On the last day of May, I reflect back to the beginning of spring. Lent was just starting, and cold snow still covered the ground. Now, at the end of this season, we are celebrating the last day of school, and the high will reach 80 degrees today.
Before I get too into enjoying all-things summer, I want to take just a few moments to capture what spring meant to me—what I learned, discovered, and grew to appreciate.
Here are five things I learned this summer:
1. Living out the holy tension between stillness and activity; prayer and work.
This quote by St. Frances of Rome gives me a lot of hope:
“A married woman must, when called upon, quit her devotions to God at the altar to find Him in her household affairs.” // St. Frances of Rome
I desire more time in prayer, and I long for quiet at Mass. I feel the holy tension between stillness and activity; prayer and work … And I am reminded that the Lord understands. He delights in my desire to spend time with Him, and He also nudges me along when I need to tend to the people He has entrusted to my care.
2. Accepting the unexpected leads to healing.
“And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matthew 26:39)
Until recently, it never occurred to me that when facing something like illness (or anything that isn’t expected or desired), we can experience grief. A type of mourning of what we thought life would be like. Grief is not fun, but I am realizing that if I don’t enter it, I only end up depressed, angry, and screaming, “This isn’t fair.”
I cannot step onto the path of healing when I haven’t mourned the loss of normalcy and accepted my reality. I cannot understand God’s purpose in all of this, until I have professed in faith, “not what I want but what You want.”
Staying close to Jesus during a difficult time is so critical. Not only does He comfort me; He also shows me how to say yes to the cup I would rather escape, ignore, (or let pass from me).
The fact is God cares about my Hashimoto’s, even if I don’t understand why He allows it. “He knows exactly what he gives and what He takes away and WHY. God is not haphazard in His workings, and [I am learning] to embrace this fact in total trust.” (Fr. John Burns // Lift Up Your Heart)
3. Even in the midst of the desert, blossoms can bloom.
Because “God is at work in our lives in countless ways we may never see.” (Fr. John Burns // Lift Up Your Heart)
Often, when we walk through a desert, we experience dryness, emptiness, or hopelessness. But God promises that He is at work, doing something new.
Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
Even when I don’t perceive it, I cling to His promise anyway, and I borrow hope from others who walk ahead of me.
4. God gives hope in the form of a heart-shaped leaf.
On a particular day in April, I picked up my kids from school. As I walked across the city street to the school, something caught my attention.
A leaf. Shaped as a heart. Just waiting for me to notice.
The leaf looked weathered and worn, barely surviving the harsh winter, but its heart shape gave a sense of strength and determination.
It was as if God put this leaf on my path to remind me that He loves me. He knows this last season of my life has been harsh, like a cold, brutal winter. But as winter thawed into spring, God reminded me that He is at work underneath the snowy, silent, and barren landscape of my soul.
And no matter how long the winters of our soul last, spring is sure to follow. Flowers will blossom once again. This is His promise of faithfulness.
And He not only keeps His promises, He also sends us reminders. So, pay attention! Look up; look down! Keep your eyes open! Signs of His love are all around.
5. It just never gets old.
Spring was a season of baseball and basketball games. It was a season of musical performances and concerts. No matter how many events I attend for my children, I never get tired of watching them do what they love. It is one of my greatest joys as a mom.
What have you learned this spring? Please share your life lessons in the comments.
Joining this post to Emily P. Freeman’s seasonal “What I Learned” linkup.