I’m usually a winter wimp. In the days between Christmas and the first daffodil I often whimper and whine and throw tiny tantrums because of the cold, the snow, the sleet, the slush. But this year, I decided since I can’t change winter, I should change my tune.
To that end, way back in October when the Midwestern air was warm and the sun shone bright I announced to the world, “This year, I’m embracing winter!” And I set out to do just that. I thought God must have overheard and been quite pleased with my decision because the warm weather lasted well past Thanksgiving. I began to wonder if God had canceled winter altogether, on account of my sunny new attitude. And then…
Winter always comes, and this year has been no exception on these vast Midwestern prairies. Cold and harsh and bitter and biting are the days I’m living in now. Yes. Even embracing. Because I’ve discovered the key to surviving while slogging around in the slush is having the right equipment to keep me warm. A down coat with a hood, weatherproof boots, long johns, a hat, a scarf, and – most importantly – mittens.
I learned long ago that mittens are warmer than gloves. Gloves separate my fingers, but mittens keep my fingers together, each one sharing the warmth of the other.
Spiritual winters come, too. Those days when the climate turns our hearts dark and cold and slippery with ice, threatening to knock our feet out from under us and land us on our tailbones, wondering how we got there. Or if we’ll ever get up again. In those days it’s natural to want to turn away from fellowship with others, to cocoon in gloves made of worry or grief or anger or fear, our hearts getting colder tucked away in the dark.
We think that wrapping ourselves up all by ourselves will keep us warmer, but the opposite is true. Because we were not meant to do life our own. Especially when life gets tough and the landscape becomes unrecognizable in the battering of winds that drift and shift and reshape what once was familiar.
My fingers warmly wiggling in mittens remind me of the importance of living this life in community with others. Faithful and faith-filled ones who share the warmth of the Son when winter chills my soul to the bone. When I’m slogging around in spiritual slush I’m reminded that God has given me the right equipment to weather the storm. He has pointed me to others who have stared down their own personal winters.
Are you slogging through? Your body bent against horizontal winds? Lean into the fellowship of others who have weathered the storm. A Bible study, a Sunday morning worship service, a prayer group in your town. Bask in the worship of those who’ve made it safely through to the other side of winter. Bow your head and close your eyes.
Listen to prayers whispered from hearts made stronger because of the howling winds. Breathe deeply as ancient and sacred words are shared…the Word that gives life and hope and peace. Take courage in their witness to the truth of spring, and the promise that He makes all things new.
All things. New.Leave a Comment
What a great article!
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
Oh, Delightful Deidra!
I will tell you, I am no fan of winter. I am a warm weather girl through and through. BUT…you have made me want to embrace this chilly season! I am a huge believer in community, and I love the idea of leaning “into the fellowship of others who have weathered the storms.” Our storms WILL come, and this is a perfect reminder of why it is best to seek His comfort in each other.
Awesome post. Awesome.
What a great post! And now I really want to a) call some of my best girls; and b) buy some mittens!
Wonderful thought. We don’t have to go it alone. I’m getting some mittens too!
oh how beautiful your words and so beautiful the images they painted for me…a body bent horizontal in the wind (yes, i lived in Kansas for awhile!) and the warmth of fingers touching in the “community” of a mitten. this is resonating so incredibly deeply with me this day. tomorrow i begin a new study in the Word with a new group of women. i step in hoping to hear from those made stronger by the howling winds…and in turn become one that can help another stand upright. i look forward to the mingling in the messy and the mercy.
I felt as if this blog was written for me! I suffer greatly from winter blues. I do pull away from everything … including even skipping church because I just don’t want to put on a happy face when I’m feeling so blue! Thank you for your encouraging words … it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Your “mittens” will remind me that being with others is a good thing.
I needed this. Being we are in the midst of cold and winter here…I am not a winter girl. I hate the cold…so thank you for helping see a bit of sunshine amid the winter blues.
i know it is so cliche to say, but i think you read my mail 🙂 i am tired of winters in the midwest and have had the worst attitude about it this year and it seems my spiritual temperature was following suit until just recently. i really relate to your words. THANK YOU 🙂
Marilyn Yocum says
Lovely, Deidra, the tie-in of ways to stay spiritually warm with winter survival tips!
Michelle @ Graceful says
Beautifully written, as always, Deidra! And yes, community helps so much. I could have sat in worship all day this past Sunday, cushioning myself with the Word of God and the words of my fellow believers.
Faith Barista Bonnie says
I love the metaphor of mittens and gloves, Deidra! I love finding me my mittens.. Thanks for being a part of ours here. 😉
oh, i just loved this. my “winter” has been long and i have been so grateful knowing that other believers were interceding for me. what would do without The Body?
Such wise words Deidra. I think it is our natural inclination to just want to be alone when we are suffering, but the opposite is true.
I have a wonderful group of women in my Bible Study who are there to pray with and for me, laugh with me and cry with me. It is a precious gift.
I love the mitten analogy. I learned a long time ago, when we lived up north, that only mittens will really keep my fingers warm. I loved the look of black leather gloves, but they simply aren’t warm and cozy like my dear little mittens.
Thank you so much for those wonderful words of encouragement. (I LOVE the cold and snow. One of the best parts of it though is coming inside and snuggling down with a cup of something hot to drink and curling up with a good book that speaks to your soul.) Thank you for reminding me that we are not intended to weather the storms of life alone. God has strategically placed “mitten” in our midst to share the warmth of encouragement.
Just yesterday, I had tea and lunch with a friend and we spoke of the importance of friends, finding warmth, encouragement in the middle of any storm. Hope you will be a part of my “creative collection” – inspiration comes in many forms and your words are wonderful.
Thank you for your article, I am slogging through spiritual slush at the moment and reading this helps me to know I am not alone, I just need a good pair of mittens xxxx
phoenix landscape design says
You lose so much dexterity when you take mittens over gloves, though, lol! Seriously, gloves rule…never could get behind mittens. I always felt so handicapped wearing them.