Hands down. Without a doubt.
This has been the worst winter in regards to frigid temps and snow after snow being dumped on us. Days, though few and far between, that actually hit the 20s just make us want to run out in shorts. Seriously. I have forgotten what the normal landscape looks like around here, because you just see white and massive piles from multiple trips from the snowplows.
Spring IS coming. The great melt is coming. Slowly but surely. It WILL arrive.
We will see green again. We WILL see the gorgeous colors of spring.
It WILL get here.
Hints of it in our very near future. We may have some temporary snows before it's completely gone for the season. We may have some dips back down into the frigid....but it's so close we can just reach out and almost grasp it.
I may end up walking around with mesh imprints on my face from looking out the backdoor with my face smooshed against the screen.
I want to just cheer on the sun and let it know...."I think I can, I think I can....".
I want to cast out a fishing line with a giant hook and just reel it in close.
The rain may come with it before long. The battle of caked on road salt leading to rust (Miss Gidget---our paid for van---definitely is showing those scars!) will give way to mud. The task of keeping the hardwood clean from tracking in wet snow, countless pieces of ice melt and road grime has been a battle I've not been able to win. Despite mopping MULTIPLE times a day, I still can't keep it under control and there are no longer any such thing as white socks around here right now even though I battle it head on. The salt and melting ice/snow will soon be replaced with muddy footprints.
But I'll take it.
What I'm learning is that in the middle of the mess, you just have to keep going on. Do all you can to fight the battles, but keep going on.
LIFE is messy.
It's NEVER simple.
There's always something frustrating. Stressful. Uncertain. Heartbreaking.
There is so much more to be ever thankful for.
More than we can even conceive and count. Even living a life of practicing gratitude comes up short because we just really can't see how very much God blesses us with EVERY single day.
In the middle of the mess....
Just worship. Seek Him. Praise Him. (Please note: I'm preaching LOUD and CLEAR to myself!).
There's always going to be something to drag us down. That's one of satan's biggest weapons. Drag us down to keep our eyes from Him.
Just as we know spring IS coming and we are craving it like never before----so is victory. So is healing. So is that answer to a prayer. So is that......whatever it is....
It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow.
The winter makes us more thankful for the spring. The failures make us more thankful for the successes. The sorrow makes us more appreciative of the joy. The complicated makes us embrace the simple.
Until the spring arrives (or the victory/answer we all are needing in our current lives), worship where we are.
This morning, I heard the best quote I've ever heard about being in the middle of the storm while watching a Woman of Faith webcast from Shelia Walsh with guest Judah Smith. I missed it last night because I was involved in 3 different facebook "parties" for different events going on or coming up and took the time in the quiet of our "slow" Wednesday mornings to watch it.
"Sometimes you've just got to worship wet!"
We can find it easier to worship when the storm is over. When God has already performed His miracle or provided the need. It's easier to worship when we are dry. When the storm has passed. When the rain has stopped. It's so much easier to worship then.
It's the during the storm worship that is amazing. (Always loved "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns. Who am I kidding...I've yet to find a Casting Crowns song that doesn't have a powerful message!). Praising during the storm is when we should be singing our loudest. It's revealing our character and who lives inside us. It's showing our trust in hard situations. It's showing that we can't do anything in our own power. As Shelia said on the webcast, it's like you're declaring to God, I know "You've Got This." Judah mentioned that he wants to be a believer that sees God in the middle of the storm because he was looking for Him, not just when the storm is over and he looks back. I want to be that believer just as much.
I love how they talked about that when you FEAST upon the word of God, you can weather REAL storms, not just windy weather. Shelia talked about how we sometimes as Christians can act like scripture is a box of chocolate. We can take little nibbles out of each piece trying to find our favorite flavors, leaving the rest behind. We end up with incomplete theology and a shaky picture of what it means to be in relationship with Christ. Then when troubles, disappointments, or loss hit---the bits we chewed off aren't truly enough to sustain us.
That hit home.
A very visual reminder for me (everyone knows I'm visual---which is why I have scripture and inspirational quotes EVERYWHERE you look in our home and why I value so greatly cards and notes from encouraging people so much).
I can't sustain my relationship with Him on bits and pieces. I have to feast.
I can't just worship and praise Him when a storm has passed. Yes, that praise is VITAL. Yet, it's the during the storm that has the greatest potential of value.
My kids (and ummm.....their mother!) LOVE to play in the rain. We've been known to just go out and play in it. I think Bradlee's last birthday party ended up being one of his greatest memories because despite the fact that we were having a super soaker water gun party and it decided to DOWNPOUR, we played anyway. I am still a big kid when it comes to mud puddles. I think one of the best reasons God give me boys despite me hesitancy was that they give me an excuse to be messy!
Hearing that reference of worshipping while wet, just reminded me of throwing down the umbrellas. Splashing in the puddles. Not avoiding getting soaked. Not caring what others think about how we look.
Spring is coming. Victory is coming. Answers are just around the corner.
But while waiting....
I'm going to find more ways to toss out the umbrella. I'm going to huddle under the safety of the garage much less.
I'm going to worship Him. While I'm waiting. While I'm seeking. In the middle of the storm.
However, if you drive by in a few weeks (ok---realistically a few months for those of us that aren't in the south!), and you see a crazy woman jumping in puddles and dancing around....please....please....just look the other way. Deal?