Today the sun is shining but the wind is still a little cold. We are waiting for spring at our house. Eden Grace, the 3 year old, keeps reminding us that it is spring so it shouldn’t be so cold. The wind whipping our hair and assaulting our noses speaks differently. The sunshine and the tulips peeking out along with the grass turning green all boast of Spring, but the temperature hasn’t quite delivered yet. We are still waiting for the warmth.
In Minnesota our winters can feel like forever. The cold air chafes, the sunshine is deceiving and life is buried under frozen ground and piles of snow. Don’t get me wrong, winter isn’t all bad. Fire places and snowmen along with Christmas lights, boots and sweaters brighten up our days and weeks but after awhile, even for the winter lover, winter gets old and everyone is ready for the warmth.
I feel that many things about my life this past year I could classify as a winter season. I have watched things dies, literally and figuratively. Dreams were buried when we were faced with an inactive ultrasound and a still baby. Then again as we unexpectedly lost a community, friends and ministry. Then again when a loved one was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly what we knew was disappearing fast.
This week is the one year anniversary of saying goodbye to our Ilya born stillborn at 20 weeks. The grief that I have experienced was not like anything I have felt before. It knocked me off center and took my breath away and still does although the span between is better. The warm days less few and far between. The ground thawing. The healing doing its work.
Even in winter seasons things still grow and beauty is still seen. The smell of a fresh cut evergreen tree or the vision of fish below the ice. Life doesn’t stop altogether and when we pause to look for the signs we see glimpses of life. So it is in my winter, in the midst of all the death that my evergreen tree was growing green among the white. It stood out as a reminder of the faithfulness of the one who brings the seasons and buries the dreams for a time. My tree is Stories Foundation a vision of love and community and fighting for people and humanity and justice and all that really matters. And it has grown by leaps and bounds in my winter.
This week as a foundation we took our biggest step of faith yet. We put out there for you and the world our heart and vision. Our strong desire for action and change, for love and community. In daring, fearful, breath-stealing humility we said we can’t do it alone and we need you. We need you to come and decorate our tree. To make it a gathering place. To adorn it with yourselves and share it with your neighbors so we can touch the stories of the hurting and the broken next to us in the turn-lane and across the ocean.
Whenever faith as an action shows up, which is really the only way it can because faith without action isn’t faith at all, things happen. Like dogs go missing, dogs you got to help you with the heartache of losing your still baby and your GG goes back to the hospital and your enemy throws daggers at your vision and identity and you feel like the ground of your very soul is shaken and you no longer are sure you can make it. But you do. Because life is to be lived. The enemy doesn’t win. The Dreamer and Life-Sustainer planted that darn tree and there is no going backwards so you move forward and beg the world to join you for the sake of the hurting and for the sake of community and for the sake of believing in something beyond ourselves. For the sake of me and for the sake of you.
Any tried and true Midwesterner knows that what follows the frozen winter is worth waiting for. Every year we gasp with awe at the new buds forming on trees and the tulips, daffodils and crocuses popping up with green and yellow and purple from the dreary ground. The death that has reigned must give way to new life. It is the rule of things and every year it happens without fail.
These are a lot of words from the core of my being to say that life is hard and sometimes the wind and winter are so dark and cold and it looks like spring is coming and their are hints but the warmth hasn’t made it. Yet we believe that it will come again like with every year before it and so we wake up every morning and plant a garden and think about the beach because it is a sure thing.
As in our lives when winter feels like forever remember spring is on its way and even in the darkest coldest days there are signs of life because life is always being lived even if behind the scenes or under the ice. In the order of things, for life to be born there has to be death. And anyway, spring is so much more rewarding after a long cold winter.
Stories Foundation exists to inspire, empower and equip people to do their part in fighting against injustice. All of this will be done via our venue(s), Stories Cafe and Stories Food Truck. The action behind the venues is to see community come together around good food, good coffee and common purpose, to better love and serve each other and be more aware of those in need and be encouraged to know that we each have a part we are able to fulfill.
See the Stories Foundation vision come to life before a Cafe is opened by being a part of launching the Stories Food Truck, a Cause on Wheels that is truly a “For the Community, By the Community” effort. The Food Truck will spread awareness about social injustice, love the local community through great food and coffee and by connecting them with local and international nonprofits.
Slavery is real and we need your help. Pledge to the Stories Food Truck today.
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.