Are you in the winter of the soul, a season of darkness and barrenness? Maybe you wonder if there could ever be a spring again.
January is cold, even here in the South. The trees are bare. The ground is hard. The grass is pale. Life is asleep.
Sometimes my inner life looks like the winter landscape. Someone I love is gone, I feel rejected or deserted, and circumstances have sapped my hopes. The cold wind of loss whips at the tender skin of my cheeks, and I seek out shelter. A safe place.
Last week, I looked at my dead lawn and the naked oak tree limbs. And I suddenly realized the irony – we celebrate the New Year inside the season that brings us lifeless terrain. We celebrate new beginnings during winter, a time of death.
I remember times my life felt burned down to the ground. Lifeless. I wondered how I could get through the devastation. I wondered if I’d ever be happy again.
But in the midst of that winter of my soul, I clung to hope. And I clung to God. I’d lived long enough to know that spring isn’t just possible but probable.
How do you begin again in the middle of a personal winter?
Believe In Spring. We must first believe in new beginnings – for the here and now and for the coming Spring. We will get through loss, and we will see our lives blossom again. This is the cycle of life.
Believe In Love. Especially after a loss, God may seem distant or even heartless. We can’t wrap our minds around why he doesn’t end suffering. This is the time to dig deep. Ask God “why,” and then listen. Be teachable. He loves to bring good things from bad.
Strategize for Spring. As stark as winter can be, it also can serve as a time of preparation. Planting starts with clearing. We discard the tangle of debris that does not serve us anymore, and we prepare the soil of our soul for new seed.
Enlist Support. We need help when our reserves are tapped. We need the emotional support of a spouse and / or a friend, and we may need a professional – or someone who’s “been there” to guide us.
Trust the Timing. Regardless of what measures we take, we cannot completely control circumstances and outcomes. Don’t give up! Spring is coming!
Even in the midst of the “winter” of horrifying grief, we can find strength for new beginnings. Look to God, huddle with friends, and start with tomorrow. Each day gives us a chance to begin again.
What is one step you will take this week to begin again in this “winter”?
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