The Wind in the Trees

Trees

It is March and it’s really windy lately. That’s normal. The last few days have reminded me how much I love hearing the wind in the trees. One day, that sound and sight sparked a memory. I’m never surprised at the kindness of the Lord. But I am always overwhelmed with gratitude by it. The following is a retelling of one of those days. I pray this blesses you.

~~~

I was looking out a window the other day and something about the shape of the trees, the green grass, the sound of the wind, and the blue sky reminded me of my childhood. The view pulled me into a memory that I couldn’t hold on to.

It was like trying to grab a mist or a puff of smoke. Before it surfaced in my mind, it was gone. But the feeling remained. It was a good memory, whatever it was.

Mingled in with it was the bliss of being a daydreaming child. Carefree, loved, taken care of.

I think that moment was a kindness from my Heavenly Father. I was so tired from many compounded adversities of life – worries over loved ones, busy schedule, the weight of sharing the gospel. (I say weight because I do not take it lightly. I love doing it and I respect the importance of it).

Even so, I was weary. More weary than I can describe. I felt battered and bruised in my soul. That’s when I glanced out the window and saw green trees and blue skies, and I felt the breath of the Holy Spirit as He whispered to me, “Remember…”

But I couldn’t remember. I didn’t know what the memory was. I only knew that I had seen something like that view before, and had felt a peace and excitement all mingled together – and I had been happy.

I know now that the memory was not the thing. What the Lord was showing me is that I am a beloved child of the Most High, and He still loves me. I am still a daydreaming child, carefree, loved, and taken care of. I am His child.

Even in the midst of the stuff we deal with in life, I can remember my Lord’s love for me. I can remember that I can always be at rest IN Him. I am IN Christ. Hidden in Christ where I am safe, loved, and at peace.

Our Heavenly Father speaks in soft, gentle ways, and each time we choose to dwell on Him, He opens up more understanding in us so we can receive love from Him. That is what replaces the cares and weariness with a light heart and a rested soul.

I’m so grateful that He cares for me!

Beloved friend, please believe me when I tell you that the Lord loves you the same way. He longs to show you how much. Let Him shower you with that beautiful love – the love that came in the person of Jesus and has already paid for your freedom.

Let Him show you that you too are IN Christ – greatly loved, and completely surrounded with His kindness.

Phyllis Keels

When Winter is Past

Crocus

Photo by Kim Lance (Used by permission. Click image for more of Kim’s work)

Yesterday was the first day since last autumn that I didn’t have to wear a coat to work. Do you know how happy that makes me?? Spring is almost here!

This is what came to my mind just now:

My beloved spoke, and said to me: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” (Song of Solomon 2:10-12, NKJV)

The winter is past… Oh, what beautiful words! Flowers appear, singing has come, and the voice of the dove is heard!

I really don’t like winter. I mean, I really don’t like winter. It’s dark, depressing, and cold. All of these are things I don’t like. There is no green on the land, the sunlight feels weak, and it’s cold (I know I said that already, but cold is painful).

But when springtime is near, it changes our outlook about almost everything. At last, the sunlight feels warm, we feel like singing, and the green appears again. Once more, hope sprouts in our hearts.

There have been times when the Lord has given me “springtime” in the middle of winter. Many times. I go through winter often – grief, adversity, struggles. You probably do too.

Even though I resist going through those times, the Lord does something wonderful in them. He is able to make our roots go deep during winter. He is able to make us rest in Him during winter. He is able to strengthen us during winter.

If we allow Him, if we remember Him, if we rely on Him, He will do it. He waits for us to say, “Yes, Lord. I will trust you through this.”

When we allow Him to give rest, growth, and strength in the valley and then He brings us out, the greenery and flowers that come in springtime are healthier and brighter than they would have been otherwise. The singing is lovelier and the voice of the dove is more peaceful and comforting.

I can say all this because winter is over. It begins to make sense once we come out of the darkness, doesn’t it? When we are in the dark valley, all we can see is our grief. But the Lord is able to help us see something else during that time – He is able to help us see Him.

When we see Him in the winter with us, we can rest, we can stretch our roots, we can allow Him to strengthen us. Then, my dear friend, when the winter is over and springtime has come, our rejoicing is even greater, even sweeter, even brighter.

All we have to do is to say, “Yes.”

Praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus! For He has brought us through the cold winter and into the glorious light of His eternal springtime!

Phyllis Keels

Dancing in the Sunshine

Snow Barn

Photo by Kim Lance (used by permission)

Okay, I’m ready for spring now. We’ve passed Christmas, New Year’s Day and all that. We’ve had snow. Winter should be over now, right?

Yes, except now we go through February…

How can February be the shortest month and feel like the longest? It must be at least 68 days long, right?

BUT! The days are getting longer! We are inching our way toward springtime!

Sure, I know I wouldn’t appreciate springtime if we didn’t have winter. That doesn’t make me like winter though. Some things are necessary. It doesn’t mean they are pleasant.

Yet, even in those things we don’t like, those things we even find painful, there is beauty, there is meaning.

I really don’t like to be cold. It hurts me. I don’t like a lack of sunshine. It makes me sad. I miss the green of the grass and trees. That makes me almost morose.

But there is a quiet beauty in winter, especially when it snows. The noise of this world is muffled by the pure, white blanket over the earth. The drab gray of the barren landscape becomes bright and clean. And when the sun shines on fresh snow, it looks like diamonds.

A good snow can bring about time for us to rest and think. Two things I really love doing.

“To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1) Solomon wrote that. I know he was right, and no matter how something feels, the truth is that the Lord has good in it for us if we want it.

Anyway, why waste time complaining about anything, and miss the beauty of now? Sometimes that spot of beauty in the midst of hardship is even lovelier than it would have been in the midst of easy going.

I am glad the Lord is so gentle with me. He, ever so sweetly, leads me to moment after moment of beauty, to another ray of warming sunlight.

My Heavenly Father never ceases to delight me. That’s because He never stops caring for this little girl at heart, who is always, always, happy when dancing in the sunshine of His smile.

Phyllis Keels