I’ve been thinking about these flowers in front of my parent’s house for a couple of weeks. My parents bought these mums last autumn when they were in season. When winter came and their blooming was done, they threw them out to the edge of their property line to let the frost take them. The next spring, as my dad was mowing the lawn, he noticed some unusual greenery at the tree line. Upon closer inspection, he saw that the mums from the autumn before had survived the winter and were hanging on. He dug them up, brought them home, re-potted them and set them back up in their place by the front door. We have joked this summer across the dinner table that these flowers survived the hunger games and deserved to live more than any flowers we’ve ever had.
These last two weeks, they’ve started blooming again – all fall colors in 100 degree heat. Out of season, but a very pleasant surprise. They’ve been talking to me each day as I leave the house: things about resilience, hope, what it’s like to bloom when no one expected you to, and how to go far beyond mere survival after the winter season into flourishing, thriving, exploding life. Sometimes I stop and look at them and think about Jesus, redemption, being found, and what happens when someone sees value in something even when it’s at its worst.
There is a lot to say about the winter season – the survival, the fear, the fight, how long it lasts, how much it feels like a betrayal, how far away hope feels. But then redemption comes.
There was a morning that, little did these mums know, was the last morning they would spend on the ground. There was a night that would be their last one wondering when they’d next receive water. And now, I stop and look at these plants in a way that I never used to look at them before the winter. I’m glad they have a story to tell, and they remind me of things that I know that I know.
Are you in a winter season of your life? Sometimes the Bible also refers to this as the desert or valley. Ask Jesus to give you His eyes for your season. How will He make what the enemy intended for evil, good? How is he strengthening you? How will He redeem you in the broken places like He did the mums? Ask Him today, “God how will you make this beautiful?” Trust Him. He is! And hold on to your hope. Seasons change. This won’t be forever.
The beautiful thing about winter is, it’s a time to build and strengthen your faith. It’s an uncomfortable place, but it’s a place where you get to cultivate trust and intimacy with God, which will propel you in other seasons. Let him romance you even in this winter season.
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master’” (Hosea 2:14-16).