Encouragement for a Long Winter

Encouragement for a Long Winter

It seems to me by the time mid-February comes around, people are tired of winter. In Minnesota, it’s been cold since November, so we’re plenty tired of that. Combine that with the shorter days and longer periods of darkness and you can see why this time of year leaves many of us feeling blue. I recently heard that this January in Minnesota was one of the darkest, dreariest months on record. We just didn’t see much sun! I remember a two week period of clouds. That gets really depressing.

Since God designed the seasons and the different climates, I don’t think He is surprised when we experience winter blues. And I decided that since He isn’t surprised and since He loves us a lot, I bet He has some encouragement for us. I decided to dig for some encouragement because that’s where I’m at right now.

When we do have moments of discouragement and blue moods, it is important to turn to a source that will actually help us. For many of us, our first response is to mindlessly scroll Instagram or Facebook. But as I was just discussing with some friends, social media is just littered with other people’s vacations to tropical destinations. And while I’m happy for those who got to escape the winter, it does nothing to help my attitude. What I need is something unchanging, steadfast and honest. God’s word!

What does God say about winter? What can help us out of our winter blues?

One of my favorite verses about winter is one a friend of mine found last year. It’s found in Proverbs 31:21. “She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes” (NLT) Yes, the Proverbs 31 woman was prepared for winter, and she welcomed it! She knew her family had provisions and supplies and they would be fine. She accepted that it was coming and planned for it.

I know she’s like, an ideal of a perfect woman, but I think we can learn something from her in the lines of practicality. We will survive winter. And more than just survive, we can be thankful during winter. Most of us live in warm houses and have plenty of warm clothes. The fact that I have a car with working heat to drive my kids to school is something I thank God for each day. Even in the dreary winter months, we have plenty for which to be thankful!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 2b tell  us, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to plant and a time to harvest.” If I were to continue on with King Solomon’s sentiments, I would add, “There is a time for spring and a time for fall, a time for summer and a time for winter.”

I think during winter, a lot of us struggle with contentment. We are wishing away the current season, longing for spring and summer to come. But as the verses in Ecclesiastes points out, everything has its time. And because I’m a farmer’s wife, I’ve learned even more about the seasons and the need for each one. During winter when the ground freezes up here, pests and fungi die. That helps farmers when the growing season comes back around. God created every season with a purpose. We will find the most joy in life if we go with God and find pleasure in each season. Winter is a great time to try some new activities or just play in the snow like a kid!

Contentment is hard. I would even go so far as to say it is spiritual discipline, one that must be practiced and strengthened. The Apostle Paul mentioned that he found the secret of contentment. In Philippians 4, he explained,

“not that I was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing, or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (11-13)

Paul faced persecution and danger for sharing the gospel of Jesus, and yet he found contentment, or “a state of happiness or satisfaction.” Again, most of us are not facing the same type of things Paul faced, we just have some cold weather. No matter what we face, the answer is the same: Jesus.

Need strength to get through a dark day? Jesus. Need joy in your daily grind? Jesus. Need peace in times of stress? Jesus.

As we face the rest of the winter, which for Minnesotans could rage on till April, let’s seek more Jesus. He is joy. He is peace. He is strength. We find all we need in Him.

“Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:33

 

***Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Kristen Johnson

Kristen is an "accidental farmer's wife" and stay-at-home mom of 3. Accidental, because it was never in her plan to "just" be a mom. But it was God's. Former English teacher now turned MOPS Coordinator and Speaker, Kristen now writes at nap-time, blogging about her silly kids and her farming adventures, as a mom Called by God. She lives in Minnesota on a farm with her family, dog and 5 cats.