in my heart, I’m on a mission to search for signs of spring.
A few days ago, I chatted on Periscope about searching for these signs of spring. Click here to view the 10-minute live broadcast. I also condensed it into a brief, 2-minute video here. I hope these encourage you.