If you were to ask me what my favorite season is, most of the time I would say Fall. There is just something about the deep rich hues of Autumn colors that soothes my soul. Spring comes in a very close second. There is nothing more beautiful than new life after a winter void of color and depth. As I have walked through life, I have noticed that we also can experience seasons. There are times when I feel fresh and alive and brimming with color. There are other times when I feel cold, lifeless and bare. It is in those time that I find I need to cling to God the most.
In September, I walked through one of the hardest things in my life: I had to bury my sweet father. Even though he had a myriad of health issues, and had been declining, his death still came as a shock. He had been in the hospital for over 2 weeks. While there, he had fallen 4 different times. They released him to a nursing home here in Valdosta for rehabilitation. The plan was for him to remain in the nursing home for 3 weeks. Then, I would move him back home with me. I already had plans to build a wheel chair ramp. Shelby and I drove to Gainesville to pick up his car because the VA was going to transport him by Van to the nursing home. We got there an hour after his scheduled departure time. But the van driver was running behind. Therefore, Shelby and I got to see him and hug him. I am so thankful the Lord worked that out. I didn't know it at the time, but that would be the last time I would hug him and kiss his cheek.
The day he was released from the hospital, he died. We were in the hallway at the nursing home about to check him in. He had just fallen and we got him back on his scooter. He said he felt funny, then his head fell back and he just died. Right there in front of me, his life slipped away. I fell apart. I was not ready. It completely caught me off guard. It was just too soon. I wanted him at home with me. I don't think I ever felt more alone and more devastated than I did sitting on that hallway floor while nursing home attendants scurried back and forth trying to get help for my daddy. The next few days were a blur. I was numb. I know it was the prayers of my sweet friends, coworkers and family that got me through that week.
As I've walked through these past few months, there are times the pain of his loss is so intense, I hurt. But, I have learned during those times of intense suffering to cry out to God. It may sound silly to you, but I found when I do not know what else to do, I just praise Him. I thank Him for the things He has done. I praise Him for promising to never leave me or forsake me. I thank Him for loving me with an "everlasting love".
Dealing with daddy's death is not the only thing I've had to endure during this barren winter. We've had to deal with some financial hardships, loss of relationships and more. Then in January, my only child, Shelby, had a wreck. It totaled my nearly new car. Someone hit her, causing the car to flip. She was suspended upside down. She walked away from that accident with only bruises from the seat belt. A miracle. The next day as I was looking at my totaled car, I can not explain the gratitude I felt that I was only looking at a broken car and not planning another funeral.
Through all of these things I've had to walk through, the one thing I have learned to do is rest in God. See, that is where the winter comes in. Winter is not a time of death, but a time of rest. Those barren trees may not look pretty on the outside, but on the inside, life is going on as usual. It is just dormant. It is resting. It is preparing for a time of beauty and vibrancy. When it is time, those barren limbs and fields will begin to blossom and bloom. So it is with this season of my life. Right now, I am resting. I am barren and lifeless on the outside. But on the inside, God is moving. He is preparing me for a season of beauty and blossoms. I can sense the work He is doing on the inside of me. And like those trees just before the first new shoots of green spring forth, I am waiting in expectation for the beauty God will rain down on my life.