There are afternoons when I hide in the doorway between our master bathroom and our closet and cry because I don’t know what to do. I was told that mothers have instinct and intuition, but mine has only ever stretched so far after all these years.
The end of winter feels like an awkward dance in Indiana. The weekly forecast on my phone looks drunk and unpredictable today. A series of overcast days with empty gray skies is sandwiched between days of crisp air and sunshine. We are all waking from hibernation, stumbling forward into hopes for warmth and life, then backward as we reach for our winter coats again.
At the bus stop this morning, I heard a cardinal’s song, calling out to the other neighborhood birds. My son and I waited on the sidewalk in our puffy, worn-out coats, while the surrounding streets were covered in a blanket of birdsong. He held my hand until the bus came into view. I squinted to see the cardinal’s bright red chest sitting at the top of the tree near us like a crimson crown, the sun reaching for me, reminding me how powerful light is.
Maybe the birds not only call to each other but also call to every silent, sleeping thing, deep in the dark dirt. This morning, it felt like they were calling to the corner cavities of my heart. What if the end-of-winter birdsong is actually a war cry? What if spring has to fight to rise again, too?
Some transitions have come unwelcome, knocking me down, and stealing the wind from my lungs. But there are others that I plead and pine for.
Our family has been longing for change in a specific area, but the progress has been so slow. We’ve been assured that these things take time, that sometimes we will take two steps forward, then take a big step back, but that this dazed dance is indeed, progress. My spirit is dizzy from all of the motion.
Well-meaning friends ask us how things are going. And many days, I don’t know. I’m ashamed to not have more promising answers. One day things look hopeful, and the next leaves me in the doorway between our bathroom and closet again.
The popular saying is true: it takes a village to raise a family. But relying on a village isn’t as feel-good as it sounds on paper. Carrying one another’s burdens isn’t sexy; it’s sweaty and wearisome. We all want a victory story to celebrate, but there are challenges we face that don’t have answers. And some of them move in and stay.
Four years ago, when our family was walking through a different transition, I asked a few close friends to check in on me if I went dark for too long. I knew my tendency was to hide in times of struggle. One friend started texting me every day. Text message notifications chipped away at my shame with one small ding after another. I wanted to respond that things were just fine when they weren’t but felt compelled to say how scared I was instead. The thing is, this friend still checks in most days, four years later. It looks like a simple “hey,” but these faithful check-ins have become more like little war cries. When one of us isn’t sure we can stand another week of dancing backward steps, we remind each other that at the right time, spring always stands up to winter.
I’ve heard people say that duty is an enemy of adventure, and loyalty is boring. But duty keeps proving to be the backbone of love, and loyalty has been the strength God’s offered our family through community over the last four years.
Northern cardinals stay around throughout all four seasons here. The Crayola-red males and the dusty rose-colored females are easy to spot amongst a backdrop of skinny, skeletal trees, and white, winter snow. They flit and fly, foraging for their daily needs in silence. They hold space with their presence, showing up day in and day out, a bright spot of color in the cold.
Love cannot suffer long in the spring seasons of our lives. It’s the winters of our lives when we find the irreplaceable gift of God’s patient presence. It’s during the coldest months when we are forced to depend on one another for the warmth we can’t muster on our own. It’s the gunmetal, gray-sky days when my nose is swollen, my eyes puffy, I have no song to sing, and all I can do is simply ask God to “please, give us this day our daily bread,” that Love shows up again, stable and steady.
Love keeps showing up for this awkward dance of two steps forward, then one step back, and for today, it is more than enough.
Love keeps showing up for this awkward dance of two steps forward, then one step back, and for today, it is more than enough. -@tashajunb: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
lovely written. I am understanding this as it was spring here with freshness and renewal then we got a nasty blizzard and a dumping of snow.. every day I look forward to spring and walking forward. things in life are just like that.. sometimes forward with great things ahead and then sometimes set backs. all in all we hold strong as God’s in it all with us. our storms our victories and all the mud in between here’s here !!!
Thank you so much Krissy!
Dear Tasha, I hear your cry! Our days in the Pacific northwest are very similar. Lots of grey days, with bright days of sunshine scattered in between. I am not in a waiting season, but things can still seem dreary at times. I’m sure you’re a wonderful mom and you will arrive at your latest destination soon. I hope your friend will continue to encourage you. It doesn’t sound like she tires easily. Love to you!
