I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but my family rents a house here in North Carolina. It’s a house that in spite the beautiful weather we’ve had the past few days, has remained pretty chilly inside. Today, with the cooler temperatures, it feels even chillier to me. So, it’s a day for a fire. Something we haven’t had for almost two weeks now.

Mind you, I don’t mind having a fire. I like the popping and crackling of the wood as a backdrop to my day, as I play with my girls. I like the cozy feeling it fills me with and the way the flames dance beneath and between the logs. I like a glass of red wine at the end of the day and staring into the hypnotic, changing colors.

But I’ve been spoiled by warm temperatures recently. We’ve spent good amounts of time outside, soaking up the sun and the teasing of spring in the air. The girls have run and jumped and played. Spring changes things as it shoos away the stuffiness of days too long inside. Spring welcomes and renews.

However, it is not spring yet. And the chilly air reminds me of that today. So, a fire it will be.

Of course, in order to get a fire going, I need to collect some kindling. Given that our rental house backs up to some woods, finding sticks and broken branches to serve as kindling is not too much of a challenge. So, box in hand, I head out the front door to collect some wood, and oh, the irony that greets me.

It’s cold. That kind of cold that causes your muscles to tense up and your arms to creep inside your sleeves.

It’s damp. That kind of dampness that seeps into your bones and causes you to shiver from the inside.

It’s gray. That kind of gray that inspires a yearning for sun and warm days and spring.

But there it is. The familiar sign that spring is coming: the first cluster of daffodils with blooms bursting forth as yellow as the summer sun.

first sign of spring
first sign of spring

It may not be here, but here is its reminder, its promise, that it is coming. A promise that winter doesn’t last forever even if it seems like it will. A promise of colors and sunshine and time outdoors. A promise of change.

A promise of all things being made new.

I can see it in the small sprouts of grass pushing through the otherwise brown lawn and in the tiny buds forming on the shrubs outside the door. Buds so small that if you don’t look for them, you don’t see them. But there they are.

Spring is coming.

Change is coming.

Sometimes I have doubts about what God is doing in my life. And then, he gives me the gift of spring in my life. He gives me renewal. He gives me the opportunity to change. To grow.

That’s what those daffodils tell me today.

God is still the creator. He still paints the canvas of this world with his goodness and his beauty and his love. But sometimes, his message is like the tiny buds on the shrubs just outside our doors. If we don’t look for it, we won’t see it.

Maybe that’s why he also provides the daffodils. So we won’t miss his message. Because he knows we might. He knows that we are always doing and planning and rushing. He knows us.

So he puts a splash of color in the midst of the overcast grayness of the day and says, I Am still here. I AM. I Am here in the winter and I Am here to usher in the spring.

He is here to usher in the change we need just when we need it. Just when we think we’ve had as much as we can bear. Just when we think things will never change. God whispers. He ushers in the color and the sun and the beauty.

He ushers in hope.

Spring is a season of hope, isn’t it?

God is a God of hope, isn’t he?

Just when we need it, it’s there. He’s there. Just outside our door.

Won’t you join me as I walk out the door and embrace the hope that awaits us there?

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