Last week, most of the Mid-Atlantic was covered with a soft blanket of white. It has become a rare thing to see a foot of snow here on the Eastern Shore, and our family enjoyed the beauty of the falling snow as well as the beauty of being together. Morgan and her best friend, Cat, abandoned the confines of being adults and revisited their childhood, finding joy in the falling snow. I loved watching them play outside like they used to do when they were little, unmindful of the snow and the cold.
The day after it snowed, I got up early and took my phone outside to capture some photos of the snow-covered world. Everything around me was enchanting – the way the snow clung to the branches, the pines that bent to the earth, the sun that shone through the trees and glistened on the white surfaces, even the lonely pinecone that clung to a tree, determined to hang on even as the snow weighed it down.
The world was absolutely exquisite. It was a really heavy snow. It fell softly from the sky, but upon landing, it became a burden on every branch, leaf, and needle, turning each and every pine tree into a beautiful white, arched piece of art, a fine sculpture created by the loving hand of God. I worried that the trees would not survive, but then it occurred to me that these trees are made to bend – and so are we.
We spend so much time in our lives afraid to bend, afraid to feel pain or sorrow or even uncertainty. We think that we always have to be tall and strong and able to withstand strong winds and heavy snowfall. But the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Each time we are weak, each time we bend, each time we fall, each time we are weighed down but still clinging to that branch of hope, there is a power greater than any other which will help us to stand, get up, or hold on.
We all suffer. We all bend, and sometimes we come close to breaking; but these times are meant to help us to grow and to realize that we can withstand the storm. We can stand back up. We can hold on. Even broken, we can become whole again. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
That heaviness that burdens us can purify our souls and help us to understand and appreciate what true happiness is. We just have to embrace it, and know that the cold, heavy snow won’t stay around forever. Life’s burdens are meant to lead us to a more beautiful place, a place where it never rains, never snows, never allows pain and sorrow. For those who are very lucky, that place can actually be found here on earth, even in the midst of suffering. And it can be a beautiful sight to behold.
So the next time you experience a heavy burden, remember that there is a reason for our labors and suffering. There is a force that is strong enough to right us when we are bowed and help us hang on when we are clinging to the smallest bit of hope. Be strong, courageous, and faithful, knowing that your spring will come, and eternal happiness will be your reward. Remember that there is always the chance to become a child again, reveling in the world around you, even when you’re weighed down. And remember to always seek the light, knowing that even the thinnest twig can hold a heavy burden and not break under the weight.
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
March 9, 2022 – Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Wayne, PA 6:00PM – Lenten Reflection
April 9, 2022 – First Landing Wine and Arts Festival, St. Clement’s Island Museum, Clements, MD
June 4, 2022 – Christ Church 350th Anniversary Fair, Broomes Island, MD
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines was released in June of 2021. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s chapter book is The Greatest Gift, and her most recent suspense novel is Summer’s Squall.
Amy’s second book in the Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, was awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two, Under the Summer Moon, was released in December of 2021.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021), Under the Summer Moon (2021).