ImageMy neighbor’s peach tree is starting to bud. And there’s one tiny, fragile pink blossom on my azalea bush deep in the middle of the branches. Maybe it’s hiding from a likely frost; we haven’t had much winter yet this year. Could it be spring already?

My mother moved in with us just after Christmas. All of us are making adjustments as we’re learning to live together. Our seasons are changing, too. Mom’s having some days of winter when she feels fragile and vulnerable, moving slowly and taking extra precautions against things that weather her. I, on the other hand, am in a season of private summers that midlife brings with its heat waves and lightening.

But despite the shifting seasons, fruit is evident. The Holy Spirit is always the Spring in our lives as believers. Earlier this week, Mom and I were traveling in the car, and she suddenly looked over and said to me, “Thank you for all your kindness to me.” For a moment, I was baffled; isn’t “kind” what I’m supposed to be?

Only later, I realized that Mom was seeing beyond me. “I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me,” Paul told the Galatians (2:20, NLT). Later, in chapter 5 he said this: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…” Mom saw what God is producing through the Holy Spirit. God is growing His fruit in me, and sometimes it ripens and someone else gets nourishment from it. Notice that I had nothing to do with growing the fruit; the Holy Spirit is the One producing it.

On the other hand, when I’m “working” at doing what I think should happen, several versions use this wording: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious…” and a gory list follows (Galatians 5:19-21). The flesh works, schemes, tries to “please God,” and the results are disastrous. And in my life, when my flesh is “working,” the results aren’t pretty. It can look like pettiness, perfectionism, sarcasm, passive-agressive anger and other nastiness.

The Spirit produces good fruit. Once in a while I get a glimpse of Him busy in my life, and I’m in awe of God. It’s normal that He’s there, blooming and ripening love, joy, peace, patience and all the rest all the time! His life in me is a miracle, and every day it’s full of new surprises — just like Spring.