My friend Kristen VanderHoek blogs over at The Lydia Life. Kristen lives in Canada and we’re both posting today on celebrating the change of seasons in different regions. Even though we live hundreds of miles apart, we're both eager to welcome spring.
Click here to read her post.
Springtime in Florida doesn’t last for very long. Last week was already full of 80-degree days and I know the sweltering, steamy days of summer are just around the corner. That's why I'm spending as much time as I can now outside on my courtyard enjoying early morning coffee and late evening stargazing.
Even though there were a few cold days here this winter, there are never enough for my favorite flower to grow. I love peonies. They need a long cold spell to bloom and Florida winters are just too short and warm for them. Growing up in Pittsburgh, my mother had a section of our front yard filled with pink and white peonies that I loved to see and smell. But since there aren't any peonies in Florida, I have to choose something else to fill up my little outdoor courtyard.
Last weekend I decided it was high time to put away my winter berry wreath and get ready for spring. I cleared out the straggly plants and dead sticks and got two ruffly-flowered hibiscus shrubs for my planters and a pot of petunias.
As I swept the leaves and dirt out of my courtyard, I only wished I could sweep the dust from some of the seasons of my life as easily. But I’m realizing that I need all of those seasons, even the ones that are cold and dark, to get ready for what’s ahead.
It’s in the fall, a season of ready, when some of what’s in my life needs pruned and trimmed. Old ways of doing things that weigh me down need raked up and collected into a pile to be discarded. The hard work of this season is worth it because I know that someday soon things will come to life again. Flowers will once more bloom where now there are only dead branches.
Even in the uncertainty of what feels like an autumn season.
It’s in the winter, a season of bleak, when I feel God’s consideration more than any other time. When I’m asking and asking and I think I surely must try his patience. It’s from this very cold place where I hear him more clearly and feel his presence more warmly. And as hard as these places are, I don’t want to leave this season because it’s here that my relationship with him puts down roots and grows so much deeper and richer.
Even in the dead of what feels like a winter season.
It’s in the spring, a season of bloom, where I dare to believe that the plans God has for my life will eventually blossom. My character is growing stronger through persevering and not giving up hope. The cold places are starting to thaw. It’s here that I remember that his promises are true. That new possibilities are getting ready to come to life. That my experiences haven’t been wasted but tenderly cultivated.
Even in the awakening of what feels like a spring season.
It’s in the summer, a season of steady, that I realize I’m here and what I’ve been longing for has arrived at long last. Now I can see what seemed like a pile of dead plans and frozen dreams is blossoming and thriving. And I remember with a heart overflowing with joy how I wasn’t sure I would ever get here.
Even in the bliss of what feels like a summer season.
If my favorite little peony flower can withstand a season where it’s cold and dormant, and not just tolerate it but require it to thrive and bloom, then I can press on, through any season. Because after the cold winds blow across my soul and the sun’s rays are warming up my life again, new purposes and plans will blossom in due time, season after season.
As I look at my outdoor courtyard, it still needs some work to fully celebrate spring's arrival. I have chair cushions to recover and more flowers to buy. I'd like to hang some cute cafe lights too. I want to enjoy it now since I know the hot months of summer are just around the corner that will send me running for shade.
That's when my friend Kristen in Canada and I will be exchanging our seasons. Swapping our winters for summers. Right now as she's longing for spring and not seeing any sign of it, she decided to ignore yet another snowy day and bought a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her living room. To remind herself that spring will surely follow winter.
And this summer, while she's enjoying the great outdoors and Canada's lovely weather, I'll be inside under my ceiling fan with the air conditioning cranked up, taking refuge from the heat and humidity. Wishing for a season of cooler days ahead.
So here's hoping that spring has arrived wherever you are. And if you happen to have a flower bed filled with peonies this spring, just know that I am green with envy but truly hoping you are enjoying this season in your little corner of the world.
These flowers are from Kristen VanderHoek's post on welcoming spring. Click here to visit The Lydia Life to see more photos and read her post!