Even in the frozen northlands of Canada, winter does not last forever.

I know this is true, I have experienced 30 years of the changing Canadian seasons, yet somehow, last year, I didn't believe it. While most of the northern hemisphere basked in unseasonably warm temperatures, North America got slammed with one of the three coldest winters in 25 years.

It wasn't really the temperatures, or even the excessive snow, that have bothered me, however. I could deal with those. You just put on more clothing. As my dear friend from Alaska says, "It's not bad weather, it's improper gear!" What really bothered me was that in mid-March, with Spring officially 7 days away, we were slammed with the worst storm of the year. And even worse, they were calling for winter-like weather to extend well into April. Would it ever end?

It's true that we had some Spring-like days. Rob and I had taken a trip to Erie Pennsylvania just the weekend before this storm, and our first day out it was 10 degrees C (50 F). As we walked along the beaches of Presque Isle State Park, with our jackets open and our ears and fingers uncovered, I couldn't help but smile. It was true that the trees hadn't yet begun to bud out with new leaves, and the dunes were still covered with ice in many places, but Spring was truly in the air. It made it seem all the more cruel when we woke up to snow the next morning.

It makes me think of the valleys we must all walk in life. Some of you may be walking the valley of financial difficulties, loss of job, or even the loss of your home. Others may be walking the valley of illness — your own, or those of friends or loved ones. You may be walking the valley of cancer, stroke, heart problems, or a myriad of other debilitating health problems. Still others may be dealing with the loss of a loved one or a dear friend. Or perhaps your valley is labeled,
"relationship problems." Whatever the valley of your life is right now, it must seem like this long, cold Canadian winter that didn't seem to ever want to end.

As you go through these valleys, sometimes you receive some good news. Your estranged husband calls to say he wants to see you. You have a good day, even after Chemotherapy. You receive a surprise check in the mail for 100$. Or, better yet, the trial seems to be behind you. But just like this winter has thrown us these little teases of Spring, only to be followed by more snow, your estranged husband only wants to give you less money; your second day post-chemo is awful; you receive an unexpected bill in the mail for 500$; and just when you think you're through the problems, new, larger ones arise.

Like this past winter, reality is cruel. Why give us a "tease" of better times, only to "slam" us again with insurmountable problems?

I was contemplating this as we walked the beaches of Presque Isle State Park, for I already know that the Weather Network was calling for snow the next day. But as I looked around me at the melting snow and ice, as I looked into the black, bare forests, I realized one thing: This Spring-like day meant only one thing: Spring would come! This winter would not last forever! This Spring-like day wasn't a tease at all; it was a promise that the world would once again come back to life, the trees would bud, and the birds, along with warmer temperatures, would, indeed, return.

The same is true of the valleys of our lives. They are also not unending. It doesn't matter how bleak it looks in the midst of one, there is a Spring that will come. There will be better times.

Let's hold on to that hope: "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Heb 10:23, NKJV).

Your Spring WILL come!

In His love,

Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.