courage to face winter

Reflections on an early fall walk

It was 59° that September morning, and there had been a nip of fall in the air for three days. The spiky balls were swelling on the chestnut tree. Squirrels were scampering hither and yon—their activity seemed to be increasing, and I had to wonder if they weren't responding to some internal urge to begin storing things for the winter. I'd seen two flocks of Canada Geese fly over that week. That always signals the fall season to me, as they begin their migration south for the winter.

Bittersweet changes

There's something bittersweet about this time of year, even though fall is my favorite season. I suppose it has to do with one season ending and another beginning, but to me, fall signals a time of new beginnings and new opportunities, a time to reflect on how I can live my most wholehearted life.

Yet after fall comes winter, and for some, that is a hard, dark time.

So how do we handle these changes in our year, our lives, and our spirits? Nature gives us hints, and I think one secret is not to strive more, but rather to just be more. As we focus on the being, the next step in our journey becomes clearer, especially when we listen for God's still small voice. When things are changing all around us, getting anxious and frantic won't help. It's time, instead, to take a deep breath, listen, and be grateful.

Focus on gratitude

I do believe gratitude is the secret sauce that makes every season better. As I walked the country road that morning, I was surrounded by beautiful views in all directions: woods, mountains, log homes, farms, and fields. How grateful I am to live in such a place as this! Even when we face hardship, Scripture tells us to give thanks. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” [1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV]

Arrows in your quiver

Whatever season you're in, you have a purpose, even if you're not aware of it.

No matter how useless you might feel at times, God can use you for His greater good. Trust that He will equip you with what you'll need, right when you need it. Since the ways He uses us are sometimes unknown and sometimes mysterious, this is indeed a matter of faith, and faith can be scary.

Whether it's a new season of the year or a new season in your life, gratitude, mindfulness, courage, and faith are like arrows in your quiver. Carry them in your heart wherever you go. They will never fail you.

And if you find yourself in the midst of a cold, dark time—literally or figuratively—take heart as you face your winter. Remember that spring is not far off, and the sun's warmth will soon come to thaw the frozen places.

Photo credit: Snowstorm Winter In The Mountains by Dmytro Kosmenko via Dollar Photo Club


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