Winter, Wilderness and Warfare

Part 27 rolled around like clockwork. Unexpectedly ,my personal winter announced itself in the late spring of 2019. By summer, life as I had known it came mostly undone.


Here’s what the undoing exposed,

Here’s what my soil unearthed,

Here’s what the toxicity report of my heart revealed.


My soil was shallow.

My seed was being chocked up by the thorns of ambition, performance and expectations,

My nutrients needed replenishing,

My life had established its identity and security in temporary things.


When I wasn’t doing anything worth applauding,

When I didn’t have anything to show,

I didn’t know who I was anymore.


This is what internal winter will make you do,

You will stare longingly through the glass screens,

At your peers frolicking in their summers.

You will sit on the windowsills of devices and scroll,

With tinges of envy, disappointment and disdain.


You will begin questioning what you ever did wrong to God.


Here’s what wildernesses reveal,

They reveal who is really for you,

Who will come out to meet you in prayer and encouragement,

In dry and desolate heart places.


It is during internal winters and heart blizzards,

That the fiery flames of the prayers and presence of deep friends,

And sweet strangers melt away at your icy heart.


The Word chips away the lies of the enemy freezing up your heart and head,

The Fountain of living water pours out on the dry cracks of your soul,

God's word and God's people remind you that you are never what you produced,

That who you will always be is unswervingly rooted in who you are,

Loved, cared for and remembered by the God of all seasons.


Here’s what I’d say about part 27 so far,

To consider it pure joy,

To stay firm during trial,

To embrace disappointment,

To slow down to His pace,

To rest in His presence,

To measure myself by His standard,

To be comfortable in the unknowing,

To be resilient in the belief of His faithfulness.

To rework my spiritual arithmetic,

To count it all joy.

ALL.

Without subtracting winter, wilderness and warfare from the equation.


For what we see as losses and subtractions will one day lead to gains if we remain in Him.


In the winter, wilderness and warfare,

What you esteemed is recalibrated,

What you had an appetite for us shifted,

Your taste buds are cleansed,

Your vision is cleared.


In winter you have nothing to show the world.

And even when you have nothing to show anyone,

You are still absolutely everything to Him.


O, God in all seasons, prolonged summers had caused me to forget,

I forgot your unchanging role as my vinedresser, even in winter.

In the thick fog of winter, when I couldn’t see neither God nor myself,

I heard Him.

Winter teaches you to listen when you can’t see.

When you can’t see any evidence of fruit to tell you what tree you are,

You have to listen more intently to the One who called and created you.


Here’s what He does in the winter of a heart, He washes, prunes and uproots,

Here's what He does in the wilderness of a soul, He is the fountain that doesn't run dry,

Here's what He does in the warfare, He fights for you when you can't fight for yourself.


He redoes the soil of your heart,

Because He’s doing a new thing,

Even if you can’t perceive it yet,

The old soil didn’t have the depth of nutrients to sustain what He still wants to do,

That He may do a deeper soul work that future seeds may give way to sweeter fruit.


What a gift it is to have yourself shaken free from the temporary,

And be rebuilt in unchanging Truth.


I’m halfway through part 27 and it’s now fall outside.

Inwardly, the snow’s melting,

Inwardly, my leaves are preparing to bud again.


The God of all seasons.


Don’t despise your winter.

Don’t hold on too tightly to your summer.


So here’s to the author of all things,

My delight and all in all in all seasons.


Here's to the One who conquered hell, death and the grave.

Here's the One who fought for me in my winter, won my warfare and replenished me in the wilderness.

Here’s to the parts, the chapters, sections, sentences and even the spaces, gaps and margins in every year and every season.


Because He’s in all of it,

And all of it must bow to Him.