*This blog was written one year ago, but the truths are still tangible, much-needed, and applicable to my life. I hope it is able to help you through your own winter season. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)*
The winter winds on Green Acres are impressive. Nothing to be mocked. For most of the night several weeks ago, the north side of the house was hit by 20 mile-per-hour winds and temperatures below twenty degrees. Our old farmhouse struggled with the task of keeping warm air in and cold air out as the night progressed.
The next day was a slow, quiet day of recuperating and cleaning up our land after a whirlwind of activity and visitors during the holidays. Our two older children were home from college for several weeks and, although it was magical and wonderful in every way possible, I did not realize how accustomed I had become to only having two of us here on a regular basis. While the five of us and our holiday guests were here, it felt as if I was battling a constant avalanche of dirty dishes and clutter throughout the house. Our tiny home was inundated with stacks of goodies, gifts, and Christmas decor. All blessings in their own right, to be sure.
The good news is that God is working on me concerning the clutter that seems to be my constant companion. He has been helping me to not allow the clutter and mess to take priority with my time and attention. I have always struggled with leaving dishes in the sink or letting things sit out on the tables and counter tops for more than an hour or so, but I am happy to say I am learning to let it go and take more time to visit and relax with my children, husband, and guests while they are here. I’m not saying I don’t think about the dishes, but I am better at letting them sit while I visit. Over the past year at Green Acres, God has been working on my mind and telling me to slow down, step back from some responsibilities and situations, and reevaluate how my time and energy can best be used for His glory.
As the past couple of months have unfolded, many close friends have sought me out for advice, encouragement, and the wisdom that God has given to me through times of difficulty and hardship. It seems as if good, strong families are struggling right now to keep things together in their homes. There are many things vying for their time and attention and, I believe, that is part of Satan’s wily plan.
During the past month, God has been helping me to formulate a plan to help me deal with a distressing situation that I have been experiencing for years now. Relationships that are taxing and difficult and seem to never grow closer or easier. I have never been placed in such a mentally draining position for such an extended period of time with no progress or relief. I have often sought God over my role in these relationships, but have made no perceivable headway despite efforts He has prompted me to make. Over the past couple of months, I have begun creating tangible steps to help me cope with the stress of this situation. The steps include many things, but mainly include reminders to focus on truth, God’s word, prayer, and wisdom of Christian friends.
Why am I sharing this with you today? To let you know that, even in the midst of immense blessings, Satan would love to lead you into seasons of doubt and despair that can threaten to overshadow any season of cheer or joy that you may be experiencing. There have been several winter seasons in my life, but this one has been permeating my thoughts and causing me to be distracted from the tremendous blessings God has given to my husband, children, and I in the form of our new life on Green Acres. This is a battle worth fighting that I intend to win through reliance on God, His word, and Christian friends.
During the past month or two right in the middle of my own personal winter, I was asked to lead a women’s Bible study at my church, but I was resistant to the idea. However, due to my own struggles and the ongoing struggles of many people around me, God has now made it crystal clear to me that He wants me to do a particular Bible study . My best friend from college actually mailed the study to me after I had a conversation with her about spiritual warfare and then three other people mentioned the same book study to me in the following weeks. If I have learned nothing else in this life, it is to obey God when He is prompting me to do something. Even though I am pretty worn out from my own inability to understand the situation I am experiencing, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I need to not only complete, but lead, this study at my church. Beginning next week, I will be leading a women’s Bible study group and we will be studying Priscilla Shirer’s book The Armour of God. I encourage you to complete the study on your own and just know that the women in my group will be praying for you as you study the book alongside us. I am looking forward to the lessons that I know God will impress upon my heart and the hearts of the women who join me. His word is faithful to change, encourage, and empower us when winter has entered into our hearts and homes.
The winter winds have been bone-chilling on Green Acres, but God longs to warm my heart and yours through His word, His people, and obedience to Him. His word is like a warm fire in the corner of your bedroom. Beautiful and glowing in the darkness.
Come sit by the fire with me as we study His word.