Your Winter Season and Mine
I am doing the only thing that makes sense to me right now. I am sitting in the holiday trailer, and it is snowing almost a whiteout outside, so I have the blinds down and won’t look at it. The thermostat is up, and it feels right toasty in here, I am sipping on my tea laced with egg nog (so yummy if you have not tired it yet) but there are times where I must go outside and that changes everything.
It takes me 10 – 15 minutes to gear up. I am talking undershirt (I am wearing Brains – it is fairly roomy on me and hangs to my knees, 2 pairs of socks, long sleeve shirt, sweat shirt, battery operated jacket and then it if it is wet out I throw my waterproof windbreaker over all that. Never mind the mitts, hat and boots that complete the ensemble. Heaven forbid that you have to pee when you get out there!
So yes, we are still in the holiday trailer and everyday I am thankful that God has spared us adverse weather – it has been gorgeous. Plus 5-7 with sunshine and no snow, until yesterday and today. I am still thankful and must trust that God knows what He is doing and will help our little trailer stay warm long enough until we can move into our home.
We have not been sitting still: the propane, electric, water lines are all trenched in. The ground is solid clay and hard so the trenching was not an easy or fast process. The water shed/mechanical room are built and almost complete. We are so close; however we need to connect the water to the mobile and need a new propane hot water tank, and maybe a furnace, the sewer to be connected to the lagoon (which is dug and waiting) and our wood stove to be installed and operational. We can now connect the trailer to our generator so we can get lights and plug to work. We still need to check all the appliances and taps, and water lines that are in the trailer before we move in in case of any leaks. The trailer sat empty for a long while.
This has all been able to happen because Brian took some time off and many wonderful family and friends and an electrician have come out to help with our project. We are so thankful and blessed!
But I digress, let’s get back to me hiding in the trailer. It is a vivid picture for me of what I am learning, studying and teaching right now.
The “Winter Season”. For everything physical, I believe that God has a spiritual parallel and a winter season does not even have to be in the winter. It is a time when the landscape is barren, void of color, of isolation when everyone stays in, a time of cold or wet, a time when we withdraw into our homes and either spend time with our families or often, we are on our own.
Simcha Natan, one of my Israeli teachers and guides while in Israel just published her book “Find Me Hidden” and her journey through the Covid lockdowns. She talks about seasons and how important it is to know what season you are in, she is describing me on all of her pages as I can identify with so much of the book (which is an excellent read). She says that is it so important to realize the season you are in because if you are in winter, God will use a new way of communicating. He will not speak or relate to us like He did in our “summer” albeit fruitful season, it is a different season, so expect the new. She gives the illustration that if she wants it to be summer because she wants to stay in it and dresses in shorts and goes out onto the porch to get a tan and finds it cold and winter, she is likely to be angry and frustrated. But if she realizes she is in a “winter” season and works with it, instead of against it, the season will be much more enjoyable and productive. Yes, productive because every season has a purpose to it.
The winter season is not one to be ignored, or passed by – it is such an important season.
What happens in the winter in nature? If we look out our windows we think, “not much”.
But as a gardener knows, so much is happening under the ground, in spite of the winter on top of the ground. Plants have taken their energy under the ground to draw from the earth, to start the growth process for the next spring. The plants are not dormant, they are living right there under the ground. Have you ever tried to kill a rhubarb plant? They are relentless, they keep coming up no matter if you think you have dug it up entirely or not. It was sitting under the ground waiting for the time to push up and grow produce fruit again.
If you take a seed and plant it, what happens the next day? Nothing.
How about the next? (unless it is a very fast growing seed) Probably still not much.
But in a couple of days, you will see the ground crack and heave as something under the dirt tries to push its way up, a little sprout. That little seed knows exactly when it has the nutrients and roots to start sprouting upward. It has a built-in direction finder.
We as people, need to relish the time God gives us in our winter season as a time to grow in maturity, in getting closer to our roots and becoming one with the environment around us just as seeds get close to the ground and actually die, we too can become close to God who is our root system. We can co-connect with God and as the Bible says: “we can become one” (John 17:21). It is only after this experience and a time of inner growth that we too can push ourselves up and out of the ground into spring. But we must spend the winter developing our roots, our beliefs, our strength so we like the little seed have the energy to push on.
After a long winter season like Covid – many of us have remained stagnant, we pulled in and sat back and waited, not actively growing and learning, because we were waiting for things to go back to how they were. They will not, they never can, because change any change always released an energy and that energy goes forward. Many people will find that life has changed so radically and they will feel like it passed them by because they were hanging onto the past, the used to, the “that’s just how it is supposed to be”.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, new every morning, great is your faithfulness of Lord, great is your faithfulness.” (words to a hymn based on the Bible verse of Psalm 118:1-2, 29)
God is always new, He is always fresh – He is not stagnant. His words and ways have life giving power and even if we cannot see any growth, He is always working, sometimes below the ground.
But have we kept ourselves fresh, new, eager and flexible to adapt to all that God has for us? I am not talking about just physical abilities, but mentally and the flexibility of our hearts and minds to be open to grasp the new that God is bringing onto the earth. Covid was not a “thing” for Him but He used it as a tool to hone and sharpen His people, to sift and weed out those that were not ready for the new and next season. He wants an army of believers who have used this winter season to grow so that when we are released into “spring” we will do so with power and astounding growth that will simply amaze us; all because we took the time to partner with our winter season.