I have been in a winter season for a while now. Adding a third child to the mix has wrecked me in a way that I didn't expect. These hormones and emotions have felt uncontrollable at times. I have uncertainty about everything --> my calling, my giftings, my likes, my wants... heck I even spent a few days questioning if I was truly saved!
It has been cold.
It has been dreary.
It has been lacking in Vitamin D.
I have felt exposed. I walk in a room and feel like a tree that has lost its leaves, naked and bare, like people can see straight into the core of all of my imperfections and insecurities.
I have walked through discouragement as I have felt that I have lost so much. I have been saddened as I look down and see dead leaves all around. I have questioned if I even had anything to offer to the body of Christ. I began to feel that God was done with me. Satan tormented me with the thought that somehow I was disobedient and God moved on to someone who was more faithful.
Oh, satan (you don't even deserve a capital s). You nasty liar you.
God has been so good.
God has shown me that this season is not a wasted season.
He has shown me that the winter is necessary.
He has reminded me of several truths about the winter that I want to share with you.
1. TREES DO NOT DIE IN THE WINTER. They merely go dormant. The dormant season is necessary for healthy growth. According to an article on Mother Nature Network (thanks to a Google search of "do trees die in the winter?"),
"It is possible to force a tree to evade dormancy if you keep it inside and with a stable temperature and light pattern. However, this is usually bad for the tree. It's natural for trees to go through dormancy cycles, and the lifespan of the plant is dramatically increased if the tree is allowed to go dormant for a few months. Trees have winter dormancy for a reason, and it's best to just let them run their course as nature intended."
If you are walking through a winter season, know that you are not dead. God is not through with you. God is just allowing you to be dormant... And this dormancy is normal and necessary at times... which moves me to my next point.
2. THE WINTER IS NECESSARY for pruning and for getting rid of the bugs and the fungus. We have noticed an abnormal amount of bugs in our yard this year. I heard a friend complaining about the fungus in their grass. All of this is theoretically due to us having a mild winter. You see, there must be a dying off of the bad things in order to have a healthy and lush spring. Otherwise there will be an infestation.
When I first started pondering this, I foolishly thought that God was killing off the good and the bad. But then He reminded me of the dormancy.
I'm not dead.
My good things are not being killed off. My good things (dreams, hopes, passions, giftings, etc.) are just lying dormant so God can rid me of the fungus and bugs WITHOUT killing off my good things.
To put it another way, if you use fungus killer on a patch of green grass, you will kill the good and the bad. God in His goodness allows our "good things" to lie dormant so they are not killed by His refining pesticide. If we skip out on winter, our good things grow alongside our bad things, and just like we see in the parable of the seed, eventually, the bad things will choke out the good things. The winter is necessary. Believe it or not, the winter is actually a GOOD THING.
According to The Davey blog,
"Pruning in winter decreases the likeliness for some tree diseases to spread and for large snow accumulations to harm the integrity of a tree’s structure."
That is good truth right there!
My prayer this season has been for God to rid me of evil. To prune me of selfishness. To rid me of fear and insecurity. To expose the things that are a fungus to my growth, and to let those things die. Although it feels at times like the good things have died too, I trust in the Lord that those things have not died. They have just laid dormant so that they are protected while God is ridding my life of the fungus.
3. God has reminded me that AFTER A STRONG WINTER, THERE WILL BE A BEAUTIFUL SPRING. God created 4 seasons for a reason. He did not create a perpetual winter like in Narnia. After winter, spring always comes. And thankfully, God is using this winter to prune me and till the soil of my heart and plant some seeds, and I cannot wait to see the work that the Master Gardener is bringing to completion when it is time to enter the spring!
4. And lastly, when thinking about trees in the winter, I am reminded that DORMANT TREES STILL STAND TALL. And I also will stand tall, even though I feel naked and exposed. I will be a testimony of God's goodness and faithfulness. Although my leaves may not be full and lush right now, my roots and branches are running deep and being insulated by the Word and truth of God, just like snow insulates the tree in the winter.
I want to close with this precious promise found in Psalm 1:2-3- "But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do."
Although at times it feels like I am just a bare tree with no fruit, I am reminded that when I stay connected to the Word, when I continue to draw from His rivers of living water, I CAN and WILL bear fruit - even in the winter seasons - and I will prosper in all that I do.
I am thankful for this winter season God has me in. I trust His faithfulness and will submit to His perfect refining process.
If you are in a winter season right now, remember that God is not finished with you. Guard your mind with the truth that is found in God's Word, because I assure you that satan, that nasty accuser, will try to tell you that God is done with you. But God is not done with you. He is just getting started. Spring is right around the corner!