beauty in winter

// on enduring winter seasons and seeing the beauty through the lens of the God who created them all //

Back to the spot where we got married, almost three years ago. Looks quite different in a different season. Looks quite different after a large fire had passed through the area, after a big stormy rain, and after months of enduring the effects of winter.

Makes me think of marriage…

“We’ve been through some heavy stuff in our marriage,” Clay said to me that night as he hugged me tightly. I nodded as tears filled my eyes.

We’ve endured my battle with chronic pain and associated depression, we’ve endured a long interim season in regard to Clay’s job, we’ve endured the loss of our first pregnancy — twin babies. And so much more. In just less than three years.

When I stood under that oak tree and said I do, I never imagined we would endure so much. And yet what we have done is just that — endured. Stood the test. Weathered the storm. Just like this oak tree…

Our pastor surprised us with a passage from Isaiah 61 on our wedding day. It began with “the spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me” — the very word I’d awoken with in the middle of the night that night we’d gotten engaged. He went on to finish with “and you will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.”

Because we have been planted by the God who equips us with the same Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead {Romans 8:11}, we can endure all things. We will endure all things. No matter what other storms or trials come our way, we will endure — because we have been firmly rooted in Him.

And I can say with bold confidence that I know our winter seasons will always turn to spring. And we will flourish beauty once again. And yet even as I look at this photo — this darker, more stark version of the version from spring — there is a beauty in it. There is such beauty even in winter. It’s a different kind of beauty, but it’s beauty all the same.⠀⠀

That’s the gift we have in all seasons when we place our lives in the hand of the God who made them all. I can’t imagine doing this life — this hard, beautiful, unexpected, crazy life — with anyone but this man who persistently and tirelessly bestows grace after grace upon me, picks me up when I am weak and turns my eyes to gaze upon the Creator of all this beauty. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of this man and this marriage — and for all the fires and storms… for under the canopy of Your love they are beaming displays of Your splendor.

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