Life was full of meaning and vitality.
Then, something happened.
It was slow, but it began in my heart. The dreams of yesterday began to die and tomorrow’s plans became unknown. Things that had meaning suddenly didn’t. My values shifted and I was unaware of why.
A dramatic shift was taking place deep within my soul and I became restless. Life felt commonplace. Everything seemed a little too ordinary. I sensed the whisper of a promise of things to come.
Little did I know that the restlessness was preparation and a warning that winter was around the corner. It came. It was harsh and brought with it confusion, hurt, and fear. The storms were such that all my skill in the world could not push it back or make it go away. I chose to embrace it. I did what I could to get help. I sought after God. I surrounded myself with people who could see into my life in ways that I couldn’t.
I was in the “winter of my soul”.
Major changes were taking place that I could not see nor identify. God was asking me for everything. Truly, everything. As I, begrudgingly at times, began to release to Him, He gave me a deep assurance and promise that there would be healing and restoration. He walked with me. There were bright moments. I knew He cared. It still hurt. He gave me promises, scriptures, many words from others and continually reminded me that He was with me. He gave everything I needed for every single day. He had given me a promise of the future. He wanted me to keep my eyes on Him and the promise even when I could not see my way through the pain and sometimes, despair.
“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 33:11
I began to look back and I noticed that things were changing. Healing was taking place. Laughter could be heard once again. Progress had been made and restoration was taking place.
Do you find yourself in the winter of your soul?
I would like to share with you a few ways that you can survive and make the most of it.
1. Don’t fight it: Anger and resentment will only will make things worse. The sooner you accept that you are in a difficult place and tough things are happening, the more you can grow and learn through the experience. Pray that God will help you accept it and that He will give you direction as to how to make the most of the time you find yourself in. Use a prayer journal where you note specific requests and write down the answers. It’s important to see that God is at work…still.
2. Get help: You may need to talk to your pastor, or work through your hurt with a counsellor or mentor. Don’t be too proud or afraid to do so. Surround yourself with several key people that you share specific prayer requests with. The tendency will be to lose perspective. When you have a strong network of resources around you, you can face even the toughest of days.
3. Walk with God: He wants you to love Him and trust Him completely. He wants to be your everything. As you seek after Him, He will give you all you need to walk through the dark days. He will guide you as you move forward. He will only do this as you ask of Him.
- Read your Bible each day
- Helpful scriptures: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Isaiah 61:1-4; Jeremiah 33:1-11; Psalm 5:3; Psalm 107; John 15:1-8; John 16:12-15; James 1:6; Hebrews 10:35-36
- Read devotionals such as “Jesus Calling”
- Keep a prayer journal
4. Be thankful: It may seem impossible to be thankful and celebrate difficulties, but as soon as you do, you begin to see things that are clearly signs that God is walking with you and that He cares about you. It could be something realizing that you have someone in your life who is walking the journey with you, or it could be simply starting by being thankful that things are not worse. There are always things to be thankful for. As you express thanks, it will change your perspective and the journey will not be quite as difficult.
Make the most of the difficulty you find yourself in. God wants to be your everything and as you cling to Him, He will carry you through the rockiest points. You will reflect and see that He has really met you and done some special things that only He could do. Spring always comes after the winter is over. Keep your focus on the promise of the future.