After living three years in Texas during seminary, I forgot just how rough an Iowa winter was. It was SO cold this year with that large stretch of time of highs in the low single digits. For so long we were covered in a blanket of snow, and I don’t know about you, but I thought it would never melt! As I’ve been cleaning out our flower beds, I’ve been so amazed at the resiliency of perennials and other wildlife that has begun it’s awakening, coming out from a long winter of hiding. The BlackEyed Susans and Balloon flowers that I planted last summer are beginning to grow again, having survived a rough winter. The Virginia Bluebells that grace our backyard are dancing in blue. As I raked
away leaves, the mint had come up to say “Hello!”

Maybe I’m just getting into gardening, but it’s been marveling for me to see wildlife survive the winter, laying dormant under the frozen tundra. As I’ve reflected this spring, I’ve asked myself, “Am I as resilient as my perennials?” A quick Google search defines ‘resilience’ as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. I would certainly say our plants are resilient for surviving a rough winter. Maybe we can gain resiliency by cultivating hope within us.

Shame and vulnerability researcher, Brené Brown, says that hopeful self-talk is saying, “This is tough, but I can do it.” In many ways, I think Apostle Paul was resilient. He certainly used hopeful self-talk. Being a Christian in Paul’s time was tough. Paul was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, and left for dead, and yet he got up and went to the next city where the same risk remained. He was resilient, recovering quickly from difficulties.

How did Paul get through the difficulties and suffering? He certainly relied upon his relationships with others like Priscilla and Aquila, and he certainly relied upon his relationship with Jesus. We’ve been through our own suffering since the pandemic began and the derecho, and it can certainly be difficult to continue making it through the hard times. If we can trust in God, rely on Jesus and the relationships with others, maybe we too can say, “This is tough, but I can do it!”

Peace, Pastor Kristina