We woke up this morning to the first snow of the season. The ground was blanketed with a dusting of white and the air was nippy. My husband groaned a little, “I’m not ready for winter,” he said, then caught himself, “but I guess it will come whether I’m ready or not.”
I stood for some time, admiring the way the snow followed the pattern of the tall grass, bending the stalks under its weight. Seasons change. Isn’t that just how life goes? No season lasts forever. And while a change of seasons may mean the death of one thing, it can also mean the birth of another.
While we were in Alaska this year, my husband and I were praying desperately that God would reveal to us what we are to do next. We have been pursuing adoption for some time, testing waters, looking for the child or children that God would have us raise. And our searching, our hopes that bloomed like summer’s glory, wilted with the autumn winds. And with their passing, the mother-heart within me faded too.
We flew around Alaska and ended up hiking across this moss-covered forest on Long Island (the Alaskan one). I was some distance behind my husband and our friend, Gene, and I slowed down just a touch. I was taking photographs of the fresh springs that bubbled up in the middle of the spruce trees and I finally found the ability to whisper brokenly, “God, I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep loving and pouring into children, always hoping, always dreaming that someday one will be mine. I’m so tired, Lord. So, so tired.”
It was the harshest truth I knew. That I don’t have the fortitude to keep going. It takes more strength than you’d ever know, to mother other people’s babies. To only have snippets of time with them and then hurt for always because somehow, someway, they became a part of you but you don’t have the right to them.
I suppose one must harden. Become tougher.
But I never was good at that.
Still, I expected God to answer with a call to arms. A stirring up of my endurance. “Press on toward the goal,” I thought I’d hear Him say.
But He didn’t.
He whispered through the moss-covered branches, “You may rest.”
Oh, deep life-cleansing breaths. Oh, sweet peace at last.
I can rest. I can drink deep of stillness. I don’t have to fight. I need only be still. I need only breath deep and rest.
Winter can seem difficult. There are harsh realities. It’s cold outside. Freezing cold. Snow piles high. Days are short. Nights are long.
But it’s also a time of rest. There is only so much that can be done, only so much one should do.
During the summer it’s easy to work until the middle of the night, putting in the last of the hay crop, picking the last of the sweet peas, laying outside and counting the stars. But in winter when evening comes, one just curls up tight with warm blankets and books.
It it peaceful and calm and quiet.
I run a finger across the snow-crusted stack of wood, watching as the heat from my body melts the flakes. Seasons will come and go. And there is beauty to be found in every one, if we choose to embrace it.
Love this verse: ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28
I just read this devotional the other day based on ‘The testing of your faith produces patience.’ James 1:3
Dwight L. Moody was fond of pointing out that there are three kinds of faith in Jesus Christ: struggling faith, which is like a man floundering and fearful in deep water; clinging faith, which is like a man hanging to the side of a boat; and resting faith, which finds a man safe inside the boat — strong and secure enough to reach out his hand to help someone else.
Notice each man had faith. Each knew the boat was his only hope. But only one had a resting faith. Only one had discovered he could actually be in the boat — where all he had to do was rest.
This is the kind of faith God wants us to have — a faith that trusts Him totally. But sometimes we discover its reality only after we have endured a struggling or clinging faith. Sometimes we only realize we can get in the boat when the storm rages and we cry out to God with new faith. Then our Savior graiously extends His hand and says, ‘Come to Me… and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28 (by Rev Billy Graham)
I found this devotional challenging 🙂
Oh, what a challenging, beautiful reminder. And so encouraging to me. Thank you, thank you for sharing it!!
Dear Natasha, dear, dear Natasha! I can only imagine the pain and the grief, because, although I experienced a sort of “mother-less” pain, I never felt that I had the “right” to be a mother, because I wasn’t married. So I had a different kind of wishing that included wishing for marriage as well….and year 36 brought a wedding, and year 38, a child, year 41 the loss of a pregnancy, and year 43, the miracle of birth again. And I can say, that although we almost always feel alone in our grief and our pain, those feelings of grief and pain are really quite common to women everywhere.
“It was the harshest truth I knew. That I don’t have the fortitude to keep going. It takes more strength than you’d ever know, to mother other people’s babies. To only have snippets of time with them and then hurt for always because somehow, someway, they became a part of you but you don’t have the right to them.”
It also takes more strength than you’d ever know, to mother your own babies. To have them 24/7 and not be able to give them back, to always have to face yet another day, yet another evening, yet another night! A lot of mothers also don’t have the fortitude to keep going, but they don’t have a choice either, so they do. And that’s exactly where you become their blessing! Taking those children for an evening, an overnight, a day…is what renews their parents’ courage! Yes, take your rest and don’t feel guilty for that! God has planned a future full of life and hope for you. The most beautiful part is that he will lead you to that future even while you are at rest. He’s always working on your behalf, he knows your heart, and he loves surprises too. Trust him, lean not on your own understanding. acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will direct your path! LOVE YOU, from one who mothered you! Aunt Judi
Oh, yes. Whether mothering or not, we all face trials. I talked about that some is this post >> http://natashametzler.com/2013/03/01/why-telling-yourself-to-just-be-happy-doesnt-really-work/
We all come to the same place of needing to surrender. And God gives us each our own burdens to bear. He is good, no matter what we face. 🙂
Thank you for this reminder for me and for all of us. I’m so grateful The Lord has granted you this season. What treasure.
Hmm, yes. I thought of all the other seasons of life when I was writing this- and how each one is such beauty and blessing.
…”the mother heart within me faded too”…Oh, that phrase shot like an arrow into my heart. I struggled with feeling guilty because I was ENJOYING this time of rest. Like you, I felt l should be enduring, struggling. And isn’t it wonderful to be still? Such a burden off my back! Praying that this season pulls you even closer to the heart of your Creator. Blessings!
That is such a huge part of it… feeling guilty for enjoying the rest time. But it’s okay. It is, in fact, a gift.
Thank you so much for your prayers!
Mmmm….I think the rest is why I love winter most. It’s His permission to just be.
Lifting you in prayer as always.
I love those moments where God tells me to rest. To just trust Him and lie down. Although the resting can also be hard to do sometimes…
Thanks for sharing the thoughts of your heart!
hhmm… it is a peaceful place indeed. Sometimes hard, yes, but peace is different than “easy”.