Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Winter of the Soul

reflections on loss, seasons, writing droughts, thoughts

Life travels on with its ebbs and flows, and then, it smacks you upside the head with a major change, ... or three.

You've probably noticed the blog has been pretty quiet this month. It's not that there weren't things to write about, I just did not feel like I should write least not yet. 

This fall our family has gone through three major changes. One is usually enough to make me step back and reflect a while before writing, but three? I just needed to wait until God told me it was time to write again. 

In November I wrote out my editorial calendar for December. It had 25 blog posts scheduled. There have been exactly six posts this month before this one, and two of them were written by Arlene. Obviously, things changed from my plan. It was a combination of the three big changes, time spent reading the book of Hebrews, and a strong conviction that instead of writing, I needed to rest. Rest in God, rest from extra social interactions, just rest.

By now I know you might be wondering about those three changes, so here they are, in no particular order:
1- Kurt's mother passed away
2- I started a new job
3- our youngest graduated high school

The ending of two things and the beginning of a new one, all at the same time. Winter is not a bad season, but it can be a tough one to navigate - a tough time to find beauty and joy.  I chose to title this post The Winter of the Soul because I know there are many of you out there going through changes as well. May it encourage you that there is beauty to be found, and peace to be experienced. You are not the only person with going through a winter in your soul, feeling adrift, or bereft. Change can be good and still be hard to navigate. Change can bring loss, yet still give you a reason to find joy. Change can be expected, and still leave you wondering.

Winter can be like that too, expected, but cold. Death and loss as the plants prepare for a resurrection in the Spring. And regardless of what anyone tells you, winter can be expected, and still leave you surprised when it arrives!

Our souls are kept by God. Winter does not surprise Him. Our changes and struggles to adjust are known by Him - He knows us, and loves us, and wants us to rest in Him. When we rest in God, in our surety of forgiveness and salvation in Christ, then Winter does not bring sadness, it is just another season of Joy. You cannot come to maturity in Christ without going through testing and trials. Your faith is refined by the seasons of life that you walk through with Him. 

As I look back at how God has matured me this year, even just this past month, I understand more about rest, and why it is so vital. To rest you must surrender. You must stop striving and trust that God is working out all of the details. You lay down the good things, and wait for Him to fill your hands and heart with the best things. You listen for His voice. It might be a quiet whisper in the trees when you take a walk in the woods, or it might be a startling "no" when you try to pursue an idea. I have never heard God's thundering voice like the Israelites did on the mountainside with Moses, but I have heard it just the same. 

God called me to rest, in preparation for the things He has prepared for me to do. A week or so ago I sat down and brainstormed a few ideas for writing for 2019. Apparently God has prepared quite a few things for me to do. :)

I have officially retired from homeschooling. It was a freeing and wonderful feeling. Just some scores left to punch into the transcript program, and a few books left to sell. Arlene is really happy to be done as well. We celebrated lunch on her last day at Chik-fil-A. 

While we will no longer be homeschoolers, there is still much to share with you about homeschooling, and I hope it will be an encouragement to those of you still on that journey. 

For those of you who are not homeschooling, there will be plenty about parenting, family time, nature walks, and road trips!

The girls and I have spent the past two weeks together enjoying the freedom of no deadlines. Emily had already registered for her classes for next semester, so after finals were over, we just picked some fun destinations. The girls have decided that I need to include a new feature in our road trip columns - museum food. Which ones are worth the money, and where you should pack a picnic lunch instead. ;)

Tomorrow will still be winter, but my soul is at peace, resting in the loving arms of my Heavenly Father.

Stop back by soon - there is much to share!

1 comment:

  1. This was encouraging for me to read today. Nothing "big" has happened in my world, but I've been feeling restless and often a bit sad because I see changes on the horizon as my youngest will graduate in 2019, and there are some things that are turning out differently than I'd expected. I know God's got this and he is in control, but it's easy to forget that and to fidget and fret instead of watching and waiting to see how his plan unfolds. :-) Looking forward to the things you'll be sharing here as 2019 gets underway.