My soul had been weary for many months last year, and it took a while to come back to life. I didn’t force it to be productive. I didn’t push it until it bent to my will. I simply sat in the winter of my soul. I didn’t try to melt the ice, till the soil, or plant a garden while the ground was frozen. I hunkered down, settled in, brought a blanket and waited for the thaw to come.
It is hard to steward our soul’s seasons well when they don’t coincide with the earth’s seasons. It’s understandable and almost expected to become depressed in winter (at least a little bit), with the shorter days, colder temperatures keeping you inside, and poor weather keeping you isolated from friends and family. But we all cling to the hope of spring and summer through those long winter months and short sunlit days. So when our depression and anxiety cease to lift once the earth outside thaws and turns green, it can be extremely disheartening. That is where I found myself last spring.
At first, I tried to pull up my bootstraps and hustle out of the darkness. I thought that if I worked hard, laughed, and prayed enough, the fog would clear, and I’d be able to run full steam ahead into the glorious spring awaiting me. Instead, my soul sunk deeper into itself, shrinking away from my veracious attempts to bring myself back to who I was before. The thing is, though, that who I was before didn’t exist anymore. She had been planted in the fall and was now growing, stretching, and slowly pushing her way to the surface. She wasn’t being reborn; she was becoming. But the process of becoming was much more complex than I had ever imagined and brought with it many more challenges than I thought I could face. Like a caterpillar that had turned into a butterfly, I couldn’t force myself to back into the form of who I was before. And it wasn’t until I accepted that that I saw the Lord’s gentle hand holding mine.
It wasn’t magical; it wasn’t something you’d hear about on the radio or a talk show. It’ll never make the newspapers or the front of any magazine. But the slow and insistent change that’s been happening inside of my heart is profound…if only for me.
I’ve welcomed this new form of Katherina with open arms, and have made room for her with kitten cuddles and late-night dance parties. With midnight tears and falling asleep on the phone. With warm cups of tea and the open hearts of friends. With sunrises watched from the comfort of bed and sunsets viewed between the ears of a horse. It has been a slow journey, and I know it’s not over yet. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past months, it’s that slow and steady is better than fast and erratic. The Lord’s timeline truly is different from our own, and the seasons he guides us through vary in length but never in outcome. They are always for our good and his glory. Always. Forever and ever, amen.