Some flowers do well when I cut them into bunches and bring them inside. They stay fresh for weeks, keep their color; seemingly as happy in a mason jar full of water as they were outside in the warm soil. Spearmint cuttings will even grow root systems in a glass of water, indoors, after about two weeks. Then you can plant them as baby starter mints, or give them as gifts to your friends.
But other flowers seem to lose their color within minutes, like chicory, a light blue bud that grows in the surviving patches of Iowa prairie along the highway. The other day I asked Evan to pull the car over so I could jump out and grab a stem of that stunning blue. He said yes, as he always does when I randomly squeal over ditch flowers, and I ran across the highway to grab some.
But within ten minutes of living in a vase on my dining room table, the chicory lost its color and turned pale gray. Rather than seeming sad, it felt more like a protest, as if the flower was saying: “I am wild, don’t you know? I do not belong here, in this glass or this air-conditioned house. I am meant to grow free under the sun, among the rustle and tangle of weeds.”
I am already worried about winter. The snow here is beautiful, but it covers all the living things and presses down on them until spring. I wish my happiness didn’t rise and fall with the sun, but it seems to, and I struggle more with depression on dark, cold days, when I cannot walk among the flowers or feel the crunch of leaves under my feet. The chicory turns gray, my garden freezes, and branches snap.
Winter faith is the hardest faith; believing that the cold is just a season. I have shivered a hundred times these past few years, watching those who claimed Jesus was worth it, turn around, and run in the opposite direction. It knocks the breath out of my lungs every time. And I get weary. But I know our weariness does not diminish God’s promises. When I fade, He remains faithful. Do you believe this?
Believe it for me on cold days, and I will believe it for you today. Let’s create a winter coat big enough for the aching soul of the Body of Christ, the Family of God. Together we will stay warm, and remind one another that spring will come again. That Jesus will return to make all things new, all things new. Until then, you can find me standing in my kitchen, arms full of fresh flowers, ushering in the kingdom of God.
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