Once a month, on the third Tuesday, you can stop here and gain some wisdom from a featured writer. Today, I am welcoming Joanne Viola to share her story. The beautiful part of this process is the chance you all have to get to know the featured writer on a deeper level as well as to see Jesus in new ways. Join me in welcoming Joanne …
The tree sits on our boundary line. We didn’t even know it was there until our neighbor began moving our stone wall. Suddenly, it was there and had my attention.
It was small, frail looking if I had to describe it. I had my doubts if it even was a tree. It’s smallness tugged at my heart and I desired to “save it”, protect it, so as to see how it would grow.
It’s been several years now and the tree still demands my focus. Each time I go in and out of the driveway, my eyes are drawn to look in its direction and smile at its growth.
Winter. The dictionary defines it as “the cold season” and “cold weather”. But it’s more than this …
Winter. Just saying the word makes a whistling sound much like the sound of the wind blowing through the trees on our woods.
Winter speaks to me of bare trees, icy patches, cold temps, soft falling snow, and a stillness.
It may be my favorite season, truth be known. The darkness settles in earlier, inviting me to light a candle and get comfortable under a warm blanket. Warm tea often fills my insides as well as soups and stews.
Winter draws me into deeper thought as the snow falls and deepens over time. And winter draws me to the tree and I am amazed once again.
The tree holds onto its leaves, which turned fully brown during autumn. They will drop slowly over the course of the winter, often hanging on until the new buds finally push the brown leaves off its branches.
There in the middle of winter, in the short and colder days, the little tree begins to bring its message to my soul:
- We can hold onto the promises of God.Though the winds blow and the snow falls, the leaves hold on. “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise” (Hebrews 10:23, NLT). It would surely be easier to let go, give in and move on but the leaves remain, doing the hard thing. They stay in the harsh weather, finding strength and comfort knowing they are not alone. They remind me to hold on because God is faithful to His promises. Hard seasons, much like winter, do not last forever.
- Spring will bring new life.As the winter moves on, the leaves will begin to drop, a few at a time until the tree is bare. But the dropping only signifies new growth will soon come. There is new life coming forth as the trunk comes to life after its dormant rest. “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19, NLT).
In the cold and dark of winter, God’s promises and love breaks through, warming our hearts. We need not let the harshness harden our hearts, much the way the deep freeze ices and hardens the earth.
In the middle of winter, even when it is coldest, the sun shines reminding us these days will pass.
In the dead of winter, when all is asleep, God is ever at work and He is making all things new again. When all is dark and bleak, He causes the sun to shine and bring warmth and growth.
In the middle of winter, He reminds us to hold onto His promises,
for spring will surely come!
Joanne’s words blessed me today. The willingness to share and point us back to Jesus is what makes this community the blessing that it is.
May we all find ourselves willing to share Jesus in a way that shines a light on Him in all we do.
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