Bundled in layers of down, I head to the barn at daylight. It’s zero degrees. The wind is stiff and strong this morning, hurling like a sharpened spear out of the northwest, slicing me through. My fingers ache in minutes as I greet our five horses eager for morning meal. Three barn cats huddle tight in hay igloo lined and covered with comforters. Hunkered down they are. Who wants to go out in this cold? We want to stay put. And so we do—unless we have to venture out.
So it is with our cold hearts. How have I grown cold toward Christ? How has my heart started to frost and freeze and hunker down, just protecting myself and not caring for the heart-frozen world around me because I’ve become just so comfortable in my warm home with cold heart? Do I care enough about what Christ cares about?
I pray for God’s warm breath of grace, giving me something I can’t—I can’t just make happen—on my own. When the basic foundation of relationship has been cracked and shifted and the love feelings start to crumble from shaken trust, I need to pray as hard for myself as for my child.
Oh Lord, I need help. Give me your eyes to see this broken winged bird out in the cold, hunkered down. Give me your grace to stay warm and reach out and do the right thing when the mercury of my heart dives down to single digits and life winds howl and cut me straight through. Help me, Lord, to love as you do. Warm my cold heart barely beating back to life—true life. Give me a heart that throbs warm with life-giving love. And Lord—to top it off, would you please give me a glimmer of hope? I’m scared. I’m scared for my child, your child. Please help us all to follow you. Give us all hearts that pulse hard and true for you. Amen.
As the horses eat their grain, I throw out hay. It is so cutting cold out here! I hurt. I stop every couple minutes, wrapping my fingers with my palms to warm them but even my palms are cold. I hurry with the water buckets. The horses will be warmer now that they have food. I hurry to head into the warmth of my house.
Come in from the cold! Come in from the cutting wind! Come in and receive what you cannot make for yourself!
I hear God calling me to come into His presence. Cold hearts just need to come into His presence and the melting of frozenness begins. The numb and hurting begins to warm and expand and throb warm with life and the pain starts to fade away.
So this is the secret of staying warm. Come into His presence.
And the glimmer of hope? I asked for it and He heard my heart cry.
Hands down in sudsy water washing morning dishes, I look up and out. There it is! Glimmer of hope. On frigid winter morning, there sits a bluebird on front porch rail, puffed out for warmth.
Oh good God! You didn’t just send me a glimmer of hope—you know me! You filled my heart with this gift! My favorite bird right here on the coldest day of the year so far!
Legs run for camera and I pray hard for the bird to stay put, to not move, to let me get just one photograph to mark this moment. And it does. It stays and looks right at me as I focus my lens and capture this glimmer of hope.
Spring is coming. Melting will begin. New life will be born. Birds will hatch and fly. Bluebirds will flock and flit through my gardens once again and I will watch them birdbath splash in the warmth of the sun.
There is hope. Even when things are painfully cold and frozen. There is hope.
Come in from the cold and find warmth in His presence.