It’s April right now, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the weather. Weird, I know. What 25 year old woman, besides a Weather Woman, spends their time thinking about the weather? I could be wrong about this, but I’m guessing not a lot, unless it’s for picking out your outfit in the morning. In Dallas, where I currently reside, the weather has been kind of dreary, and that phrase “April showers bring May flowers,” keeps running through my head.
You’ve probably heard that phrase before, at least once during your circles around the sun. This phrase doesn't have some crazy philosophical meaning behind it, it’s legitimately referring to the fact that because it will probably rain a lot in April, that there will be flowers blooming in May. Wow! Mind blown--Just kidding. I propose this, however, that it does have a deeper meaning.
I’ve been reading in Romans and 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, and much of what Paul writes about it moving through the dark seasons and holding on the hope of the light to get you through it. That’s kind of what this phrase does. It acknowledges the rain, but reminds you that the flowers will come--The darkness will not be forever.
“The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter.”
That’s really it, the crying, the hurt, the rain, will turn into beauty. All that we go through makes us stronger, pushes us to new depths, increases our capacity. In the time it’ll be daunting, and breaking but it will make you better. I love this thought attached to our stories, our lives. We go through all this stuff that can build us or break us, but when we let God work through it with us, we get these amazing stories, our flowers.
You might be reading this and thinking, “Ok, cool. Love that, but also, there are no action items here. It’s great to think about the flowers, but I’m in the middle of my personal hell and there are no damn flowers.” [Sorry, if you’re not into curse words, but like, this is real life.]
For those of you who are like me and need something to push you into the right direction, here are some action items for you to take you home.
Step 1. BREATHE. When that anxiety starts to set in and the darkness seems to swallow you whole, literally sit yourself down and breathe in deeply for 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly for 10 seconds. Do this a few times until your mind stops racing.
Step 2. Remind yourself of your promise. Go into scripture and find a promise for your problem. Don’t even complain to anybody until you’ve done this. If you come to me complaining about hating your job, but you haven't gone into scripture to see what God says about it, Bye. Not really, but you get it.
Step 3. Speak those promises over yourself. If you need to drive yourself out to an empty field and scream them at the top of your lungs until you believe them, do it.
Step 4. Find yourself some community. You are not supposed to go through life alone, even if you’re afraid that people are going to leave, or what have you, get over it. The real deal is that most people love you and want you to succeed. If you are having a hard time and reach out to someone, I guarantee you they’re not going to flip tables and scream at you, and if they do, get the heck out of there.
Step 5. Give it time. The flowers aren’t going to pop up overnight. You’ve gotta plant the seeds in the ground, let the rain pour, and just trust that the flowers are coming. Anything worthwhile takes a little bit of time.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
So maybe all that just isn’t your jam, but I’m here to tell you, it works. It might be hard to believe that the May flowers will come from your April showers, but they will. They will show up and it’ll feel like they were always there.