It’s been a long winter.
Cold, dark, and let’s face it, depressing at times. Talk of the coming season creeps into our conversations. The kids are excited about green grass and monkey bars (and I am, too). We anticipate new life – flowers budding and colors changing from dreary browns to vibrant greens. Even the birds and bunnies grace us with their song and bounce. Spring tells us to lift up our eyes, push back our shoulders and take a deep, refreshing breath. The dearth of winter is over and a new, exciting season has begun!
I’ve felt quite cooped up during these long, snowy days. Trying to entertain two energetic kids without destroying the house (or going crazy) has definitely been a challenge. We can only visit the pet store and Chick fil-A so many times in a week!
Not many people dislike spring (unless they suffer from allergies 🙂.
It brings joy. It brings energy. It brings pleasure.
Yet, the seasons are so temporary. Spring won’t last forever. And all those “feelings” that come with it are fleeting.
Every person alive is in search of lasting joy, lasting energy, lasting fulfillment, lasting pleasure – a lasting “spring.” Christian woman, we can have all those things, all the time! We don’t have to live life in cold, blue shades even if it is the dead of winter.
The Lord knows where we’re at. He knows our down-sitting and our up-rising. He knows when we need encouragement, when we need those feelings of worth and fulfillment. Often when we’re in the midst of a spiritual winter, our eyes are lowered and our shoulders are drooped as if we’ve experienced defeat and the air around us feels heavy and polluted. During those low times, it is human nature to look to those closest to us – our spouse or a close girlfriend.
Sometimes we think we know where we’re at and we think we know what we need.
Earlier this year I found myself in the dead of winter – both literally and emotionally…and perhaps even spiritually. I felt like I was spinning my wheels… laboring and seeing no fruit; trying and it not being enough. People were bigger than God (even little people). I knew that if I could only trust and obey Him, if I could only stop leaning unto my own understanding, if I would only acknowledge Him, He would direct my paths.
I’ve found that often when winter has set in our soul, the best response is confession. God is so good to use trials and difficult people and circumstances to bring US to repentance.
The Lord knew where I was at. He knew just what I needed. In the midst of those weighted trials, even when the ground was still frozen over, He brought spring – He brought life! For the Christian, there truly is no greater joy, or fulfillment, or pleasure, or success, or burst of energy, than to witness the new birth! I liken it to a baby being born – the overwhelming amazement that this child, who was just moments ago in the womb, is now breathing and in your arms! There is nothing like it. Both the physical and spiritual births are a miracle and are life-changing.
This is the pinnacle of joy for the Christian.
When we’re involved in spiritual, supernatural work – sowing the Word, watering the seed of the Word, or reaping the harvest (see: 1 Corinthians 3:7, 8 and Psalm 126:5, 6) – we will experience joy, fulfillment, and worth! We understand why we were created! We see more clearly His will for our lives! Our outlook on life completely changes.
So, why do we neglect this spiritual work if it brings so much good into our lives? Why do we pour so much energy into ourselves and our things? Why? Is it because we’re not joyful or fulfilled and still in want? Why do we spend so much of our time trying to portray a good self-image (in person or online)? Is it because we think it’ll bring lasting worth? Dear sister, it won’t. The world makes these same attempts and we know it is all vanity. (see: Matthew 6:21)
If you find yourself still in the dark, gloomy, dead of winter… if the only things that seem to bring a momentary ounce of joy is a bar of chocolate or a new home project, then let me exhort you to throw yourself into something that will bring a much longer-lasting joy: that is actively involving yourself in the spiritual well-being of others. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to the people who need to be reached…to the ones who need the Savior.
I had nothing to do with bringing that young lady to the knowledge of the truth. I never witnessed to her. But when I reaped the harvest, it was as if my loving Creator whispered to me, “Jackie, this is my plan for you. Why do you think stuff and status will bring you joy? This is what will bring you lasting joy!”
That was my shot in the arm. That was my turn of the season. My perspective had changed. My goals were shifted.
We can have spring in our hearts all year round when we choose to be involved in this all-joyful, all-fulfilling, all-energizing task called others.
Jackie had the privilege of being raised in a pastor’s home where she was personally mentored by her mother. She has a passion for teaching and encouraging young ladies throughout their teenage years.
She and her husband, Chris, serve the Lord together at LVBC and currently have four children, Robby, Lauren, Daniel and Matthew.