All I could see was dirt. And I was cold. Very, very cold. The road in front of me stretched as far as my eyes could see, and the wind was threatening to knock me over. I was used to being around fields, but these were different. Instead of livestock, they were barren—reserved only for the giant white turbines. I was working on a disaster relief chainsaw team in Woodward, Oklahoma and we were helping members of the community recover after a particularly powerful ice storm moved through, leaving limbs and trees down in its wake. Our job was to travel to a house, use our chainsaw skills to remove any debris we could, and share love with those we came in contact with. We were halfway through the week, and I was tired. Like, the kind of tired that makes your joints creak. It didn’t help that it was 30 degrees, not including wind-chill, and there was plenty of that. We were on a farm 10 minutes outside of town in the middle of nowhere. After we arrived, we worked for hours sawing, raking, and gathering debris into piles. When lunchtime rolled around, we ditched our tools in the yard to climb in the trucks and seek shelter from the battering wind. Sitting quietly in the warm air, I couldn’t help but feel the anxiety of the season I was in. Gravity seemed to be pulling me down, and I sank further into the seat. My thoughts chewed at me while I chewed my cold peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I couldn’t seem to make them stop. I was days away from taking a very expensive, very important exam and I was studying every day. It just didn’t feel like it was enough. I couldn’t learn enough in the time I had. I couldn’t read all that I had to read. I couldn’t decide where I wanted to apply for jobs, or what city I wanted to live in. This morning I couldn’t even decide between strawberry and grape jelly. I don’t even like strawberries. And I couldn’t seem to calm my own nerves. If I can’t even do these simple tasks or make these decisions, how am I going to sit in an exam room for 5 hours answering questions that will alter my future? My life kind of felt like the fields surrounding us. Barren. Messy. Cold. Pushing all these thoughts out of my head, I finished up my sandwich and stepped out into the cold once again. Everyone else headed to throw their trash away in the trailer behind our truck, but I stood there with the door open for a few seconds. I need some peace, I thought.
When I finally closed the door, I looked straight down the dirt road. Nothing. There is literally nothing here for miles. Just the cold air and nothing. But it was beautiful. I stood there in the middle of the road for a couple minutes watching the tall grass blow back and forth. There is beauty in the simplicity of this. And right there in the middle of that wind farm in nowhere, Oklahoma God spoke as clear as day. Trust me Ashley, he said. This too shall pass. This is only a season. Hang on. Part of me was relieved and part of me was annoyed that was all he had to say. Wait? You want me to just ‘hang on’? Are you serious, God? All I wanted to do was run and hide. I wanted this season to be over. Like, right now. I wanted to pass my exam. I wanted to have my license and start working. I wanted an apartment and a car that didn’t make noises when I looked at it. I wanted peace. Sometimes we go through seasons of waiting. Where we want to run, but we can’t. We are just stuck waiting on something and we might not even know exactly what we are waiting for. Hold on. Stand your ground. Enjoy the simplicity of life as it is. God is there, and I promise that he sees you. Let that sink in: He sees you. He knows that you are waiting. He knows that you are anxious. He knows that you want to run or hide but you just can’t. This season will pass because that’s what seasons do. You will make it through, you just gotta keep holding on.
Hang in there.