Life Lessons from the Blizzard of 2016

We all have moments where it feels like our hearts are rent in two. Usually, it’s from broken relationships or crushed dreams that we are asked to give up. We look across our hearts after these events and they often look like a battlefield – broken, bruised, bloody and void of life. We are usually then found asking “WHY!? What can ever become of this mess now? Everything is ruined and lost.”

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Around five years have passed since my family was voted out of the church I grew up in. Angry, hurtful words were said – relationships were rocked and broken. I recall feeling as though I’d lost my Aunt and Uncle. Over the course of the last several years, we’ve mended the relationship as best we could. Family dinners, wonderful musical parties, and holiday celebrations were the bridge we used to start rebuilding and strengthening the relationship. Last night, we had them up to eat and as we’re going into supper, Dad goes “Will you pray?” and asks my Uncle. I almost cried when he started praying. This was the first time since we’d gotten voted out of the church that I heard my uncle pray. I hadn’t realized that was missing…until that very moment when he started and my heart was overwhelmed with thankfulness at being united in this way once more. Again, this morning, as we gathered with neighbors to worship Jesus (due to the snow, pretty much all services were cancelled). I heard him and my aunt praying. My heart was touched. We were singing, praying and praising Jesus together – something I thought would never happen again. Healing. It was like water to a dry, war-torn battlefield. Over the years, our relationship has gotten stronger again. But until I heard them pray – something had been missing.

I think back to a broken relationship and often wonder how anything good could come from that battlefield. How can anything grow after the destruction and hurt that happened?

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(photo taken from WWII Battle near Marne)

Then this morning, God gave me a beautiful physical example through what’s been labeled as the Blizzard of 2016. Snow was my answer. The earth “dies” every fall and we’re left with a barren and brown landscape…and then…then it snows.

White, clean, sparkly…fresh. New. Life.

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(photo taken from Aspen, CO)

            In just a few hours/days, our earth was blanketed with snow. I know this snow is the start to beautiful new life in the following months. Flowers, green grass, fruit trees, good hay crops and healthy gardens will come from this snow. From the bounty God bestows from the heavens. Our lives are just like this!

We’ve all been through horrible experiences and been standing at the edge of our battlefield, asking ourselves what is coming next and if there is anything good that can come from the barren and the broken. My friend…when we come to God and seek His face and forgiveness…God drapes a blanket of “snow”/purity on our lives and gives us the newness to blossom into a beautiful, bountiful harvest. There is beauty from the ashes. When we go to God, we find the Master Gardener that can take our broken, barren and bloody lives and turn it into something astoundingly beautiful.

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(Photo taken from NY Times, Antietam/Washington DC/Gettysburg)

            John 12:24 says “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

I Samuel 16:7 says “But the Lord said to Samuel, “…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Ezekiel 11:19 states “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,…”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Lastly, Isaiah 43:19 (an all-time favorite of mine) says: “Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

The relationships may not always be fixed (as ours THANKFULLY was!) and the dreams we lost may never come to pass, but God will heal the hurts, give new dreams and bless our lives tremendously IF we seek God first. In our own strength, we can’t fix relationships, heal hurts or make a dream a success – it all ends in the broken battlefield…so the choice is ours:

Bloody, barren, war-torn battlefields? Or lush, bountiful, beautiful field of His riches?

Which will you choose? To trust God in the middle of the barren times and seek Him or to waste away in our broken messes? I know my choice…I’m going to trust Him and serve Him even while I’m waiting on the bountiful harvest.

Because I know it’s coming…

 

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