Winter: In Nature and In Our Souls

A winter blizzard walloped us with 13+ inches of snow on the 14th. This was in addition to 12+ inches we already received this month. Then on the 18th, another 6+ inches. Will spring ever come?

I admit I’m as winter weary as this donkey…


I try to focus on the beauty in it though. Such unique patterns, both in the snow and in frost on the windows. No one but our powerful God can do that!

I’m also awed by the untrodden pureness of the snow, and sometimes it stirs up a longing desire:

“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Psalm 51:7

In the freezing temperatures of this prolonged winter, God reminded me of His tender care over the birds. It’s amazing how He has equipped them. They fluff their feathers to trap heat. This slows their metabolism so they can conserve energy necessary to survive.

And just think, God counts us even more valuable than them! (Matthew 10:29-31)

On the morning after the blizzard, I was looking out our office window at all the snow. My heart sighed. Then a house finch flew in and perched on our dwarf globe evergreen. Even though he couldn’t see me through our tinted windows, it seemed he looked directly at me like he was saying, “Don’t lose heart. Spring will come.” Thank You, God, for the hope You breathed into my weary soul!

His mate perched on the nest box like she wasn’t ready to give up either. They had started building a nest in it, but it filled up with snow. That snow has melted, so hopefully they will build again.

As in the winter in nature, so also God has a purpose in the winters we experience in our spiritual lives. When one of life’s storms rips away someone or something we treasure and devastates our hearts and lives, we may feel forsaken by God.

When C.S. Lewis lost his wife, he slipped into depression. He wondered where God was in his suffering and grief. In one of his publications, A Grief Observed, he described what it was like. “But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside.”

That can be what it feels like, can’t it? But God taught him a valuable lesson because of this winter of the soul. “My idea of God is a not divine idea. It has to be shattered from time to time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast. Could we not almost say that this shattering is one of the marks of His presence?”

We so easily trust in our own strength, and our perceptions about God can be far less than who He really is. When He does His work in us to bring us to the right place, it truly is a mark of His loving presence, even if we can’t “feel” it.

The winters of the soul strengthen our relationship with God. In nature, trees are dormant. They appear dead, but below the frozen ground, their roots are stretching and strengthening, actually fortifying the well-being of the tree. In the same way, we need to be rooted more firmly in Jesus. Our souls may feel dead and barren, but God is growing our roots stronger.

I have to admit after I wrote this, I feel better about winter. πŸ™‚ But I still long for spring and all its new life! It’s coming!

“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.

Isaiah 55:10-11
If I go east, He is not there,
and if I go west, I cannot perceive Him.
When He is at work to the north, I cannot see Him;
when He turns south, I cannot find Him.
Yet He knows the way I have taken;
when He has tested me,Β I will emerge as pure gold.

Job 23:8-10
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord,
you must continue to follow him.
Let your roots grow down into him,
and let your lives be built on him.
Then your faith will grow strong
in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:6-7

“Seasons”
by Hillsong Worship

“Like the frost on a rose
Winter comes for us all
Oh how nature acquaints us
With the nature of patience
Like a seed in the snow
I’ve been buried to grow
For Your promise is loyal
From seed to sequoia…”

 

33 thoughts on “Winter: In Nature and In Our Souls

  1. Beautiful photos and even better message! Perhaps this is why I love spring so much… the promise of better things if I’m patient and trust in Him! HUGS to you, Trudy and I hope you guys thaw out soon! ❀

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. πŸ™‚ I love spring so much, too. Yes, the “promise of better things.” After winters, springs become even sweeter. πŸ™‚ We are thawing out! Most of the snow is melted, and I think spring is here to stay. At least, I hope so! May God renew and revive our hearts, too!

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      1. We had near 70 degree weather yesterday; I felt so productive cleaning the back patio in anticipation of summer gatherings and barbecues. And today… It is snowing again 😦 I keep telling myself… we NEED the moisture; that water will be what grows my grass/hay to feed my animals! So… the art of patience is one we must all learn. This WILL make spring/warmer weather all the more sweeter ❀

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    1. I knew you would, Jennifer. πŸ™‚ He actually had a little cart behind him that I planted flowers in, but that crumbled. So we just set him up to look over our little piece of landscaping, perennials, and flowers between our condo and our neighbor’s. πŸ™‚

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      1. I obviously have a soft spot for anything donkey but I never forget the true spiritual nature of them. While Jack can be fiesty (so much so that another donkey owner told me I should “put him down” (unbelievable but true!), Jack has healed my soul in so many ways! Coming from a donkey… there is no mystery where his healing came from!

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        1. Yes, God truly sent you and Jack to each other. πŸ™‚ I love reading your stories about your relationship with him. He has been hurt, so he better understands your hurts, and vice versa. I’m glad you accept him just as he is. Just like God accepts us just as we are. πŸ™‚

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  2. What an absolutely beautiful post, dear Trudy! So thankful that God uses all the seasons of our lives to draw us closer to Him! Thank you for reminding me of this in such a powerful way. Love and huge hugs to you, dear Trudy! ❀

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  3. So sorry winter is still hanging on where you live, Trudy, but oh, the wonderful photos you’ve shared here! And I remember feeling as C. S. Lewis when I lost my husband years ago; reading A Grief Observed was paradoxically comforting and painful. God is always with us, even when we can’t “feel” His presence.
    Blessings, my friend!

