It is the end of February as I write this blog article. It has been gray, cold and damp for many days. This is the time of year when I feel like Spring will never come. I used to complain bitterly all winter long, bemoaning the lack of life, color, and warmth during this season, questioning why I even choose to live in Michigan. No longer.
One winter, a friend told me that I was like a flower waiting for the spring, enduring a long dormant period, after which I would open my petals and display my potential. She said, “What does a flower do as it’s waiting for spring? It rests, and drinks in all the water from the winter snows.” Now I view winter as a time for waiting inside, and drinking in God’s presence, instruction, and word. My winters are dull and lifeless no more, now that I have God’s perspective on what winter is for.
The brightest sunshine in my winter is my work at Hope House with Read Around the Block. Our theme this semester is “Speak Life: the Power of Words.” This theme serves a dual purpose. We teach kids about the heard, spoken, and written word and weave in God’s word to the kids at the same time. We share testimonies and kids tell about the most important words that they have ever heard and spoken. We write thank you notes to our volunteers and talk about how a kind word can cheer someone up who’s feeling down. We have talked about how words have the power to build up or destroy. We learned about special people who used their words to bring about dramatic social change for the better, even while facing dark opposition. Soon, we will write our own books and we will talk about God’s book, the Bible. We will learn about slam poetry, and talk about the beautiful words that are in our hearts that we can share with others to help them or make them smile.
All of this amazing stuff is birthed by the Holy Spirit of God, springing forth in the dead of winter in the hearts of kids and grown ups alike. So much color and goodness and kindness and joy. As we look around at each other, there is no doubt that spring is always with us, when we are with God!