This past winter was a doozy.
But eventually, the daylight hours started increasing. The cardinals and wrens began singing in the morning. The robins came back. The temperatures started rising in late February, and so did my spirits. Until I caught a cold.
This winter reminded me of my first winter as a new mom. We lived much further north and west of where we do now. So even the mild winters were long and cold, the daylight hours significantly fewer than where we live now. Not only that, but my elementary students passed colds and viruses on to me all winter long. I passed them on to our baby with upper respiratory issues relate to his congenital birth anomaly. By mid-March, ten months into motherhood, I was at my wit’s end.
I can’t remember how I made it to spring that year, though I credit it to my husband’s patience and compassion, the encouragement of friends, and the trust and my students lavished upon their cranky, tired teacher. Many years later, when dear friends lost twin boys at the sixth month in utero in late February. God brought the memory of my late winter despair to mind. Every time it niggled at me, I sent a card or encouraging note to the family.
Thinking of you.
Praying for you.
Missing your babies.
Hanging on for you when you can’t.
In late March, the mother was back in church. She thanked me for the cards, and I asked her how she was doing. “It’s hard,” she said as tears filled her eyes. “It’s so hard. But,” she went on, “I’m thanking God for the grace of his timing. I’m glad God chose to take our boys home in February instead of November. At this time of year, it’s easier to believe in new life at the end of winter.” She must have seen my puzzled look, because she continued. “You know…
There’s evidence all around us.” She pointed to a tree outside the window, “that spring comes after winter. That life comes after death. That the tomb is empty. That Jesus is who he claimed to be. And that,” she said, with a quaver in her voice, “gives me just enough hope to get up every morning and keep going.”
God whispered that decades-old conversation in my ear as this long winter dragged on, and while I blew my way through a box of tissues. Every time it niggled at me, I lifted up you and every other parent who nursed a child with special needs through the dead months of January and February. “Remind them,” I prayed, “that winter will end, spring will come, Easter is coming, the tomb is empty, and they serve a resurrected Savior.
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