Today we’ve received yet another batch of snow. Now it isn’t one of the big ones, mind you. But about this point in the game, it’s snow nonetheless. The topic of the weather around here is huge. It’s one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record for our neck of the woods. In fact no state has more snow and ice per square mile currently than our state. And it has been cold, so very cold. So about this point, everyone here is just a little weary of more fluffy, cold, white stuff. The first few snows are beautiful. But with such bitter cold temperatures, the snow has gotten icy. You can walk a few steps on top of the couple of feet that are still on the ground and then suddenly, the crusty top gives way and you find yourself with snow up to your thighs.
Now here in Michigan down in the cities, the snow on the side of the road turns an ugly grey and speckled black. It’s not very pretty. But up here in the hills, on the back roads, it’s a consistent white. With two ice storms throughout this winter season so far, trees in our pretty woods are broken with their light blond, bare soft wood showing through. And as I look across the snow toward those woods, I see dotted dark brown blobs on the top of the snow. You might wonder what these brown blobs are from a distance. With no pattern to it and with some areas heavily dotted and others bare, from the windows you would probably not identify it quickly. But you have only to meet our three big Labradors to have the light bulb go off.
I’ve wanted to head out and clean up after them, but the bitter cold temperatures and below zero wind chills find me putting it off, day after day. I’m praying a sunny warm day comes quickly before the multitude of blobs sink beneath yet another layer of fresh snow. If I wait till true spring comes, what a mess there will be. But if I can catch it layer by layer, I might have a chance of staying on top of it.
Last weekend, I was blessed to escape the miserable cold and head to Houston, TX, for a fabulous “Women of Faith” conference. The weather was warm and sunny. My friend and I worked on our Bible study by the sun around the hotel pool. We walked a lot the first day, soaking up the warm air and getting some much needed outdoor exercise. I felt relieved of my winter coat and gloves, my scarf and the two pair of socks I normally wear to keep my feet warm. Just shedding those layers of clothing is freeing and movement was easy and comfortable.
Layers. More layers than I cared to think about seemed to fill my head that weekend. Just as the snow covers our dogs’ poop, layer by layer, so you don’t see the cumulative amount and just as the multiple layers of clothing cover me so you don’t see the shivering human inside…life tends to brings layers of experiences that eventually cover over the person we once were. During the conference, I had opportunity to look back over the layers that culminate in my life, to this point. I realized that eventually spring comes. And all will be seen for what it is. Slowly, the layers are peeled back and we are seen for who we are. Under all the layers, the original person and all the experiences have either shrunk us under the weight, or grown us up because of it. I’m not one for major personal revelations or serious deep feelings. In fact, I shy away from that often. But there was no escaping last weekend. The Lord really chose that moment to peel back much of what covered me. And hard and difficult as the process seemed, as unexpected as the depth of the feelings were…there I was…me for who I was, and who I’ve become. Truth be told, it was difficult to experience feeling to that extent. But I also realized, that when the layers are removed, one thing still remains covering over it all. It’s almost see-through really. Right over the original is a layer of love and grace from my Maker. So the original looks a bit better than I remember! I thank God for the message of the weekend. Like me without all my winter garb, I walk a little freer, a little easier, lighter than before. Seeing who I am for who I am, but grateful for the covering that is so close to my original, I can almost see through it. It’s an amazing God we have! I had no idea that’s where the weekend was going. But what a relief! Spring isn’t to be feared, it’s to be welcomed! Peeling back the layers might be difficult, but the lighter version of ourselves is so much easier to move around. Now, I don’t think that works exactly the same in my backyard. I’m sure spring will find us many more brown blobs than anticipated. But once it’s all cleaned up….the green grass will move freely in the sun and the wind, both beautiful and welcome. Any layers you need to peel back? Get down to the grace of the Master and be free! Go on!
John 10:10 “…..but I have come that they may have life and that they might have it more abundantly…” Amen!