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It can take all day for a pound of ground beef to thaw on the counter. I know this because when I thaw things the way you’re supposed to, overnight in the refrigerator, they never thaw enough to cook them at dinner time. The other day I got some ground beef out of the freezer before work, left it on the counter, and it was thawed but still cold to the touch when I got home ten hours later, perfect for making tacos.

I feel like the thawing process can be rather unpredictable, but you should always allow for more time than originally expected. My parents have become experts in thawing the Thanksgiving turkey- which yes, of course, that one gets thawed in the refrigerator! With many years of experience, my parents seem to have developed an innate sense for just how many days and nights in the refrigerator will be necessary for the turkey to be fully ready to stuff and stick in the oven early on Thanksgiving morning.

Not what you expected to read at the Reformed Journal today? Ok. I hear you. And especially for the vegetarians in the audience, let’s move on. To Spring.

Spring thaw, with its watery, brisk breezes and muddy paths, is one of the best times of year. After a cold, hard winter, frozen things soften, drip, and warm. Nature begins to color, and the air smells fresh and more invigorating, somehow.

The wait for the Spring thaw can be lengthy, and the harsher the winter, the harder the wait for those warming trends to begin. We long to crack a window and let fresh air fill our home. Our legs- bleak and pasty- sing for shorts, and our toes for sandals, even when it is still sixty degrees. A body longs to thaw.

Even during the Fall, as temperatures verge toward winter and darkness falls fast, I find that when we walk our dog after dinner, toward the end of the walk all I can think about is going home and crawling under downy covers with a cup of tea: to thaw.

Yes, a body needs to thaw.

Late this Spring I started a new job, and some days the office feels exceptionally cold. I think it has to do with cold temperatures outside combined with an air-conditioned building. I’m still getting used to lunch time rhythms in the office and how to best enjoy the hour, but one day, recently, while I sat shivering in the lunchroom, I had a brilliant idea. With 15 minutes to spare, I snuck out the back door to my van that had been sitting in the sun all morning. Despite the day’s cool temperature, it was toasty warm in there. In my quiet, toasty van, I took a deep breath, and thawed.

There are a lot of things that happen to us in life that can cause us to freeze up. And I mean freeze up as a being, a person, a life. It could be a deep hurt or a wrong that was done to us, or maybe a significant loss and all the accompanying grief that plunges us into bottomless sorrow. It could be a paralyzing fear, devastating loneliness, or just an endless gray scrim of depression. Life is hard in so many ways, and sometimes in response, our very essence freezes up.

Then, one day, we find that we have become a body that longs to thaw. In my estimation, all the same kinds of principals mentioned above should apply.

First of all, if we recognize that we’re frozen, and now longing to thaw— allow it. Sometimes, moving out of the hardest season begins with simply recognizing we’re longing for change, or that we have a readiness to move on, and we agree to let that happen.

Next, we have to make sure we’re in the right kind of space for the thawing to take place. We may find we need to be out of, or away from, a particular place in order to feel warm or alive again. So we find a suitable, safe space and we stay there long enough to feel the temperature change and the color arrive. Listen for trickles that come from the thaw, and let it be music.

Finally, we must keep in mind that thawing will generally always take a lot more time that we originally anticipated. It is hard to be patient, I know, but thawing doesn’t involve a whole lot more than waiting for the environment around us to bring us back to life. Wait for it; wait as long as it takes.

My prayer for any of you who are chilled to the bone and recognizing that you need to thaw out, is that God will lead you to a good and spacious place to rest, recover and refresh, and when you get there, that you will have the stamina to remain.

Now, let the temperature rise.

Header photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Ice drips photo by Patti Black on Unsplash

Ice cream cone photo by Matthew Moloney on Unsplash

Katy Sundararajan

Katy enjoys writing here at the Reformed Journal about the small things that give us pause and point us to great wonder, the things that make our hearts glad and remind us of where our hope comes from. You can find more of Katy’s writing through Words of Hope free daily devotionals, and in Guideposts’ All God’s Creatures: Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers. Give Katy a good book, a pretty view, or a meal around the table with laughing people and she’ll say, “All is well.”


  • Mark S. Hiskes says:

    A beautifully written, wise and memorable metaphor for life. A gift. Thank you, Katy.

  • Willemiena McCarron says:

    Thought provoking. An excellent article.

  • Rowland Van Es, Jr says:

    Always enjoy your reflections. We just finished reading your Words of Hope from last year that we brought back to Kenya to enjoy later. It is not spring here (more like fall, moving to our coldest season) but I can relate to thawing after freezing. May we all “Listen for trickles that come from the thaw, and let it be music.”

  • Ken Eriks says:

    Thank you, Katy! So much wisdom in these words!

  • Judith Baker says:

    So true. I recall a friend, many years ago, who had cared for her husband through his decline and death from cancer. A year later, she wrote that while staying with her son for a month, she finally could feel the ice begin to melt around her heart.

  • Wanda Maloy says:

    I enjoyed the article. Thanks!

  • Rachael says:

    Great insight Katy! This is something that is needed for all people as we experience seasons in our life!!

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