“…May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”
Ah, the transformation!
The bitter cold of winter, the north winds, the frosted windshields and icy roads giving way at last to sunshine, birds, and bees!
The Great Thaw has begun – but change so monumental never happens overnight.
The soil longs for the sun, longs to do what it does best – produce life. But first, six feet of snow must slowly, slowly melt. The ground frost must slowly, slowly relinquish its grip. As it thaws, grasses will green first as their winter blankets slowly soften under softer skies. Then the tulips will extend pink hands in prayer, tentative baby steps of faith after months of slumber. The earth will slowly yield its secrets – frogs and insects, stiff from their forced confinement, will brave the elements.
But when to emerge? When is it truly safe?
It’s tricky in these parts.
Spring in Saskatchewan isn’t quite like spring anywhere else. (Anywhere in warmer climates, for sure.) It seems to go something like this:
1. False Spring. These are those first few days of warm enough weather to not wear a heavy jacket. We may get a slight sunburn from the glare of the snow. Icicles drip. The uninitiated bring out their bikes from winter storage. (The fools.)
2. Second Winter. Just after puddles form and we think we may need to ditch the winter parkas, it snows and the thermometer plunges. You scrape the windshield and dream of Mexico.
3. Spring Tease. The snow starts to ‘rot’ and turns all sorts of ugly shades of decaying grey/browns you never thought existed. You switch your footwear from winter boots to rubber boots but you know very well that you need to keep the old ones on the mat. This is not over.
4. Waning Winter. It’s still cold. It snows and buries the mud and iced over puddles just enough for you to not see them. You now have to run the gauntlet of terror on the way to and from your house. The mop is never put away.
5. Dashed Hopes Spring. You see a goose! There is a patch of actual grass in your yard! The forecast says every day for the next week will be above freezing! You buy garden seeds! It snows. You get the snowblower back out of storage.
6. The Late Spring Blizzard. You post on Instagram because your American friends will never believe how much snow you got. You get your mittens back out of storage and your kids build snowmen.
7. The Spring of Potential. The grass is actually greening up. The puddle-floods are receding. You start daring to dream of laundry days where you aren’t washing every item of your child’s mud-crusted clothing every day. You buy a trowel. It snows.
8. You May Be True Spring. This one fools even the old timers. The frogs start singing. The first mosquito goes for your face. You buy bedding plants. It snows. You go back to the greenhouse to replace the plants blackened by frost.
9. True Spring. The Real Deal. Your freckles show up with the songbirds. Sleds and skis are stored away, and bicycles and the rototiller take their places of honour and prestige in the garage. You pick and eat your first meal of home-grown lettuce. The grass needs cutting.
You made it.
The promise of ‘every good thing’ has come to pass, as you always knew it would.
But just like the arduous journey between physical seasons, may I remind you that the seasons of the soul are also messy?
Your journey to your best self is never linear. It is filled with hidden treachery and bumps and bruises, false starts and setbacks and tears of frustration. Some days you think you are rocking it. Others? A little more dirty laundry to run through the washing cycle of God’s grace.
But the promise holds to the end.
I wish someone had told me that the path to glory is through the dirtiest mud puddles.
I assumed if God was working in my life, it would be all smiles and roses, a perpetual springtime.
It looks a lot more like a Saskatchewan spring.
You become aware of a bad habit. You decide to do something about it. You even remember to ask for God’s help with it.
Then you work through all the stages listed above and the day comes when you are afraid that the promise isn’t true. That God can’t redeem your sin. That His work in you isn’t like His work in everyone else who isn’t struggling so hard – according to your close observation.
We all are.
Life is messy.
Things get – complicated.
And here’s another thing.
The road to change takes time.
You don’t go from 40 below zero to full green growth mode overnight. It takes weeks – often months – for that full glorious transformation to take place.
Your baby steps into faithful living will take years.
A lifetime, really.
And it’s meant to! Not because God is unable to do the transforming work – but because He is gracious and gentle with us. All that change requires some – finesse.
So lean into the Son of your soul. He will cause all those good things to spring up within you.
Trust the ‘Saskatchewan Spring’ redemption process with me?
Father, how good it is to be reminded that change takes time. You understand all that needs to happen deep down before any outer growth can be measured. Help us to be patient and trust You to do Your glorious work in and through us even when things look messy. Amen.