Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:18
She slammed the SUV door as she plopped down onto the seat, raised her voice to a high pitch, tossed her blonde head forward and screeched, “It’s sooooooo cold outside!!!! I hate Minnesota!!!” Then my daughter returned her voice to normal, sat back in the seat, and asked, “Who am I?”
Everyone in the SUV laughed and looked at me.
Yes. Winter and me. We are not friends. Not since my youth when winter meant snowball fights and snow forts with my brothers, carving snow tunnels with my classmates like voles on caffeine in the shoveled, piled-high snow on the playground and building silly snowmen with my mom outside our farm house.
No. We have long since parted company on good terms. I discovered early that adulting in winter was not nearly as fun. Shoveling off my car every morning to get to work, sometimes even needing a jump-start, or ending up in ditches after skating uncontrollably on icy roads; bundling and unbundling my babies felt like a part-time job, not to mention walking the dogs with numb fingers trying to hold onto leashes while my eyes peak above my scarf hive, watering in the frosty winds while trying to avoid slippery patches…
But, I’m working on it. I’m trying to mend this relationship. I want to live in thankfulness despite of it. And although I will never love winter like I do summer—NEVER—I hope I’m making progress.
I think you would agree that seasons come whether we want them to or not. Spring comes along and offers new life, hope, planting, growing… Summer, which is full of vibrant colors, growth, life, warmth and busyness, appears regardless. Then just when it feels summer is trucking along in full bloom, fall arrives blowing it away and whispering in it’s last crescendo of beauty, hiding for a time that beneath all this gold, orange, and vibrant red, it’s actually dying off, preparing for sleep; then winter, with it’s state of frozenness, appears as quickly as my coffee maker whips me up my morning jolt.
These seasons often look like my life.
Sometimes I am in the spring of a new endeavor, a new project, a new relationship; there is a lot of hope, potential and unfolding growth. Sometimes I am in summer, where I am surrounded by beauty, laughter, warmth, success, movement. Sometimes I live in fall, where everything looks great outside, but inside is inner turmoil. Sometimes I am in winter, a state of frozenness. One where I can hardly think or move. I look around and everything looks hard. Not working. Frozen. So I want to remain frozen as w
But no matter what season I am in, I am who Christ designed me to be. He created me for a plan and a purpose. He redeemed my soul. There is so much to be thankful for. An ungrateful spirit only hurts me and those around me. As his daughter, I am to be the fragrance of Christ no matter what season.
Even in a season of frozenness and hardship, I want to have a spirit of thankfulness. And winter is a great place to start. I can be thankful for the outdoor lights, the smell of pine and hot cider. I can be thankful for the extra time I can carve out to sit with my Savior and listen to what is on his heart. I can praise and thank him for his unfailing love, greatness, holiness, and faithfulness. I can thank him for the gospel, which is incredibly great news and makes every challenge in my life pale in comparison. I can listen as he shows me how I can daily walk out the fragrance of Christ, how I can show his love to others, even as coldness swirls around me.
My nephew and his wife, Desiree, recently walked through a season of winter, a season of hardship. A wife and mother of five, below is her story:
We had left that morning for Robert’s [son] baseball tournament. The lady who built our house was out for a country drive; she noticed smoke coming out of our house and turned around to get service so she could call the fire department. Then another neighbor drove by and attempted to call Glenn [husband].
I was at a garage sale and was headed back to Robert’s game when I saw Glenn running towards me in tears. He guided me out of his truck and took off; our other neighbor was running with him and stopped to tell me our house was on fire.
My neighbor drove me to my home while community members kept kids at the game. When we arrived, the entire house was engulfed in flames. About 10 minutes after I arrived, I watched the roof cave in and my heart hit the floor.
We were trying to locate the dog who had run over the hill when fire trucks arrived. I watched as they put water on the house, and the wind just kept making the flames bigger and bigger.
I was beside myself. Glenn made me go back into town when it was clear they were not going to get the fire out. He didn’t want me watching our memories go up in flames.
By the time I made it back to town, (maybe 45 minutes from the initial phone call), people from the community already had clothes and household items and were headed over to our church basement.
Four different rental homes said we could move in that day, [one being just down the road from our lost home].
In the wake of a tragedy the Lord had us in his hands with the people of the community just doing anything and everything they could do to help us out. It was a blessing and I was just overwhelmed with the kindness we were receiving. By the end of that day, I had to keep asking myself if anything had even happened because we were not wanting for anything. By that time everyone had taken care of our needs and it just kept coming for up to two weeks after the incident. It was only something the Lord could do!
I love how Desiree was able to express a thankful spirit and see the blessing bubbles that floated around her season of tragedy. I love how she still saw God’s goodness and his people walking in love and spreading Christ’s fragrance of care. Even in a season of tragedy, God is always good. And he walks us through even the darkest of days.
The apostle Paul was a great example as well of being thankful in any season he was walking through, and he encouraged Christ followers to do the same.
What season are you in dear friend? Regardless of what season, do you still hear God’s heartbeat for you? He loves you. And he is an amazing God. Although seasons change, he never does. As we travel through a difficult season, we can keep our eyes locked on our season master and walk in peace and thankfulness.
Like the frost on a rose
Winter comes for us all…
Like a seed in the snow
I’ve been buried to grow…
Though the winter is long even richer
The harvest it brings...
Lord I think of Your love
Like the low winter sun
As I gaze I am blinded
In the light of Your brightness
Like a fire to the snow
I’m renewed in Your warmth
Melt the ice of this wild soul
Till the barren is beautiful
I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting
You can see my promise
Even in the winter
Cause You’re the God of greatness
Even in a manger
For all I know of seasons
Is that You take Your time
You could have saved us in a second
Instead You sent a child…
Like a seed You were sown
For the sake of us all
From Bethlehem’s soil
Grew Calvary’s sequoia
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Fantastic read. Love it. Thank you for sharing this with me. I did not realize how well you put your words to pen.