Having been raised in the Midwest, winter has always meant snow, ice and freezing temperatures.
Wintry weather is a way of life and I’ve learned to just push through it from year to year.
But it wasn’t always that way…
At one point in my life, I had the opportunity to live in South Florida for a short time. This meant daily access to the Atlantic Ocean, 350 days of sunshine, and wearing flip-flops all-year-round. But what surprised me most about my season in the south was how much I actually missed winter.
And that realization impacted my faith in unimaginable ways.
We currently find ourselves in the season of Lent. The word “Lent” comes from the Old Saxon word “lengten,” – which means “spring.” In spring, we anticipate new beginnings and begin to feel a new sense of possibility, especially for those who have experienced a harsh winter.
But what would happen if spring never came?
Until I moved away from winter, I never knew how much I enjoyed the cycle of the seasons, especially from winter to spring. When I was living in an oceanside paradise, I actually found myself missing the way everything dies during winter.
I know that might sound fairly morbid – but when winter comes, the grass dies, the flowers fade away…
And in that season of death is when I find myself longing for the colors and warmth of spring. Longing for change.
In the same way that the death of winter brings the new life of spring, the Lenten season can bring new life within the believer. During Lent, you can find yourself in the perils of spiritual darkness or a season of death, yet move toward Easter with newfound hope.
Lent helps us turn our focus to Him in a renewed way for the spiritual intimacy that our hearts are longing for.
I write this in a season where I have struggled to take the time with God that I desperately need, which has left me often empty and weary. I could blame the winter because it’s been a rough one where I live.
I could talk about being busy at work or parenting three teenage daughters (pray for me!)
But the reality is that it doesn’t matter why I need renewal, what matters is that it’s being offered to me, right here, right now.
When I think back to the start of my journey with Jesus, I know that the process of renewal only begins there. The book of Romans tells us that God has determined that those who are spiritually reborn will also be conformed to the image of his Son. The renewal He brings is continual. He transforms our hearts again and again.
Lent serves as a reminder that the transformation God has started in us – He will continue.
This season screams out the words of Isaiah 43:19;
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
God is doing a new thing in you. He is inviting you to grab hold of renewal during this season.
Whether you have “given something up for Lent” or not, He is fixing your gaze toward Easter, toward the culmination of the Lenten season, where we will fix our eyes on the glory on the cross and the victory of the empty tomb.
I encourage you to grab hold of one of these helpful resources below and make it a goal to create meaningful moments with Jesus. Be intentional. Grab hold of this new thing He is doing and let His Spirit bring the renewal you long for.
Winter has caused me to spend more time indoors than I care for, but as spring makes its appearance I want to be outside to experience it at every turn.
I would never choose to remain inside and miss the warmth and beauty to be explored.
In the same way, if we want to experience the renewal that Jesus is offering us in these last weeks of Lent, let us focus not just on our self-denial, but on the beauty that our Savior wants to bring into our lives.
All we have to do is open the door.