Springing Forward

I could tell it was coming. It’s happened every year I’ve lived here. One day we’re in the thick of winter and the next my eyes feel the first hint of itchiness. Then my nose starts getting stuffy. I know the sneezing is just around the corner. I double up on the Zyrtec and brace myself for what I know is just around the corner: the arrival of my arch-nemesis, the blossoming Bradford Pear Trees. I’m not sure who decided to plant dozens upon dozens of these trees in my little town. I know they look pretty but they smell like fish (seriously, not exaggerating even a little bit) and they aren’t even very sturdy trees. We loose several in every major storm. All of which, might be tolerable if they didn’t constantly assault me with buckets of pollen.

Further hints that Spring is coming was the fact we lost an hour of sleep on Sunday. But this Daylight Saving’s wasn’t a typical one for me because I started working nights for the first time. The funny thing about working nights is how fluid time’s become for me. Wednesday morning at nine, after my third twelve-hour shift, felt a lot like a Friday night at nine. My attempts to sleep during the day feel more like taking long naps than getting a good night’s rest. My “day” starts in the afternoon and I leave work while most people are just heading in.

I’m actually liking night’s more than I thought I would. There’s far less distractions in the hospital at night. I have time to think about what I’m doing or need to do. I’m less panicky that I’m forgetting something in the chaos. Which is fantastic considering I need extra time to process everything I’m doing. I’ve found as long as I have some caffeine around two or three in the morning, I’m not even any sleepier than I was when I got off at 7:30 pm vs 7:30 am.

Working nights is just one more thing that’s changing lately. I think that’s why despite allergies I’m so ready for Spring. After such a cold (for Tennessee) winter, and lots of gray days, I am craving blue skies and warm breezes. I miss my sundresses and have grown tired of my coat. I need the days of driving with the windows down and the music up.

I found these beauties at Publix yesterday. They made me happy so they came home with me along with the ingredients for Jimmy Fallon’s Crock-Pot Chili (which is crazy delicious) and Peanutty Buckeye Bars.

I love watching the leaves change colors and the snowfall. But Spring has this way of infusing hope in me like no other season. It reminds me that there really is an astounding amount of beauty in the world. It carries with it the promise of summer; it hints at BBQs, picnics, and days at the beach. But it has a grace all it’s own. Days filled with ever-increasing amount of sunshine and perfect temperatures for eating on patios and going for runs.

Spring gives me hope that something wonderful is just around the bend. That there are second-chances and new-life to be uncovered. It whispers that maybe the best is yet to come. And all that makes me believe that seasonal allergies are a  pretty good trade for some seasonal hope.


God of the Middle

I heard a beautiful story yesterday. It was about how God has given my friend rainbows over and over again the last six years. For example, when she was wondering if her now husband was the one, she saw over seventy rainbows. An impressive feat considering she lives in the desert where it almost never rains. It was a story about His faithfulness at every turn.

Sometimes a rainbow is just a rainbow and sometimes it’s a reminder of God’s hand. I know a group of women who would tell you the same thing about purple flowers. That in some form or other when they are making decisions or needing to feel God’s love, they will stumble upon a field of purple wildflowers or find just one exactly when they need it. I have another friend who literally finds pennies from heaven. That change you pass on the ground every day without a second thought, is something she bends down and picks up, claiming God’s faithfulness.

I don’t have one thing I can point to as sign in my life. I can say that ever since a yellow lady bug landed on my blue dress with sunflowers as I was entering my audition for Annie, they’ve been something I view as a blessing. I mean I did get the role of Tessie so ladybugs seem downright lucky. I know it’s not just luck though, it’s also reminder. I’m the kind of girl who holds on to movie tickets and little trinkets from events I want to remember. So, it seems natural that I have a rock I picked up on a hike in Colorado and a shell I collected on the beach while watching the sunrise. Both are markers of times I heard God’s voice clearly.

How often have I found myself praying, “God, if xyz, then send me a sign”? It’s a prayer I occasionally utter when I’m making a decision to start down a path or bring a chapter to a close. But I find it incessantly on my lips when I’m somewhere in between. In the middle, that’s when I wonder what have I gotten myself into. It’s when I’m halfway across the rope bridge and feeling its definite sway. When I’m too far along to backtrack but unsure how I’ll ever reach the end.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13 NIV

These words I know to be true. I need little reminder that the creator of the universe is in the process of its redemption. I know he is the Beginning and will be the End but, oh, I need a constant reminder that He’s also the God of the Middle.  He sees me shaking my head when I find myself exactly in the spot I was afraid of winding up. He hasn’t forgotten me when the waves are getting higher and I can no longer remember why I ever got in the boat. He knows where to find me in the inbetween.

He knows what I need before I ask.

He can reroute me if I’m lost.

He knows what’s on the next page.

My God is the ultimate author. He knows the middle matters. It’s what gets you from “In the beginning,” to “Amen.”

He hasn’t forgotten me along the way.

I’m the one in need of reminding. I need the Ebenezer. I need to mark a moment. I need to remember that ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’*

And I know He hasn’t forgotten you either (even if it feels like it). And I pray that He’ll remind you however you need reminding- be it flowers or sunsets or pennies or rocks or shooting stars or whatever your thing may be.

Tonight I find myself grateful he’s more than the Beginning and the End. That He’s also the God of the Middle.

* 1 Samual 7:12