The Melt

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2014 has been an epic winter for the midwest and for us here in West Michigan 5 foot snow piles are a normal part of the scenery.

We have had snow cover on the ground since before Thanksgiving with very little days above freezing and always additional accumulation raising the level of snow in the front yard.

“Alright winter, you’ve proved your point. Enough already. Go home.”

The cloud cover has been endless and it seems as though weeks have passed without a shred of blue sky or sunshine.

But this week? We hit 40 degrees and the sun hit the snow and turned it into fields of translucent glitter.

The kids and I headed out in the warm sunshine to build a snowman from the wet snow in our front yard. It promptly fell over from the warmth of the day.

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The kids were bummed but I was fist-pumping behind them as we started out the window. MELT BABY MELT!

We watched as the icicles dripped holes into the snow on the front porch, turning it into glorious, slushy swiss-cheese snow.

This week we had a taste of spring, this week we had a bit of melt.

There is nothing quite like the melt to feed hope to the human spirit.

It feels like the moment you open your eyes and the headache is gone
Or you hug someone after a fight and realize the love has only grown
Or the moment you look around and the chaos has stilled to peace

I had a moment of melt in my life this past weekend at Target.

Target will always feel like a luxury to me now because while we lived in Oklahoma we were over 90 minutes from the nearest one. Now we can just go there and stroll, get some Up and Up toilet paper and eat popcorn like rock stars. It’s the little graces in life, isn’t it?

This particular Target trip was of the simplest sort. I was there for socks and underwear, the very things my parents always threatened to get me for Christmas if I was naughty.

Not coal, nope, just socks and underwear.
The least fun present ever.

Yet there I was, giddy with my red cart tossing packets of kid’s underwear into the cart with ludicrous amounts of joy. I would have skipped but some of the areas in the center of the kid’s clothing section are shockingly tight.

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Super heroes for Caedmon!
Hello Kitty for Noelle!
Workout Socks for Kel!

Why?
Because I could. Because we both needed AND could afford them. 

Because things melted for us recently. The vice grip on our budget loosened and we are now able to live with a little more ease and generosity.

We spent the better part of 2013 living on no or half income. Many were the weeks where I visited the plasma bank twice to get some extra cash for gas and groceries.

I regularly sobbed over my bagged groceries, because how can food cost this much?

It was tough on our marriage, a constant source of stress always and forever wondering if the bottom would fall out of our finances beyond what we could weather.

But now I can afford underwear and honey and spare toilet paper. It seems like small things but for one who was recently giving blood to buy beans and rice.. it’s grace, pure and sweet.

It’s a reminder that we heard our call to move home correctly, our gamble of an Abraham year paid off and nine months later we find ourselves in a place of stability able to take a deep breathe as we step out of the valley blinking.

We made it.

God provided, even in the winter, and in all this we remember that we live a life of seasons, a truth so easily forgotten yet constant in it’s rhythm.

I know so many friends who need to read this, who may not believe me, who may hate me for saying it: Your frozen, tight, tough season will change.

It will, it will give way to a melt.

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And for those of us not living in a season of tightness and freezing: Never forget that we are called to be there with those in the tight seasons, to refrain from judgment and give legs to our prayers.

Pay for car repairs
Show up and front doors with grocery cards
Remain humble and thankful and cognizant that seasons aren’t something we have control over and we will find ourselves on both sides of the melt, both in need of help and able to give it.

May our seasons keep us open handed and open hearted with our resources, knowing that if we thrive and others suffer we’re failing to bring the kingdom of heaven to our neighborhoods and families.

May your world melt today, through circumstances, through generosity, through an extra measure of patience and spirit… poured out and overflowing.

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  • Judi Tieri

    You.Rock.My.World..even though I am NOT in your circumstances at this point in my life, everything you said brought me right back to “that point”..Hang in there “writer of truth”..it will get better. Love Love reading your posts

    • http://www.leannepenny.com Leanne Penny

      Thank you Judi, you just rocked mine right back a little.

  • Kaethe Ward

    I loved this post! It especially resonated with me because (through a series of moves) we ended up in Grand Rapids during a difficult winter and an incredibly stressful season for our family. I cried many times over the cost of groceries, discovered Aldi’s when Meijer became too expensive, and accepted gifts from our dear church family. We are past that season now, thank God, but still feel effects of the “melt”. GR will always symbolize a hard but growing time for me.