Winter’s Beauty

IMG_4274The wonder of God’s world is filled with poetry. It seems only fitting to capture that poetry on paper. I did just that not long ago. Hope you enjoy!

Winter’s Beauty

Winter has a beauty all its own.
Look past the plummeting temperatures
and the landscape stripped
of nature’s green bounty.
Open your eyes and also your heart
to loveliness left us in wintertime.

From the warmth of your nest
from your personal snow globe
gaze on winter in slow motion,
snowflakes falling in graceful rhythm.
Drink of next morning’s sunshine
resting on blanketed brilliance
gleaming in surprise patches of glory
giving rise to spontaneous praise.

Another week, another storm
drops ice instead of snow,
this time we hear it falling,
we hold our breath and hope.
We pray its havoc to escape
but can’t help to stand in awe
of the wonderland of frozen beauty
it sculpts with perfect precision.

Winter’s trees speak silent testimony,
naked branches reaching Godward
stretching, straining with all their might
to touch him, praise him, offer him all.
If this is not beauty, what is?
As if not enough an added glory
Blesses through branches bared,
bonus chances to observe the birds
more visible with leafy dress gone.

When winter hits our vulnerable hearts
its beauty at first feels hidden,
but soon its tender marks peek through
as God ministers with his mercies
drawing especially near us
whispering his love, showing he cares.
Yes, winter has a beauty all its own.

“Even in darkness light dawns for the upright . . .” Psalm 112:4a

*What beauty of winter do you especially love?

*My photo

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Midweek Morsel: The Thaw God Brings

“He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.”  (Psalm 147:16-18)

Our God is able to melt an icy, frozen earth. Can he not also melt a stone cold heart?

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heartof flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

*Has God ever melted your heart on a particular issue or towards a particular person? Who can you pray for now, asking God to melt his or her heart?

*Flickr photo by Muffet

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Prepared for Storms

If any of you experienced a mild winter like we did this season, you have me to thank for it. That’s right. I may be to blame for the lack of snow. Why? I bought new snow boots this year :)

I’ve wanted new ones for years. Oh, I had some I could wear in the yard or for shoveling walks, but I didn’t wear them out in public. Guess I would rather end up with snow in my shoes than look extra dorky. After all, I’ve already got enough dorky going on :)

But now that college and wedding expenses are behind us, I decided I could splurge on myself and buy some snow boots that didn’t embarrass me. I made my purchase and then waited for a big snowfall—a big snowfall that never came.

My boots have been ready, though. Out of the box and on call, waiting patiently in my closet. They must feel very neglected, not getting to make one appearance this winter. Poor things. Or should I say poor me! :)

I’ll let them stand in readiness until the calendar changes to April—just in case of a late breaking storm. (It’s been known to happen around here.) But after that, back in the box they’ll go to give my sandals and flip flops prime closet territory. There my anxious-to-be-worn snow boots will dream of frigid winter days filled with deep drifts of snow and icy surfaces waiting to be traversed.

And as for me, I guess it’s better to be prepared for deep drifts—of snow or problems in general—than to find myself trudging through the depths without the protection I need.

I’m obviously ready for the next big snowstorm, but am I ready for whatever life-storm blows into my world next? Am I ready to trudge through illness or pain, through disappointment or loss?

The best way I know to be prepared for the deep blows of life is to walk in close fellowship with my Lord day in and day out. Meeting with Him in prayer, in worship, and in His Word. Relying on Him for everything. Ready to call on Him at all times.

Beyond that, I’d also be wise to stay connected to others. To nurture and maintain relationships with my family, friends, and fellow church members. To accept and be strengthened by their support in times of need.

Are you ready for the deep drifts that await you? Do you have the protection you need? If not, I encourage you to reach out—to the Lord and to others. Make sure you’re prepared for storms.

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25

Snowed Under, Anyone?

Anyone else find yourself snowed under this past week? This was the sight that greeted me when I opened our front door the day after the blizzard of 2011 buried us in its immobilizing winter white. And with temperatures below freezing until yesterday and the promise of more snow on the way, I have a feeling it will be awhile before our bushes and lawn fully see the light of day.

I also have a feeling that some of you might be snowed under. Snowed under by things other than winter’s icy calling card. Burdened by things longer-lasting or even more immobilizing than a foot or two of snow.

Some of you may feel weighed down by a burden of grief. Our family has experienced a measure of that recently. Others may find themselves buried under a pile of work or unpaid bills while some are bearing the weight of others as well as themselves as they struggle to keep up with parenting or caregiving duties. And it might just be a combination of several things causing some of us to feel overwhelmed.

Are you feeling like you may never see the light of day? Be encouraged. Remember that we have One who wants to bear the weight of our burdens for us. We have One who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

So turn to Him. Tell Him you’re snowed under and ask for His help. Then relax in His arms and be at peace, my friend. Be at peace…

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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*My photo

Winter Comfort

Sometimes winter visits our souls at the same time it visits our neighborhoods. If you happen to be feeling the gray of the season in your spirit today, I pray that God will minister some winter comfort to you through the following poem I wrote several years ago. Be blessed, my friends, as you read:

The Wintertime

“O Lord, I need a touch from You
For it’s wintertime in my soul,
I feel so lonely and discouraged,
Extra stress has taken its toll.

Lord, it’s even winter outside
And the gray, cold days mirror my heart,
Father, please speak peace to me
And lovingly give me a fresh new start.”

As I finished my prayer
His voice I longed to hear,
But instead His touch I saw—
Snowflakes started to appear!

Silent snowflakes, pure and white,
Came drifting gently down,
Making the wintertime a wonderland—
God spoke to me without a sound.

“’I, even I, am he who comforts you…'” Isaiah 51:12a

*Flickr photo by lalofont, Creative Commons License

**The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign up is free and to the right!