Growing up in the woods of Minnesota meant spending a lot of time traipsing through cold wet snow.
And even though I was born and bred in those harsh winters, I hated every minute of it.
It could have been my cold-induced asthma, or my wildly under-qualified outdoor attire. Either way, all I knew is that the least amount of time I had to be outside the better.
For those who have not had to opportunity to experience a Minnesota winter, they may not realize that it typically extends from late October to late March, far too long for anyone’s sanity.
As an adult, I now love winter. I have the proper clothes, the best boots (seriously, the fur trim rocks!), and the cutest hat. I even consider myself quite the snowshoer (pretty much walking with tennis rackets on your feet).
But what I didn’t realize as a kid was that all those nasty winters I experienced as a child contributed to my love of winter now. Each one helped to thicken my blood, making me more immune to the frigid temperatures.
This is not so different to the winter seasons I’ve experienced in life as well. Abuse, loss, depression, neglect and abandonment were all horrible seasons. They were the worst blizzards that life could have thrown at me. I never would have said, “Man, I could really go for a season of loss right now!”
But through each of those seasons, I’ve learned more about God, and more about myself. I’ve learned that God is always there, whether I acknowledge Him or not. Plus, I’ve also learned that I’m a big wuss when it comes to winter weather.
To make things interesting, life has been pretty Minnesotan and has thrown many long and nasty winters my way. My current seasons of financial stress, health problems, children’s health problems and more have been some of the worst winter weather I’ve experienced.
Yes, I’ve still had to go through those winter seasons, but I haven’t walked through them alone!
God has been there, helping me to keep my faith from faltering. He’s even placed people around me to remind me of the unseen things that God has done in these seasons; a church family to help financially, a donated car, friends to help with advice for our children and so much more!
And despite how bad each blizzard has been, the snow has always cleared, spring has always come and my hope has been restored.
Now, when winter starts coming, and I see the first signs of frost in the air, I don’t run and hide indoors with the shades down. Instead, I strap on my snowshoes, put on my fanciest warm coat, throw on my tasseled fleece hat and head out to endure the blizzard head on.