Here in South Dakota we have been dealing with the after effects of a huge storm that rolled in Christmas afternoon. It turned off many people's power (which always scares me a bit). We were only without power for about an hour or so Christmas night, but some of my friends just got the power turned yesterday. And I'm sure there must be many still without power.
This is one of the reasons I used to check off my list of why I didn't like winter.
But God has worked in my heart the last few years to see winter differently. It began in 2013 --- well with the first snow late in 2012 actually. My daughter Maggie hated winter. She never walked very well. Was always a bit wobbly on her legs (though she refused to use a walker -- she wanted to look like all the other girls. Plus, she refused to wear her shoes that we made special because of her short leg). And she was so skinny -- no meat on her bones so cold seeped in quick. Winter made everything harder for her. That last winter of her life she circled March 20 of 2013 on the calendar in black sharpie. I asked her why. She said, "That is the first day of spring."
I said to her, "Maggie, we have to learn to like winter."
I'm not sure she ever did (and it was kind of funny -- on the day of her funeral which was Sunday, March 24, 2013 a huge snowstorm came in with lots of snow and slush (on the day she died, the 21st, it was warm and sunny, almost 70 degrees). I kind of thought it was Maggie's humor. I pictured her asking God if she could be in charge of the snow that day. She was up in heaven all warm and happy and loving life and dumped snow on the rest of us (Of course I have no idea if this was what happened. I have no idea if this is could even happen in heaven).
Since then I have tried to like winter. I've grown to appreciate it. I even love aspects of it. I those warm winter days -- maybe 25 degrees or even 35 with no wind, and sunshine making all those snow crystals glimmer like tiny diamonds.
I love the early morning darkness. It's quiet and cozy (and it helps that I am the only one up to enjoy it -- I am an introvert and need time alone to fill my insides up with peace).
I love winter walks (it can't be too cold or windy though).
I love to watch the puppy play in the snow. She jumps in the drifts. She eats the snow. She leaps and tries to catch snowballs in her mouth.
I love seeing snow on the ground and trees -- so lovely.
And I love the promise of its end -- the promise of spring.
This appreciation is so much better than being grumpy about it.
We can do the same thing with anything or anyone we might not like (or dread).
Years ago I read a magazine article about a woman who said when she didn't like someone she studied them. She got to know them better. In doing that she might not get to where she wanted to hang out with the individual, but she at least learned to appreciate that person. I've done this myself. I wasn't able to hang out with the person but every time this individual came to mind I prayed for this person. God changed my heart toward him/her. This was a very good thing.
Any time a situation or a person causes negative feelings to rise up in us that situation or person has control over us. We can't be truly free until we can rest in God's peace toward the person/situation. It might sound impossible but it isn't.
Max Lucado writes in He Still Moves Stones, "God's economy is upside down. God says that the more hopeless your circumstances, the more likely your salvation . . . The darker the room, the greater the need for light . . . God's help is near and always available, but it is only given to those who seek it."
"Truly, truly I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full."
Jesus' words in John 16:23b-24