When You’ve Weathered the Storm

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My living room is just glorious in afternoon sunlight. In the morning it’s a bluish cave, but as soon as that sun comes to the backside of the house and pours in, it warms my soul.

The kids both have fevers and coughs and I have bronchitis. Yesterday the doctor started me on steroids and antibiotics, and its all  I can do to sit half up on the couch with my eyelids peeking open.

I can’t help but wonder if anything good is going to come out of this post, though I was super inspired to write it this morning at 5am while I journaled in the dark!

So I live in the Midwest these days, where petunias grow rampant in summer and die with fall’s first frost. So my main petunias were potted in our window box out front for that glorious morning sun.  They grew into quite a thriving bush out there, but then first frost came, and they were tumbleweed by the time we got home. However, a week later I looked out back to spot the lone potted petunia– the one that had been overflow prunings from the window box (an afterthought, really).  Well, that petunia was still growing away, warming in the sun and it didn’t seem to have gotten the memo that November was over, because there it was, pink and blossoming everywhere.

So I brought it in and set it on the kitchen table to think about this little tenacious plant.

Sometimes we go through a “Winter of the Soul”, as my friend Alicia Chole so movingly talks about in Anonymous. I returned from my own soul’s winter to the comforts of home and familiar, and while I spent quite a while reeling in culture shock at how much was no longer familiar about home, I really was still quaking from a journey of hiddenness (which I perceived to be isolation), of wounds from friends, and struggle that had swept my confidence out from under me.

I wondered if I would ever feel like “me” again. Confidant. Creative. Passionate.

The most passionate I could conjure up was angry. And that wasn’t exactly what anyone was hoping for. My precious family and friends who have truly listened in confidence. I owe you the joy I find today.

But what strikes me about my petunias is that while the frost got the best of the window box ones, their pruned offspring planted in that walmart pot weathered those frosty nights, and warmed back up again with the sun. They looked a little puny when I found them, but with a couple days of watering they perked right up again.

All they needed was a sunny spot and some water to warm back up.

For a results-loving gal like me, I wish that I could say my soul had warmed up from winter in just a few days. But it’s been 6 months since I found my calm, sunny spot, and just this morning (at 5am) I awoke with a start, and found forgiveness ready to give. Sure, there have been other milestones of healing along the way.

But today, before the sun came up, I read Isaiah 58 and I meditated on these words.

And I saw in my mind as I hadn’t before the provision and strength God had given me through friends.  The over abundance of patience and faithfulness shown to me by mentors and neighbors and colleagues.  Over and over throughout that winter, God had not turned His back and neither had community. They had journeyed with me– as painful as it must have been for them to do at times.

And right there in the gratitude I found those bitter roots and I dug them up and let them go.

And I thanked God for the sunny spot, because the petunias are still growing. They just needed a little time.

So I don’t have a ton of wisdom here, but I do tangibly know– like really know– the freedom that comes from forgiveness.  So give yourself a little time today, and give your heart space to have a moment.

That moment when you take another breath in that sunny spot, and you look back at the hard places with God at your side. You’ll begin to see it all just a little bit clearer. There might be more to see, that will change your perspective, put more balm on that wound, or make forgiveness possible. If and when it happens to you, I’d love to hear about it.

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