When I saw the little snowflake icon on my phone for Tuesday and Wednesday, I just about ran screaming up Pike’s Peak.
I know that sounds dramatic. And yeah, the longtime locals ’round here will say, “That’s just Colorado!” And they’d be right. Still, I was heartsick that a freeze this early could end our fall season before it even began. But then I thought of how the entire West seems to be on fire, including parts of Colorado, and I realized that other folks have a lot more to lose than colorful leaves. “This is actually a very good thing for all the wildfires across Colorado,” I said to myself. And that is true. From what I’ve read, our winter storms have helped diminish the fires. So, in the end, the snow was worth it.
Still, before the storms blanketed and descended, I felt sad about it as I envisioned too-early snow piling on a too difficult year, a year where hardships have come early and stayed late for many of us.
As I thought about all of this, I realized that feeling had a more specific name that kept trying to rise up within me: dread. I dread the other shoe dropping. I dread the email with potentially bad news. I dread the stories I hear that point to more death, destruction, and division.
These last couple weeks, that feeling of dread has been knocking into me somethin’ fierce. I told all this to my husband last weekend, and he responded, with all the calm levelheadedness of an INTJ enneagram 5, “Baby, I know it’s hard, but we need to keep our eyes on God’s faithfulness, not our problems.” Later that morning, we went to church where our Pastor, Mark Bates, gave a whole sermon on the exact same topic. Because writing helps me process, I scribbled sermon notes like my life depended on it (in some ways, it did).
After that sermon, I knew I faced an important redirection-reminder to not only believe in God, but believe God.
” Faith in many a one falters when the apprehensions come; they forget the meaning of God’s say-so, forget to take a deep breath spiritually. the only way to get the dread taken out of us is to listen to God’s say-so.” ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
As more difficult change piled on these last few weeks, I forgot God’s say-so. I forgot that when dread tries to rise up, I tear it down by remembering God’s say-so.
If you’re weary of piled on change and its accompanying truckload of dread, know it’s okay to take care of yourself. It’s okay to take a nap. Eat dark chocolate. Watch Netflix. Take a walk. Order food to-go. Stare out the window. Heck, my daughter and I are currently taking ourselves through a second round of Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and I run on the treadmill these days (something I usually don’t like) as if I’m being chased. But also sit your hind-end down in the Word and meditate on a single Bible verse or several of them. Ask your friend to pray for a specific detail of what you’re going through. Do one thing that puts you in the path of God’s say-so. Because when we do this, we land on His truth that says Hope always, always gets the last word.
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 MSG)
And as you wait for what you hope for to be what is, know you’re growing in grit and resilience. Eventually, the gain from what you’re going through will outdo the pain. Everything may feel tender to the touch these days, but your roots are reaching and stretching and giving you greater ability to withstand your own stormy circumstances. They are growing perseverance and growing your ability to bloom better and stronger.
Wait for it.
One day you’ll be able to see it: New life growing from under the snow. And for today, take that deep breath spiritually and remember God’s say-so.