My fondest childhood memories include my siblings and I waddling up steep Pennsylvania hills, towing our sleds while laughing and talking until we piled onto our reckless crafts and flew screaming down the hill.
During Christmas holidays, our church families had a tradition of getting together and driving around the neighborhood, where we sneaked out of parked vans–across the sparkling snow–to surprise our neighbors with Christmas carols. After making our rounds, we jostled merrily in one of our kitchens, thawing out our cold selves by telling jokes and sipping hot cocoa from Styrofoam cups.
Even better were the two winters when I had a boyfriend who liked hiking through snowy forests as much as I did. New love combined with the magic of winter nights made my heart almost break with the beauty of it.
Moving to warm-and-dry Kansas meant saying goodbye to most of that. Even though I like the ease of winters without endless puddles of soppy coats, musty mittens, and muddy boots, I look at all the dusty brown outside and miss the magic of my childhood.
As you can imagine, when the snow began falling thickly last Tuesday afternoon, my delight was boundless!
That night, Will and I went out for a walk in the starlight, our boots swishing through the snow, and we felt so young and in love again.
Will took off work on Wednesday, and our whole family spent the day playing in the snow.
This is the first big snowfall (7 inches) that most of our children remember. They were ecstatic!
Soon snowballs were flying, and we all had to be quick if we didn’t want snow down the back of our shirts! This little guy laughed and laughed when he got snow in just the right place to make me scream!
We all worked together to make a snow family, including pets.
(That’s a dog, cat, and chicken at the end of the row, in case you can’t tell.)
Playing together in the bright sunshine made us happy and tired.
All of that was special, but even better was how the snow answered one of my children’s prayers.
I have a child who struggles with belief in God, because he has experienced more heartbreak and unanswered prayers than any child should. I have never tried to force my faith on my children; if it is a faith worth having, it will be beautiful enough in itself to draw them. So my child and I often discuss the paradoxes of Christianity and the pros and cons of faith.
A few days ago, we had one of those discussions. “If God actually answers prayers,” my child finally said, “why doesn’t He send us some snow?”
“God can absolutely send us snow. Just ask Him!” I said, fully knowing that this is warm-and-dry Kansas, and also knowing that there was much more to the request than simply wanting snow.
Within less than a week, the snow came in all its glittering glory.
Even better than the gift of snow in our barren land is the knowledge that God hears and answers my little boy’s prayers.
How do you grow in your own faith while building faith in your children?