Wind is whipping through the trees on Green Acres like an invisible, rushing stream. It is strong, biting, and invigorating at the same time. Winter is calling out to everyone to take notice that, even though we doubted her arrival, she has made her grand debut in Central Texas.
In our tiny farmhouse, we have no central heat. What this equates to for us is a lot of bundling up, piles of blankets, portable heaters, and quick changes of both clothing and location throughout each day. It is actually a lot like camping and, to me, feels exciting even if I will admit is has been colder than I would like on occasion.
The Outdoorsman made sure he got home early to cut firewood for us last night because the coldest weather is still barreling our way. We want to be prepared for the winter blast. We have cut enough firewood to get us through the next day or two. We have loaded up our cattle, donkeys, pigs, and chickens with ample amounts of hay, feed, and water. We have pulled out our blankets, coats, and heaters.
It is imperative for us to be prepared for the winter so we will not be caught off guard.
It is no different in our everyday Christian walk. God wants us to be prepared for winter days. Days of strife, disease, conflict, discontentment, and doubt. God does not say “if” we will have trials and tribulations, but rather “when” we have trials and tribulations. We need to be prepared for it like we prepare for harsh and freezing winter weather.
Over the past couple of months, I have witnessed several of my friends wading through financial difficulties, serious illnesses, depression, and overall discontentment with this season of life. The season has been extremely trying for them all. Thank goodness, on each occasion, they have reached out to me and some other close friends for prayer and encouragement. They have allowed others to minister to them in whatever way possible due to time and distance constraints. It has been difficult watching my closest friends and family members experiencing the chill of a time when they feel isolated or distanced from God due to a situation they are facing, but it has been touching to see each of them take an initially hesitant step towards help, then eventually a full-fledged reaching out that brought peace to their minds and souls.
During the winter months of your life, do not hesitate to share your struggles with close friends and family members. They want to help you, but are not able to reach out if they are not aware of your struggle. For me, I was completely surprised by some struggles that were going on around me. Our normal everyday conversations did not reveal anything out of the ordinary, but when I delved deeper through some time spent with each one, I learned about some struggles in their lives they had been silently dealing with. Up until the moment they decided to share their struggle, everything seemed completely fine and normal looking from the outside on each occasion. I have now been praying earnestly for these friends and family members over the past couple of months. Over the holidays, keep your hearts tuned to the special people in your life who may be experiencing struggles in some area of their lives. Pray for them, encourage them through texts or calls, spend time with them whenever possible, and let them know that you are thinking of them.
The people who reached out to me during the two winter seasons of my life were what kept me going at times. They prayed for me, wrote verses for me, brought me encouraging books and CDs, watched my two children, cried with me, listened to me, and loved me until I was able to step forth into the sunshine again. During the most difficult winter season of my life, when I felt almost dead inside, God reminded me of His great love for me through the verse below.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; ” Isaiah 43:2-3a (NIV)
Always remember that God will be with you. He will not allow the water to sweep over you.
Back to the winter season on Green Acres. It is beautiful, exhilarating, and harsh all at once. The difficult seasons you walk through in life produce all of the same results as the season of winter. Times of rest, reflection, and coming renewal. As you walk through the difficulty, remember that God has said “I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” Isaiah 66:9 (NCV)
Just as you look forward to the beautiful flowers pushing through the hard earth after the frosts of winter, so you must look for the beauty that will spring forth from a difficult season of your life if you allow God to use it for His purposes.
Winter is here, but Spring is coming.