Call me optimistic. Persistent. Unrealistic. Dreamer. But I learned as a writer to discover God’s encouragement in the most ordinary places–like a surprise of Springtime in Winter. In a moment, I’ll take you to my back yard and explain what I mean.
Where Are You?
Are you waiting for your next novel to gel? Has writer’s block stolen your creativity? Are your file folders filling up with more rejections than sales? And whether you’re a writer or not, has the economy or some other unforeseen circumstance left you holding empty dreams?
Facebook has changed. The publishing field has changed. The market and job economy have changed. And the seasons are always changing.
Perhaps the pre-winter doldrums have hit you like a northeastern snowstorm. For those of you who live up north and northeast, winter has already left its frigid mark much too early.
It’s not winter here yet, though recent cool night temperatures did necessitate my dressing a couple of plants in their warm sheet covers temporarily. But springtime left a loooooooong time ago, ushering in a 5-month drought. It was so bad the blue jays were trying to catch the leaky water faucet drips outside to keep hydrated.
God’s Encouragement – Backyard Surprises
Okay, follow me to my backyard. My one-year-old potted fig tree already produced a record 8 figs early last Spring. And my potted gardenia plant boasted over 60 new blossoms–all before the drought hit.
Then came Summer and Fall. In spite of frequent watering, the drought claimed my gardenia. We lopped off half of its dead branches. I’ve nursed that plant for almost 15 years! And the fate of the fig tree? For all I knew, it might face a future like the one Jesus cursed in Mark 11:12-14. I could only hope.
Enter God’s little surprises. You gotta love ’em. But you also have to look, or you’ll miss them.
Today I ventured out to my porch swing, coffee in hand, on a chilly morning. To my right I noticed a spot of white among the few remaining gardenia branches. So I checked it out. No way! A brand new, Springtime-in-Winter gardenia was blooming. And a bunch more blooms were headed in the same direction.
I took a quick peek at the fig tree, and that’s when I really got excited. Five tiny new figs had sprouted!
So what, you say? What does that mean? Maybe whatever you need. For me, it provided the encouragement for writing today’s blog. And a divine nod to keep watching for more of God’s little “visual lessons.”
Funny. It finally rained a week or so ago–no more than an inch total. But a little water goes a long way when God sends it. And His creation recognizes the difference in man’s efforts, and God’s heavenly showers. My plants sure noticed the difference.
God’s Encouragement – God Makes a Way
Even in a bad economy (and a bad season), God makes a way. Maybe not the path you thought. But He’ll show up in the most unusual ways. You’ll write again. You’ll dream again. You’ll trust again. And maybe, just maybe you’ll see in those everyday, yet extraordinary, personalized ways that God is so good at…maybe you’ll see a touch of Springtime in Winter–His plan, not yours. One that He knew about all along.
The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. (Isaiah 58:11, NLT).
What about you? What surprises or visual lessons has God shown you lately? How has God’s encouragement blessed you?