It was late October, the signs of fall were in full effect and the transition to another long and cold winter had begun. Trees all over our neighborhood had shed most – if not all – of their leaves, which now lined the streets in great piles waiting for pickup, there was a thin layer of frost on the grass, and hardly anyone outside in our typically very social and active neighborhood.

Last winter was hard. Really hard. We had snow come down with some measure of accumulation for 16 straight weekends, not to mention many heavy snows during the week. Snow. On snow. On snow. It felt like it was squarely in the middle of May before I could see my yard again and I could finally say “yes” to my son who incessantly asks if he go outside without a coat or jacket (he would remain completely shirtless 100% of the time if his parents allowed it).

Now, on this late October morning it hit me: we’re heading back into winter, and these trees and plants and grass…they’re actually dying a real death right in front of me. And with the memory of winter’s chill all too fresh in my mind, I had a moment of real grieving at the thought of its return.

And then I saw these two flowers in my front flower bed.

I didn’t remember seeing these there the day before. They had bloomed, seemingly overnight, while everything else around them succumbed to the unavoidable slumber and death of winter. They bloomed. They bloomed and in a moment I was struck with the notion that these flowers are telling my story. Our story.

That when the world around, perhaps even the spaces of our very own souls, are filled with death and more death, that it’s actually possible for life to come from that same soil. In the same moment. And by doing so, the life in those flowers was all the more compelling and beautiful, they stood and showed color on an otherwise bleak and gray afternoon. They proclaimed to the rest of the yard that life was still possible, even in the midst of death.

It is simple, and small, but those flowers opened my eyes to the beauty of God in a way that caused me to worship, and to face the impending death of winter with a deeper resolve to see King Jesus bring life out of death. On the ground. In my soul.

Because, Lord willing, there will be spring. And out of death will come life all around.