August 7, 2012

A Soul-Filled Winter

In my heart and in my life I'm very much in a winter season. I have been for a while now, but for the past three or four weeks I've had to feel that weight more than I want to. It feels (and I almost hate to say it) cold between me and God. I lay awake at three in the morning staring at my ceiling with hideous thoughts invading my mind. For months I've had extremely vivid dreams... or rather nightmares, which wasn't the "norm" for me until now. I walk around feeling burdened all the time... like a deep sadness descended upon my heart and it will not lift no matter how hard I try. I trust this is just a season and it will eventually come to a close and a new one will begin... because it's always worked like that before. But some days it's all very disheartening and all the patience is drained out of me. I feel a little like Hannah (whose story is told in the first chapter of 1Samuel): Barren. By no means am I desiring a literal child as she did, but I do feel that gnawing emptiness that fills me that must have filled her as well. When I think of Hannah she just impresses upon me of being in a grievous spirit until Samuel was conceived and birthed.

As I lay there in bed the other night, woken by a horrible nightmare, on the verge of tears, I started thinking about trees. Odd? Perhaps. But I began to wonder what on earth do trees really do during the winter months. Here winter isn't the most prettiest of seasons unless one intentionally seeks it out. The limbs are bare, and the sky takes on continual hues of gray and mucky blue until mid April. Trees remain still unless rattled by a harsh winter wind, but I'd think there would be great things at work in their root system during those frigid months in order to keep them alive. (I don't know much about trees so your guess is as good as mine I suppose.) It's not spring. I don't see fruitfulness I so desire to see in my life.

I'm trying to read more about the love of God. But it's hard. It all sorta just falls flat. Like I'm numbed to it by the frost. I don't feel loved by God by any means. I open up my Bible and the only words that pop out of the page are words like 'wrath' and 'judgement.' Maybe I'm spending too much time in the Old Testament. I read, but I don't get any enjoyment or delight out of it. A couple of times I've just wanted to toss the thing across the room... but it's heavy and I have zero upper body strength. And an unspoken rule against book throwing.

Living in an eternal spring, summer, and even fall (when harvest occurs) would be wonderful. But without the winter perhaps fruit wouldn't be anticipated with such excitement. I look forward to when July rolls around and I get to eat that homemade raspberry pie or blackberry cobbler that I haven't been able to enjoy all year long. Berries are not bountiful all year round (naturally). And I think this is true for spiritual fruit as well. There has to be the winter before the spring. In the gospels Jesus says He is like a vine, and we are the branches, therefore abide. Abide... something for me to contemplate and dwell on.
In our seasons there is an order visible to God, even when we walk in darkness and see no light. We have our winters, in which the sap is prepared in secret to produce the clusters of summer... ~Charles H. Spurgeon
Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: He casteth forth His ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, He is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction! ~Charles H. Spurgeon


  1. you can't have spring without winter :)

  2. I seem to go through a season of winter every year, near the end of winter. February-April always seems to be my dry season. Thankfully spring always comes around, and is that much more beautiful after enduring a winter season.
    I'm praying for you during this time.

  3. Your honesty and vulnerbility in this post is so refreshing. Sometimes admitting the fact that you feel barren and numb is the first step of progressing into a new season. I know this season stinks, but it will end. Maybe not in the time that you hoped or anticipated, but it will end.

  4. Very well written Natalie. I'm glad you can share and sort through your feelings like this. Spring would not seem quite as sweet without us having gone through a rough and often barren winter season. Hang in there!

  5. yes, death brings life. i even think about autumn in times of suffering... the leaves have to die in order to change into all those vibrant colors. keep abiding in Him... your present sufferings are nothing compared to your future glory in Christ!

  6. oh mannnnnnn have i lived I adore Spurgeon, so so much. wish I had known who he was in my times of hell and in the pit. but i'm sure there will be plenty more. thank you SO much for sharing this natalie!!! the "analogy" helps A LOT.


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