My Winter Season I Thought Was Permanent Death
Sorry for the morbid headline. I've penned a book titled Spring Cleaning Me: A Key to Effectiveness in Your Purpose. After undergoing a significant deep cleaning leading to the development of the book contents, I've since undergone other such deep cleansings of my soul and my spirit, performed by the Spirit of God. Since we all know that Spring isn't the only season in a year, I should not have been taken off guard by a winter season.
Some locations on God's green earth have perpetual Eden-like seasonal temperatures, not every place can boast and market that characteristic. Once I believed the curse had "ruined" the planet. Over the last few years, I've reconsidered my position based on several factors, including: 1) I like all four season--emphasis on 4 (if you've lived in the Midwest, you may note some seasons are remarkably absent!), 2) I've learned that the frost and the cold allow some seeds to germinate through the winter in order to produce a fruitful crop in due season, and 3) My mentors challenged the position that the unpleasant cold was a product of the curse. Though extremes are bad, some natural phenomenon have significant purposes.
One example comes to the mind of this first-generation Puerto Rican familiar with the devastation of hurricane season is how hurricanes bring sand from the Saharan desert to replenish our beautiful shorelines eroded over the months preceding this God-ordained hurricane season. He did not, however, ordain that we build houses in the path of naturally occurring phenomena. Likewise, He has nothing to do with the poor choices and corner-cutting, money-saving practices such as not reinforcing the levees in like New Orleans. The world needs to understand that God is not absent nor does He fall asleep, allowing calamity to strike. Likewise, since we love our free will, it's important to point out the dangers of unbridled free will.
After going through another "Spring Cleaning" and training for God's will for me, I underwent a deep freeze. My winter season was harsh. HARSH. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what in the world I did to end up in a place that seemed unpleasant and incongruous with what He was speaking directly to me and through His messengers. Now that I've come through, returning to warmer temperatures and fruitful crops, I realize that winter season has been necessary to blossom into the place where I am today. "Losing momentum" doesn't feel fun for a competitive overachiever. I place "losing momentum" in quotations because of Proverbs 3:5-6. My opinions and my perspective may not align with His. It's possible that I'm leaning on my own understanding. In such cases, my understanding is irrelevant and my personal opinion is a moot point. He gave me a brain, capable of independent thought and opinions, but He's also given me His Spirit which understand His thoughts.
Hooray for Winter! Learn to recognize where you are for what it really is. Do not become despondent, especially because the enemy will want to confuse you and whisper falsehoods in your ears. Sometimes, he uses the most unlikely of emissaries, including people who have no business lending themselves to his purposes. Jesus experienced a variety of persons and temperaments among the 12, including Peter, who under the influence of the filthy lying devil, uttered absolute nonsense against Jesus' mission to redeem humanity. Learn from your Savior. At times, it's essential to call the devil out and tell him to "get thee behind me", without regard to whom's feelings you may hurt. Drs. Cloud and Townsend in their Boundaries book differentiate between hurt and harm; they are very different things. I say not all pain is bad. If pain were to be avoided at all cost, you and I would not have been born. We would not have learned to walk after a fall. We would either still have our baby teeth or be toothless, etc.
Don't fight your winter season. The ups and downs, peaks and valleys of life are equally as important. Whenever you find yourself discouraged, read Ecclesiastes 3. There's a time for everything. The Creator never ordains anything without purpose. Even the painful periods of your life can be used for His purposes. Trust me, I'm a poster child for this principle.