I am a North Dakota girl. I love the open prairie and endless blue sky. I love the little pockets of history waiting at the end of every country road, and magical little hollows full of wildflowers and memories hidden in every cow pasture. I'm even a little attached to the people - especially those born and bred country - who love living five miles from their nearest neighbor and pride themselves on being able to survive blizzards in October and freezing wind chill all winter.
Speaking of winter...
Watching the last autumn leaf fall and grey clouds beginning to creep across the prairie, it can be daunting looking forward to "what comes next". Cold, dark mornings. Short overcast days. Snow drifts that tower above my head...
It's enough to leave one curled in a shivering ball underneath the nearest blanket, crying because I may never see the sun again. (Overly dramatic? Sorry... I am a writer)
On the other hand, I've never been one to back down from a challenge, and there is Christmas. (It's the most wonderful time of the year!)
In the same way that I love and dread winter all in one breath, it's easy to do the same with life. How do I enjoy looking forward to "what comes next" when I can't see the big picture or even the next step? Am I doing the right thing? What if I don't make the right choice? If only I hadn't... maybe I should've... do you think I could've...
Thoughts like these have more than once left me ready to give it all up and stay hidden under the bedcovers forever.
This year, as I watch snowflakes drift from the sky and flutter to the ground, I realize that there is a choice - there are two different sides to this struggle and I get to choose which side wins:
The side that groans "why me?" Or the one that laughs and says "try me!"
I can dwell on my mistakes until I am frustrated and trapped in the past, or be grateful for a chance to learn and move forward.
I can chase my own happiness until I drop exhausted and dissatisfied with how far I fall short, or pour myself into making others happy instead.
I can agonize over my future and let fear of the unknown leave me paralyzed and hopeless, or I can take my thoughts captive and seek Jesus harder - because He knows, He cares, He has a plan... and that is enough.
This year, as winter tiptoes its way over the golden prairie, I choose the latter. I choose the girl who scrambles for a hot mug of cocoa, humming Christmas carols as she snuggles into her comfiest sweater and loses herself in a Dicken's novel. The girl who enjoys the first breath of winter. Every last sparkle.
First snows aren't a sign of doom, my friend. They are the beginning of a whole new adventure.