Sometimes it feels like things will never change.
Whether it is a winter that will never end, a child that will never grow up, or a circumstance that will never be different, we are comforted to be reminded from time to time that our perspective is faulty–– and that hope is on the way. That is ultimately what Lent prepares us for as we wait for the celebration of the resurrection of our risen Savior. The waiting is hard as we bear the wilderness, the temptation, the struggle, the betrayal, the abandoning, or the denial. At times it feels hopeless––like the pain will never end and change is impossible. And then out of nowhere when nobody expects it––while everyone is looking the other way––Jesus rises from the grave to bring the hope and salvation we so desperately desire.
This past winter has been tough. I don’t know how many snow records we set this winter, but it was a lot. In an article entitled “February 2019 Set Many Records for Snowfall,” the National Weather Service reports that
numerous snowfall records were broken in February. By February 12th, Eau Claire had already broken the record for the snowiest February, and they continued to demolish the record total with each additional storm. On February 20th, the Twin Cities and St. Cloud also broke their February snowfall record and added several more inches to the total through the remainder of the month.
At times it felt like the snow would never stop and that winter would never end. It seemed like one snow storm after another, and we moved from one shoveling-out to the next. In the midst of winter, it can be overwhelming if we don’t remember that these times don’t last forever. It’s in those times when we must search for shades of light and glimpses of hope. And when we do, we will find that, yet again, spring has sprung, and April has again brought the melting of snow––even to our own amazement.
Sometimes parenting can feel like winter, too. Things seem to be going along pretty well, and then the storm comes. There is a tantrum at the grocery store, a note from the teacher, a call from the principal, a note in the pocket, or, for older kids, a decoded text message––worrisome events that tell us that we are in difficult territory and in challenging circumstances. Just recently, I was in a local store when I overheard a young boy breaking down over a toy that he wanted. He screamed at the top of his lungs, “But Mommy, I want it!” To my dismay, which was shared by all who were within hearing distance, the boy continued to cry and scream for some time. We have all been there, and this mom did as well as any other as she reasoned and ignored her son’s desperate plea to get his own way. Those times are uncomfortable, embarrassing, and challenging, but if we will remember that this is not the end of the story and only part of the process, it will help us parent with the proper perspective and hope that the future will be different and bring change. When we are in the middle of challenging circumstances, the worst thing that we can do is to lose hope and give up. Instead, hope prompts us to regroup, reevaluate, get help, focus our attention, and pray for God’s help.
But what happens when we regroup and get help and pray, and it doesn’t seem to be making a difference and circumstances don’t seem to change? That’s when faith and patience come in. That’s when we remember those long winters that felt like they were never going to end. We remember that the snow did, eventually, melt. We remember those lent journeys when it felt like difficulties would never stop, yet we do, after all, celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus once again.
No matter what difficulty you may be facing or what challenges may arise, take solace in the reminder of the birds that are singing, the grass that is growing, and the flowers that are blooming. Let these be tangible reminders to you after this long winter that hope springs eternal.
There is no circumstance in this life that has not been overcome by the risen Savior. Practice patience, prayer, and hope, and know that He will help you to overcome in your journey as well.
During this Holy Week, we are reminded how very desperately we––and the entire world––need the hope that the risen Savior brings to it. What a gift it is to share that hope with your children, for it is an anchor for their souls. Blessed Holy Week and joyful Easter, RCLS! Christ is risen!