One year, I wrapped my kids’ feet in Ziploc bags before tying on their shoes and sending them out into the snow.
I live in southeastern Virginia, where we get snow sometimes. Some years it’s a lot and other years not so much.
So, it’s a gamble, you see, whether purchasing snow boots and snow pants is a worthwhile investment or a complete waste of money.
That one year when all my kids were little and had snow boots, I can’t remember a single snowflake sticking to the ground.
But the following year, I had to resort to Ziploc bags inside the sneakers because I hadn’t bought snowboots and inevitably we had buckets of snow.
Since then, I’ve begun hunting for snow boots in all seasons and in all sizes at consignment shops in thrift stores. I don’t want to pay full price for them, but I do want to have them on hand just in case.
This year I have put my thrifty shopping skills to work and found snow boots and snow pants in all the sizes for all the kids.
Of course, we’ve had a virtually snow-less winter with just one fluke snowstorm in early December. It’s plenty cold here, but our snow attire is sitting completely unused in a bin in my closet.
I realize as I write this there’s probably some monumental snow event on the horizon for us. For the record, I’m not saying I want a blizzard! I don’t love shuffling plans and appointments around because of unexpected weather. And I really don’t like having to make up any snow days by going to school during a vacation.
But it’s always just worth a shake of my head and a slightly exasperated giggle that on the years I feel most prepared for snow we are virtually snow-less. And on years I decline to prepare, we experience snowmageddon or something equally apocalyptic.
Maybe the lesson for me is that preparation in itself is worthwhile.
There’s not always going to be this direct, easily visible connection to usefulness, but God can be trusted.
Some years, I’ll buy snow boots and there will be snow. I’ll feel prepared and justified, wise, and ready.
Other years, I’ll buy snow boots and it won’t really snow. But I’ll tuck them away and pull them out for a future storm when they’re now hand-me-downs for another child. I’m still prepared, but the connection wasn’t as clear or as direct.
It’s God’s sovereignty I can trust. His wisdom. His all-knowing ability to work in me now, in my life and in my heart and in my mind, all that He wants to do in me. Maybe it’s for next week and maybe it’s for decades from now. Maybe it’s for heaven. I will not always see His purposes, but I can trust Him just the same.
Being in His presence, digging into His Word, learning to know Him, learning about Him, serving with Him, walking through hard seasons and wondering i f there will ever be a harvest—none of it’s ever wasted.
This is what I see in David, this young shepherd boy who invested a whole portion of his life in shepherding a flock of animals and who ultimately because the “shepherd of my people Israel” (2 Samuel 5:2 CSB).
It wasn’t clear and it wasn’t right away. David spent time in Saul’s palace, time in the battlefields, time hiding out in caves and time living among the Philistines surrounded by enemies of the Lord. Maybe his past experience with sheep and a harp seemed worthless when Saul was hunting him down.
But God did the work, the long, steady, complete work. He chose a shepherd of sheep to be a shepherd to His people, nothing wasted, everything working for His good purposes in His perfect timing .
I can overthink this. I can be like an eager student with my clipboard, my paper and my pencil quizzing my Divine Master. “What are you trying to teach me, Lord? What can I learn? How are you going to use this? What are you doing now? Then what’s next?”
I want purposefulness. I want clarity. I want intentionality.
But instead I learn to rest, knowing that seasons aren’t always so well-defined. Sometimes it snows in October and I wear short sleeves in February. Some years I need snow boots and some years I don’t.
I don’t need to worry about identifying the season I’m in or labeling the season or determining the purpose for the season.
I can just remain teachable, yielded, open, prayerful, submissive, humble, willing, submitted ever single day. “Lord, teach me,” and let Him do it. Let Him use all of this, every bit, to change and transform me and prepare me for His plans, His will, His timing.