Monday, April 23, 2012

Winter Daffodils

(written in early March)

Last week while fetching kids from the bus, I noticed daffodils emerging from the mulch.  Little arrows in earth’s quiver, sunbursts ready to launch.  But snow was in the forecast. “Poor things,” I wrung my thoughts out.  “It’s been such a mild winter.  They just couldn’t resist a peek at the sun.”  I pulled my camera out, took a few snapshots.  Something in me needed to capture the image of those tender shoots.  They spoke with powerful clarity what I had been struggling to explain to myself for awhile.  Conflicted months of pushing forward, pulling back… dreaming big, settling for small… straining to discern the whisper then resigning myself to the wind…this persisting discontent of my soul, I realized, was rooted in the fact that I had become a winter daffodil. 

            Have you ever found yourself in a season of confused timing?  Everyone advises “be safe,” but you feel this inexplicable hunger for the “what else”?  I’m in a season like that right now, the triplets finally in school all day and my creative juices simmering on life’s backburner.  10 years of teaching in my pre-mom pocket make a classroom return the reasonable move.  But while that season was certain, this has been a slow, unfolding process of sensing, yearning, wondering about what comes next.  There’s turmoil about ending my stay-at-home-mom era, too.  Some days, I’m chomping for a new adventure while others I’m quite content to do laundry…be at the bus stop… volunteer at school on Wednesday afternoons.  Sure, I know I could do the work again but I don’t think I could muster the love.  This time around, my heart is reaching for Jesus in a reckless way that has nothing to do with predictability or common sense.  That’s why I feel such connection to those daffodil shoots. I, too, find myself pushing out of a protective space toward an unknown destination that is calling me upward.   

            However, the more I respond, the more I’m surrounded by winter.  I’m sure it’s the Son encouraging me and it sure does feel good to be chasing after Him.  But nipping winds question and veiled skies critique.  “You’re an English teacher.  Do what you know.”  “How long can your husband shoulder these expenses alone?”  “Do ministry on the side and get a real job during the week.” “What makes you think anyone wants to read what you’ve written?”   Oh, how the winds blister and the skies frown and I begin to think that this journey to meet the Son has been rash and impulsive afterall.  I start to wonder what it takes to ungrow, retreat into the predictable darkened dirt.  I get out my resume and start thinking about subbing in the fall.

            But once a living thing starts growing toward the Son, the urge is irreversible.  It was the Son, afterall, who carried me through the darkest days of infertility and miscarriage… who calmed our fears about providing for triplets on half our income… who brought the overcomer’s smile across my face as the surgeon spoke the word “cancer.”  In those winters, the Son sheltered us against the biting gales of doubt and uncertainty.  In time, winter eased into spring’s warmth… infertility was transformed into fruitfulness…lack was replaced with abundance…the frightful diagnosis ended in victorious life.   This is the warmth I need to remember now as I’m pushing forward.  The Son is going to be there with all the succor I need.  So push on, little daffodils.  Your aspirations encourage mine and soon enough, I’ll be blooming, too.            

Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.    Philippians 1:6

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