April In February

Once again, it is February in Rhode Island, and once again we are buried in over a foot of snow.  Church services at times have to be cancelled due to inclement weather.  Often we are trapped in our homes until the plows make it through our neighborhood.  Cabin fever is real.  Skies are often gray.  And depression can be a real battle.  For some of us New Englanders, we will not see the ground again until April.

But it is possible to have April in February.  The Amsbaugh family knows all about that.  Twenty-three years ago today (February 14, 1994), my wife gave birth to April in February.  More often than not, our youngest daughter is asked, “Were you born in April?”  And she has to respond, “No, I was born in February.”  Why would anyone name a daughter who was born in February “April”?

Shortly, before April was conceived, Karen had a miscarriage.   The loss of this child was a time of personal depression for me.  I wanted another a baby.   And the Lord provided that baby in April.  Even though it was the midst of winter, April brought a burst of springtime into my soul.  She still does.  No matter what the events around me dictate, my daughter has taught me how to have April in February.

April personifies contentment (Philippians 4:11).  From her earliest days, April knew how to find something to do.  She never was a clinging child who whined to be entertained.  Often Karen and I would find her in her room dressing and undressing her baby dolls.  Her imagination was always active.  She was always thinking of ways to bring creativity to the new day that God had given.  Some people long for springtime while they are in February; April created springtime in February through her contented and creative temperament.

April loves comedy (Proverbs 17:22).  If a merry heart benefits like a medicine, April is one of the healthiest people I know.  Throughout the various disappointments that our family has experienced in life, April was always that family member that we could count on for comedic relief.  She always knows what to say at the exact moment to turn a dark hour into a joyous occasion.

April is calm (Mark 2:27).  Cabin fever irritates so many of us because we don’t know how to sit still.  Our philosophy is “Let’s do something even if it’s wrong.”  Few of us realize how important rest can be.  Indeed, we often associate rest with laziness and become workaholics lest anyone accuse us of having no industry.  April doesn’t have to be doing something just to be doing something.  This is not to say that she is lazy.  To contrary, she has worked hard and paid for her entire college education.  But she is able to be still.

And when you can be content regardless of storms howling outside, and laugh in the face of the storm, and learn that storms are often sent to bring needed rest, then you are able to have April in February.  I thank God for the last twenty-three years I have watched my April bring springtime to my heart regardless of the occasion.  Because our children were all born cesarean, we could pick a day within a certain window for the surgery.  We chose Valentine’s Day for April’s birth, and she has been a significant love in my life.  So here’s to one of my great daughters – that burst of springtime, that April in February.

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