This morning I was reading in Proverbs 13 and read, once again, a verse that has been a heart cry to me for years…

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree a life.  (Proverbs 13:12)

I remember many years ago weeping over that verse as I wondered if the longings of my heart would ever be fulfilled. Today, as  I read that verse, I was overwhelmed with reminders of God’s goodness to me in the past, and yes, today.

I suppose my silence on this blog has been mostly due to not really knowing what to say. This past winter has been a time, when, as the Psalmist wrote, “All Thy waves and Thy breakers are come over me…” Hopelessness has knocked on my door more times than I can count, and I have had to slam the door in its face and say over and over, “No, I will not give up – I will NOT!”

Easier said than done. Yet, in the past few weeks there have been amazing breakthroughs. Like the melting of winter snow and the slow coming of spring. Spring in Michigan is not like spring in Israel. In Israel, all it takes is a bit of rain, and the riot of color is sudden. Poppies, calaniot, and trees become a riot of red, blue, purple, orange, and green. But in Michigan, spring is slower. Snow and frost can take you by surprise when least expected. I had forgotten about Magnolia trees that flower first, and then bring out leaves. I had forgotten about crocusses and daffodils daring to risk the chill air before spring is truly here. I had forgotten that the trees are barren, barren, barren. No leaf, seemingly no life, and all is stark and bear, and hopeless.

Even when the first buds appear on the trees, you are not quite sure to believe it or not. They are so subtle. The thing is, that once they do appear, large enough to see from more than close-up, their growth can not be stopped. Suddenly spring rushes in, depsite late frost. But it takes at least two weeks before you can say the leaves are out. Those two weeks are full of hints of what will be, as are the sprouting crocuses and daffodils. But after so much snow… it is still hard to believe. Faith and hope wrestle with memories of barren stark icy cold.

I think that has been my state for the past few weeks. There have been indications that things are changing, but I’ve been so afraid to say, “Yes, they are changing, things ARE better.” For fear that the progress would be ripped from my hands leaving me more forlorn than before. Time to let go of childish things… time to say, “Yes, and Hallelujah.” Perhaps I understand “doubting” Thomas all too well. I wonder if perhaps we have misnamed him. Perhaps it was not doubt that tore at him, but fear, fear to let the joy of hope swell through his being and then be shattered by an illusion.

I now have three concurrent contract jobs, all of which I can do at home. This morning I got a call from a company here in Michigan that wants my help for an installation manual. But for me, that is the leaves sprouting… perhaps the nicest thing has been that there is also a thaw in the attitudes of my step-daughters. I’m watching our oldest grow and mature, in the Lord, and in relating with me in a healthy and fun manner. I am watching our youngest struggle, but every now and then when she is not aware I’m looking, I see her smile at something I say or do. We are family, and the word family has such a strange taste in my mouth… I am not yet used to the flavor, but I know, despite the struggles and heartaches, I like it.

We are still waiting for news about Rich’s disability application. He still has up and down days… but I remain thankful for God bringing him into my life. I remember, during my single days, looking at myself, and realizing that there were areas of my life that needed to change. I felt helpless, because I knew they were there, but did not know how to face them. Being married has been making see myself in a whole new way… and opened my eyes to those things that I knew were there, but had no reason to face.

Pruning.

Autumn is the time for pruning, here in Michigan. And so the Lord pruned me when I was laid off in October. Now, my prayer is, “O Lord, help me to be faithful to You, and thank you. Thank you for renewed hope, answers to prayer, and for your goodness which is new every morning. Truly, great is your faithfulness.”