Over the woodlands brown and bare, Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I have learned to appreciate a good snow fall. I grew up in the Bay Area of California, so my understanding of seasonal weather conditions is severely jaded. When my husband and I moved to Ohio for three years, my lack of experience with climate extremes became strikingly apparent. I was blissfully unaware that there were so many diverse forms water can take as it falls, that trees may get so encased with ice they fracture from the weight, or that every wintery blue moon, it gets so cold that a once-bustling city can give the impression that it has been frozen.
A civilization covered in layers of white and stillness. Here, I find an earthly picture of the quiet spirit I long for. Instead of highways buzzing, to-do list conquering, and my mind racing, I hear God speak softly because all other voices have been swept away by winter’s kiss. When ice and snow blanket thick across the cityscape, people tuck indoors in search of warmth and forgotten hopes of a world at rest awaken. We stop. We breathe. We begin to see more clearly that the hurried life is not what we were designed for. Humanity in its beautiful diversity forgets that a heart can fracture from the weight of living up to expectations, and this, in turn, can leave us feeling frozen.
Rest often feels foolish, even ludicrous to ask for, and amity does not often coexist with forced huddles. My house is full of people requesting presence that is sometimes hard to give, and the demands of the day swallow time. Beyond my close and daily cares lies present day culture where my senses are violently accosted by the demands of a hurting world. The brokenness of society feels too brazen, politics too poisonous, and people are suffering through (or worse, serving) terror. There is much that is troubling to the soul.
It is during these times that I have to fight for peace — real peace, not this fake numbness found behind screens and disguised as my favorite sins. Complacency calls and I find myself convinced that lies I’ve told myself a thousand times are true: I must strive. I can do it. I will justify my existence.
Instead of fleeing to false comfort, I remember that there is a story that looms larger than the horror, and the inner turmoil is met with the hope that this world has been overcome. Peace can still be mine because it is not dependent on me. It was spoken forth by the man who is God, who was once the baby in the manger; who knew that darkness would persistently press in, so He came and offered light.
In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.~ Jesus (John 16:33)
I will remember that it is through Christ, and Christ alone that I have been justified. So today as the temperature drops and human tempers flare, I will find a quiet place. I will remember the times when snow overcomes cities and take heart even when silence cannot be secured. God’s promises will not move. He cannot be shaken. I can be calm in the flurries of noise, I find solace in listening for my Savior, and I will relish in well fought for rest.
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. (Isaiah 30:15)
Without rest, I can’t do. I don’t have the strength to fight for justice or extend mercy when my soul is stretched thin. The “be” and “go” must coexist or only a phantom of who I truly am will be seen in my productivity. A dulled passion of lackluster faith is not the kind of stuff that moves mountains, but a quiescent spirit and dependant heart find the source of true power — the Lord God Almighty who brings peace on Earth.
I can make footprints on icy days not because I do not feel the chill but because within me resides a consuming fire that fears not. I can still move forward when I feel pressured to step back because I am willing to dedicate time to sit with The Savior. I cling to His word that restores my soul and let His spirit quiet me with love.
Chara Donahue loves to talk to women about Jesus, motherhood and discovering the abundant life. She has four kids, a brawny husband, and is a writer/speaker/biblical counselor when time allows. She has an MSEd from Corban University and is the founder of Anchored Voices. You can find her on multiple social media platforms @CharaDonahue.