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    1. Oh Martha, I’m so sorry you lost your first husband. I never realized that. Losing a spouse must be so devastating. Yes, God is always with us, even when we can’t “feel” His presence. He will never abandon us, even when it feels like He has. I’m grateful you still have Danny. Having lost your first husband, that must have been doubly scary for you when he was having health problems. Blessings to you, too! May we daily remember God is faithful, whether or not we “feel” Him with us!

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  4. WOW you guys have had a lot of snow! I’m sorry. And I can fully see why you’re ready for spring!! I loved the photos you shared, especially the birds. Isn’t it amazing how God sends those little signs of hope for us? And that finch…loved the red feathers and quirked neck. πŸ™‚

    I’m saying a prayer for you today, my friend, and sending lots of love and hugs and virtual sunshine!

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    1. Yes, I think we had a record-breaker for snow here in April. Today it’s chilly and rainy, but on the whole, this week’s temps look much better. Yesterday was close to 70. It was such a joy to walk outside. πŸ™‚ I hope spring is here to stay! Yes, it’s amazing how God sends us those little signs of hope. The way that finch quirked his neck and seemed to be looking directly at me was awesome. πŸ™‚ Thank you for your prayers, Jeanne! Sending lots of love and hugs back to you! May we daily open our hearts to hope in Jesus, no matter what the season is!

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  5. Dear Trudy,
    Thank you so much for sharing more about your beautiful visit from Mr. & Mrs. Finch! I love that photo of Mrs. perched on the snowy house. What a beautiful print or card that would make. I love how God finds His ways to speak to us and bring His Hope to us. Your post was so uplifting to me today, while we are in the recovery season. But thank God He is in the waiting times with us too! Blessings, love and hugs to you my friend!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Bettie. I, too, love how God finds His ways to bring hope to our hearts. I’m so glad this post lifted you today. The recovery season can be difficult in the waiting. I’m so glad you at least have a nurse to help you with care taking. I know it’s not easy for you. I pray God will heal your husband quickly and give you both strength for each day! Blessings, love, and hugs to you, too! May the hope we have in Jesus daily lift us up and carry us through!

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    1. It’s a record-breaker for snow in April for us. I think spring has finally arrived now. I hope! Thank you for the lovely flowers and butterfly, Savannah. They bring smiles to my heart. πŸ™‚ I love the title of your blog. πŸ™‚ May we not only cling to our hope in Jesus, but may we rejoice in it!

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  6. I love everything about this, Trudy … the pictures, the C.S. Lewis quotes, your application, all of it! We’ve had a couple of snowstorms this month too, but nothing like what you’ve had! Here’s to spring coming soon! Hugs, friend. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Lois. I think spring may finally be here! The snow melted already. We were amazed that the sprouting day lilies that got buried under snow are still alive and even greener. πŸ™‚ And the birds are getting more lively, too. Hugs back to you, too! As we treasure the new life in spring, may our hearts bloom with love for our Jesus!

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  7. Trudy-I can’t believe you got so much snow at this time of the year! I would be tired of it too! The bird pictures are so cute! Winters can be so hard especially when they are in your soul. I have had times like this – I don’t like them but they do seem times of great growth. Your picture of the roots is perfect and comforting – when it seems like nothing is happening this will help me take heart. Underneath we are growing and God is working even in the dark. Thanks for this Trudy! xoxox

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    1. Yes, those winters of the soul are especially hard, Susie. I don’t like them either, but like you, I have to admit they are the times of growth. Yes, underneath we are growing and God is working in the dark! I’m glad it comforts you. May we remember that God is always working for us, not against us, even when we don’t “feel” Him.

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  8. Oh I know, I know the winters of the soul can grow us deep in our faith and our reliance on Christ. But I still yearn for the sunshine and the warmth that comes once again. Joy comes in the morning.

    I am so grateful He doesn’t abandon us in the darkness.

    Thanks, Trudy …

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    1. Oh yes, I still yearn for the sunshine and warmth, too, Linda! I’m so grateful, too, that He doesn’t abandon us in the darkness. May we remember in those dark times that He is still with us and He is making us more like Him!

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  9. Wow, what a winter wonderland you have revealed here, Trudy! It looks so beautiful but I can see why you might have tired of this landscape by now. Too much of anything makes us feel jaded, doesn’t it? Even the good things could leave us feeling overly satiated if that were all we experienced. Praise God for changing seasons and for the spring that is to come for you! And for those glorious birds you have captured, already revealing faith and hope in action. May the roots give way to shoots and new blooms bearing fruit. I love the photos you have shared but I do hope and pray the weather improves for you soon. Blessings, love and hugs! xo ❀

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    1. Praising God with you, Joy, for changing seasons. They all serve a purpose, but spring and all its new life always fortifies the hope in me. πŸ™‚ I think spring has finally come to stay, though there is still a chill in the air. Thank you for your kind words and prayers! Praying with you that the roots give way to shoots and new blooms bearing fruit in nature, but above all in our hearts! Blessings, love, and hugs back to you!

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  10. “…our perceptions about God can be far less than who He really is.” This is so true, friend! Your photos are beautiful and the lesson here is a tender reminder of His love and care for us. I hope your world is looking much different these days, friend. Happy Spring!

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    1. Thank you, June. Spring has finally sprung here to stay! πŸ™‚ I love seeing all the new life and the birds picking up their tunes. I’m often guilty of perceiving God far less than who He really is. But He is so patient and understanding. May we more deeply learn of His faithful character of love and grace!

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