“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.”
It froze last night.
The ‘annual’ plants (those that live out their entire life cycle in one year) are toast.
But the perennials – they can handle a little frost with a much better attitude. They’ve ‘been there, done that’, you see. They know that there are still plenty of beautiful and productive days to come. They seem to take a little dose of frost in stride.
They also know that it will get worse.
Much, much worse.
There will be days that are so dark, so cold, so miserable, they will die back completely to ground level.
They will lie dormant for months while Jack Frost scars the world and smothers all growth with his snowy minions.
But perennials have a secret weapon.
They can sleep for six months beneath their snowy tombstones.
But when conditions are favourable, they will grow and become beautiful once more. Their roots are anchored deep. They’ve been storing up energy by soaking up the summer sun. They know to reserve and funnel that energy deep, even while they are putting on their best show above ground.
They are in this for the long haul.
So are you and I.
We aren’t ‘annual’ plants.
This life that we are engaging in is not a sprint to the finish.
We are perennials, designed to handle cold temperatures, north winds, frost.
But we need to learn the secret of endurance first.
Life is a marathon. We will need stamina and resilience. And like my perennial garden friends, we need to figure out how to store and reserve some of our energy so that when growing conditions aren’t perfect – or even favourable – we still have enough resources to make it through.
And every bit of practice helps.
Which is why last night’s frost is more of a help than a hindrance.
Don’t get me wrong.
I have been known to shed a tear or two at the first frost of the season when I see the damage it has done.
But these prequels, these gentle proddings of fall, are what will enable my lovely green friends to survive the winter to come.
If we went from summer to winter with no in-between, no period of acclimatization, everything would die of shock. There would be no trees. No veggies. No gorgeous flowers, no vines, no grasses.
It is the shorter day length, the cooler temperatures, the touches of frost which remind each plant to stop blooming and start storing up for winter. It is the wicked north wind that signals the plants to slow down and prepare for winter. It is the harsh reality of our Saskatchewan winters and the cycle of prepping for them that makes these plants so resilient.
Where are you being pinched by frost?
How are you suffering from the reminders of a harsh winter to come?
I know it hurts.
I know it brings tears to the eyes at the thought of what you’ve lost.
But it is these very frosts that will remind you to redirect your energies into storing up good things deep – a training seminar to hydrate and stock up on God’s offerings off grace and love.
Frost is the gardener’s enemy.
But it also results in the garden’s survival and longevity.
Those places where you hurt most will become your powerhouse. That lost growth will stimulate both a period of rest and a new need to fill up your tank – and it is the skills you gain during the ‘ouch’ phase which will provide your spirit with the energy to make it through your winter.
And I promise you that after every season of frost, every harsh and dark and frozen winter, is the promise of spring.
I may need to rethink how I see frost…
Be open to an attitude adjustment with me?
Father, I have always seen frost as my enemy. But it is so important in helping my beloved plants to survive and thrive!! I have always seen trials as my enemy. But they may just be a gift sent to build my endurance and ensure my heart’s survival and resilience! Change my attitude. Open my eyes to the possibilities of growth and momentum and the reality of Your important work in my life. Amen.