There is something about winter that is just downright depressing. Less sunshine, more clouds, dormant trees and bushes that aren’t blooming, leaves and grass that wither and fall away.
My family is coming out of our own season of “winter”. A lot of unforeseen circumstances came up, my girls experienced a lot of trauma, there were many dark days filled with pain, confusion, heartache.
The hardest part for me as a parent was that it was self-induced. For years we have prayed “Lord, use us! All we have is Yours! Our home, our finances, our family.”
And one day, God put that prayer to the test. He gave us a choice to make. A very specific, life-changing choice that was so clearly from Him.
It was like He literally stood in my living room, saying “Do you mean it, Krystal? Is it really all mine? Do you REALLY want me to use ALL of you to further my Kingdom? Do. You. Mean it?”
We chose the path of obedience, and Christ used that choice to refine us, to purge some things (some people even!) that were pulling us away from Him. We chose to follow that path He was leading us down, knowing when we started that it would be hard, it would be a challenge, but it was His will for us at the time.
Y’all. I laugh at those adjectives now. “Hard.” “A challenge.” It was so much more than that…
There were days so dark I didn’t know if I could see well enough to take that next step. There were moments so painful, I didn’t know if I would make it to “spring.” I wondered how much longer before the Sun would shine again and I could stop living my life in dormancy, putting everything on hold until we could crawl out of the muck and mire and see again.
It was HARD! But even through the suffering and heartache, I never once doubted God’s goodness, I never questioned if His hand was in it. We KNEW Christ was in the middle of it all. He led us down that path, and I rested in the knowledge that there was a purpose in it, even if I didn’t know what it was right away. I had peace knowing that ultimately Christ would somehow use our situation to bring Himself glory.
If you find yourself also going through a “hard winter” I pray that you will be filled with the peace that God is in control, He knows exactly what He is doing and will ultimately bring good out of your situation. The Bible never promises that following Him will lead to a life of ease and comfort. If anything, it teaches the opposite.
Just know that you are not alone in your struggles, and one day you will see a rainbow after the storm.
Now I am standing on the other side of that season of suffering, and I rejoice over the fact God saw fit to walk me through it. I am so grateful for that awful winter. It hurt while going through it, but I’m so glad He made me walk down that difficult path.
I can already see some of the good things coming out of it all. It brought my husband and I closer together, it brought our children closer together, it bonded our little family into a unit. A unit bent on sacrificing for a season in exchange for investments that will last a lifetime.
It made me realize what amazing friends the Lord has blessed us with. It sparked the creation of this blog.
My children learned firsthand what living the gospel out loud really, truly means. They learned that it isn’t always pretty, it is oftentimes uncomfortable, but it is always worth it! They learned that even in the hardest of days, His strength will fill you with peace.
They learned that there is a lost and hurting world out there who needs Jesus, and they were filled with so much compassion and empathy.
God broke our hearts for the things that break His. He opened up our eyes firsthand to the ugliness of sin in our world and the damage it can do in people’s lives.
Now that our “winter” is over, and spring is on the way, I’m so grateful that I have a God who upheld me through the darkest of days. He was the anchor that kept my family grounded. He gave us peace that surpasses all understanding.
So today, as I hear birds singing and I see buds beginning to bloom, I know that there is new life for those whose strength is in Christ. That after all of the death and dormancy, there is resurrection and new beginnings, a fresh start. I am joyful that spring is on its way. God used that harsh winter to make us stronger and increase our faith.
If it never rained, we would never appreciate the sunshine. If we never had hard seasons, we would never appreciate the good times. If we never needed God to get us through specific hardships, we would never fully understand the provision and peace He so graciously gives.
Maybe you, too, are coming out of (or are still living in!) a season of “winter,” a spiritual darkness. Maybe you are wondering when the clouds will finally clear and the sun will start shining again.
May you rejoice for the sufferings you have endured, sufferings that lead to the perfecting of your faith.
May you see purpose in your pain, and gratefulness that God will bring you through the storms to make your faith stronger. May you look back on your “winter” and be filled with hope for the coming spring. Hope that He will bring all things together for good.
Have you ever experienced a “winter” in your faith? How were you able to look back and see God’s hand in everything once your “spring” finally arrived?