By Dale Skram
By this time of the year I am over winter. Anyone else? I am tired of shoveling my driveway. Tired of static in my hair. Tired of cleaning the drippings of snow sludge off my floors. And I am definitely tired of being stuck inside all the time. Enough already.
This year my feelings are compounded by the fact that I am also stuck in the spiritual season of winter, that bare and lonely season of the soul. My own winter arrived with the death of my marriage, but your winter season might come through loss, crisis, burnout or illness.
Winter is a season of forced inactivity, a low period in life, a time of trial and suffering. Winter is hard. Unlike the rainbow of colors that pop and bloom in spring, life loses color in winter and becomes gray. So does my mood and my outlook on life.
And then there is the winter pruning, that barbaric practice of cutting off limbs. It is supposed to be good for trees, to shape and direct future growth. But when I undergo pruning, it hurts!
As a woman who values work and productivity, winter is particularly hard for me because there is no apparent work to be done. Winter is a season of dormancy and rest in which nothing seems to be happening. And that makes me feel useless and forgotten. It makes me wonder what Jesus' disciples
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experienced in the space of time between his crucifixion but before his resurrection. Useless and forgotten, because circumstances had taken a dark turn.
But we know the end of the story, don't we? God acted. Jesus rose. New life began.
So it is with our winters. Great things are happening under the surface of our hard stories that we cannot see yet. And sometimes things need to be cleared out to make room for these new happenings. "He cuts off every branch
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in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." John 15:2
It may still be cold and dark out, but Jesus reserves the deepest intimacy for this season. And since I seem to have some extra time, I am using it to pray and journal more, to build my faith, and embrace the deeper work that God is doing in my heart and my life so that I will be ready for spring.
Dale Skram is a speaker, writer and life coach who lives in Boulder, Colorado with her four daughters, ages 10-17. Connect with her at www.daleskram.com.