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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: My Springtime
By Kimberly Russell


I love spring. It's probably my favorite season and I look forward to it with eager anticipation. Winter in Michigan seems to drag on forever, with this year being no different. Recently, I was driving along, reveling in the recent arrival of 'spring-ness', when my mind began to wander. It has a tendency to do that and often I will arrive at my destination with no recollection of how I got there- a rather dangerous habit, to be sure.

My spirit hummed, lifted by warm breezes, sunshine, and rising temperatures. I was thanking God for His glorious creation when my glance happened on a bush that looked a bit out of place: it was barely budding, no green leaves in sight, apparently a later bloomer. The soil around the bottom was hard and dead. It almost pained me that no one had taken the time to nurture the poor thing or at least break up the unyielding ground so that nourishing spring showers could sink in. It almost seemed to cry out for help, like it was saying “Somebody please set me free!”

This gave me pause to consider what had happened to me in the last year...

My life had become like the bush: dried up, yearning for spring and the release of new life. While attempting to run things my way, I ended up feeling alone and abandoned, struggling emotionally. Floundering in my pain, trying everything I could in my own strength, there were times I wondered if I would ever be 'ok' again- or if I ever really had been. My soil had become so hard, even God couldn't penetrate it.

As time went on, I continued to spiral downward, becoming a recluse. Depression had plagued me in the past and I began to fear its return. While medication was an answer at one time, I knew that I really didn't want to consider that option again as the physical side affects were almost worse than the emotional trauma. As my isolation increased, so did my despair- a vicious cycle.

My family stood by and watched helplessly. When questioned, I would become defensive and tell them I was fine. Heaven forbid I risk being vulnerable and honest. They didn't know what to do so they left me to my own devices. I got exactly what I wanted: for everyone to leave me alone so I could feed my abandonment monster. We certainly are complicated creatures.

I sought counseling (that's what you're supposed to do, right?) In the past, it had helped but this time it felt like I was just spinning my wheels. What possible good could come from ruminating and rehashing? I whined and cried at the injustices of the world. Why wasn't life fair? What happened to those that supposedly loved and cared about me? I had always 'been there' for my friends and when I needed them most, they had all left me. Where was God in this mess? Probably busy- He wouldn't understand anyway...

One morning as I feebly attempted to pray, God began to speak to my hardened heart. It took a while to penetrate as the winter's freezing temperatures and harsh winds had taken a toll. Snow had been piled on it for so long, it would take the Holy Spirit in all His power to melt it away.

The Bible talks about how the Lord wasn't in the fire, storm, or earthquake but in the still small voice afterwards. As He continued to whisper in my ear, exposing the stony places, His healing touch began to sow into my spirit and ever so slowly, things began to change. My bitter, angry heart began to soften as well and become pliable in His hands. None of this happened during my self-created crisis or rants about the injustices of life but after I began to listen for His voice out of obedience. By allowing Him in to heal and nurture, the rocky territory began to yield and hope replaced despair. At last, my springtime had come.

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This article has been read 666 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carolyn Crook05/01/09
Yea! Our God is the author of happy endings, and I am thankful your was!
Mona Purvis05/04/09
Good writing about a personal struggle and victory through God's loving care.
Eliza Evans 05/04/09
Thank you for sharing your heart, Kathryn. Very nice writing!

Blessings of peace on your journey, sister.
Seema Bagai 05/04/09
Lots of beautiful phrases in this piece. I thought the first paragraph didn't draw me into the piece as much as the second one. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Karlene Jacobsen05/04/09
I'm not so certain you need that first paragraph. The second one really has the hook that pulled me in.

This is otherwise a very honest, beautiful piece that I am sure will minister to others.
Lollie Hofer05/04/09
What a wonderful story of hope! It was perfect for this week's topic. Thank you for sharing so honestly. I know God is going to use this story to encourage others.
Edmond Ng 05/04/09
I can understand the feeling you've described. Sometimes we are left alone not because the people around us do not care, but because we choose for ourselves to be abandoned, and that's not good. The more we want to be left alone with a harden heart, the more it hurts people who cares for us. Sadly, we often do not see it when we are in it and we tend to wait too long to be soften by the Lord. Thank you for sharing this story. We certainly need to be more open to the Lord to allow Him to mold us, like soft clay in the hands of the Potter.
Connie Dixon05/05/09
This is a great lesson on the results of our self-centeredness and hardened hearts. I love how you parallel your journey with the slow appearance of Spring. Glad you were able to "figure it out". Great writing!
Shelley Ledfors 05/06/09
I really liked this piece. It's an excellent illustration of how the Lord can heal the hardness of our hearts, when we finally get to the point of opening them up in obedience to Him. Nicely done.
Myrna Noyes05/06/09
I like the authentic, honest tone of this piece! I'm glad your MC's spiritual/emotional "rebirth"coincided with the earth's! This is such a "hope full" story, and I thank you for sharing it with us! :)
Kristen Hester05/06/09
Very clear, easy to understand writing. I love the honesty and the victory. Good job!
Beckie Stewart05/06/09
I could relate to this entry so much. Thanks for sharing. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought I wrote it. LOL! Good job describing the emotions.
Deborah Porter 05/07/09
Hi Kathryn. A bit of encouragement coming your way again. You made it into the Level 1 Highest Rankings again this week, placing 15th overall. Well done! You know how intense the competition is in this level, so you deserve a pat on the back. You are doing really well.

Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)