Thank you so much for that encouragement, Irene.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
God Love never fails. Theses last few days. I not much felt like reading my Bible or saying my prayers. That not like me. We had my Sister’s dog to look after for last few days. We had dogs in the past. But they are lovely. But no more. Don’t get me wrong. My sister’s dog no trouble. It just does not no my house. My day of dogs over. When I had them they were loved and very spoiled. But when you have someone else’s. It strange to your home. You scared of anything happening too it. It not that big a dog. It offal good. My sister kids would cry if anything happened to the dog. Your word today spoke to. It as if God speaking. My Husband said Dawn you not yourself with your sister’s dog out in our house these last few days. Your time with God has gone out the window. As you are nervous round the dog. Even though the dog so so good. Your stressed incase anything happens the dog. Especially when your sister’s kids love the dog so much. The dog don’t know our home. God spoke to me through the title of your word today. God said Dawn my Love keep showing up. Look at you caring for your sister’s dog when she is at work and kids at school. She couldn’t have the heart to put the dog into kennels. You doing that for the love of your sister and her kids. Look at the Love I for you my Child. It is love that is beyond all. It is a love that I even sent my Son to die on Calvary Cross for You. So look at that love you are giving your Sister and her Kids by taking the dog. Showing the dog that love also. Rather than the we pet be put into a cold kennel on his own. Look so lonely. Only get a walk twice a day. Look at all the love the dog will get while with you in your in home. Even though you might not really want the dog there. Look at it this way God showed me. You are doing it on to me. I will bless you for talking the dog rather than it go into a cold kennel for a few days while your sister getting the work done at her home that she needs done. While at work and the kids at school. Sure I love you Dawn and I love you so much. I sent my Son to Calvary for you. That spoke to me. Along with the title of your reading. It is a love that keeps showing up. It taught me to stop grumbling. Be more thank full. Be glad I am able to help my sister out these few days with the dog for her. As God spoke to me through the Holy Spirit. Thank you for todays reading xxx
Thanks, Dawn! I’m glad to know it resonated and that the Holy Spirit spoke to you.
TAMMIE BRAY says
I’VE BEEN IN THIS PLACE ALSO SO I UNDERSTAND. IT’S ONE DAY AT A TIME AND I THANK GOD THAT HE IS HERE WITH US.
I LOVE THAT YOU MENTIONED THE CARDINAL. THIS WAS MY GRANDMOTHER’S FAVORITE BIRD. SHE PASSED AWAY 22 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH AND I MISS HER VERY MUCH. SHE DIED JUST BEFORE MY SON WAS BORN – AND SHE WANTED SO BADLY TO SEE HIM, BUT EVERTYIME I SEE A CARDINAL, IT MAKES ME THINK OF HER AND SMILE. SHE’S IN HEAVEN AND I KNOW THAT SHE WILL SEE MY SON ONE DAY AND SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM. IN THE MEANTIME, EVERY CARDINAL I SEE REMINDS ME THAT GOD IS WITH ME AND SENDING REMINDERS THAT I AM LOVED BY HIM AND OTHERS, SUCH AS MY GRANDMOTHER, THROUGHOUT MY LIFE. HANG IN THERE SWEET SISTER. YOU ARE SO LOVED AND NEVER ALONE.
I love how birds can do that. Thanks so much, Tammie.
mindy sperline says
Tasha, there is a song by Warren Barfield, Redbird, that I believe you might enjoy. We heard it at one of his concerts. You can find it on youtube. The red cardinal has ever since become my favorite bird. I pray this song and it’s lyrics will bless your soul.
Thanks for sharing that, Mindy. Glad you are connected here.
M @ In Beautiful Chaos says
Waiting is one of THE HARDEST things to do, and winter (literal & figurative) can seem never-ending, but God WILL bring the spring in His perfect timing! Thank you for this encouragement today:)
M @ In Beautiful Chaos
Thank you so much!
Nancy Ruegg says
I too love the cardinal’s bright cheeriness against winter’s frequent drabness. Just today though I spotted crocus blooming next to our garage door and by the back sidewalk some bluets (?). The sleeping things, deep in the dark dirt ARE rising again. I pray, Tasha, the answer to your prayer soon rises out of the darkness of uncertainty. It IS already on its way (Isaiah 65:24).
Beth Williams says
We were made for community. God calls us to carry one another’s burdens. It can be the only way we can get through the winter days of our lives. It also gives others joy to help out in any way-even if prayer & encouragement is all we can offer. God tells us to take life one day at a time relying on Him solely. That can seem hard when we are in transition. God’s timing isn’t the same as ours. He knows best when we should move forward. For now let others encourage & pray for you. Helping you out in this time. Just trust God & count on your friends to show up with love in their hearts.