To Every Thing There Is A Season

November 2, 2017

The warm weather is gone. The skies have turned a dismal gray, the air is damp and cold, and the beauty and busyness of summer and early fall has ended. Winter is coming and I hate it. I’ve never enjoyed winter, but since Mark died, I really hate it.

Winter is grief’s mascot. It’s cold, lonely, lifeless and barren. It’s the time where we are forced to wait. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being forced to do anything (Not the boss of me!) and I stink at waiting. This is often my downfall.

Everything looks and feels dead during the winter. I know new life will come; yet there’s no sign of it. The depression and anxiety that have been kept at bay the rest of the year come to a rolling boil. It has more muscle in the winter, clamoring for control of me. That makes me mad. I don’t want to feel an absence of joy, and yet finding it and living it out is so difficult for me this time of year.

It always catches me off guard how quickly the weather turns from warm and comforting, busy and distracting, to cold and dark, isolating and empty. It’s a quiet that overcomes me, forcing me to feel things I’ve pushed aside. It demands attention I don’t want to give it.

The stillness of winter reminds me of what’s ahead. Thanksgiving, Christmas and another New Year without my husband. It means the calendar will mark another birthday and wedding anniversary. I survived all of these things the first year, but I don’t feel any more equipped to deal with all of it this second time around. Winter is so hard.

I keep looking for remedies. I seek knowledge and ask questions. I spend so much time searching for answers in God’s word, but I often end up frustrated. It seems the more I study the Bible, the more questions I have. It doesn’t mean I doubt God, but I sure can wrestle with Him. I want answers I’m not sure this life can give. I want to understand death, life, new life, heaven, my purpose…you know, just the simple stuff.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just waiting for this life to be over. Just doing my time here. This isn’t a suicidal statement; let me be clear about that. I love life, but if this isn’t where it ends, if this isn’t what it’s all about, I wish I had a fast forward button. I wish there was a way to skip to the good part –the Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven part. The forever and ever AMEN part!

And yet, even though I haven’t found it yet, I know there is purpose here. I may rarely understand it, but I trust in it. I trust God. Sometimes (often times) I follow Him while pouting with heels dragging, but instinctually and historically I know to trust Him through every season, especially winter.

I’m eager for the day I’m off of this theological see-saw of nothing matters…no wait, everything matters! It’s exhausting and confusing. I’m grateful that although I can’t seem to figure out the answers, I still know there is more than this season. I know there’s a point to this life even though we are born with a desire for more than what this life has for us. It’s IN us. A desire for eternity is tightly woven into our DNA. Our God designed us to yearn for more than this. If God is capable of all that, then I need to trust Him with the confusing details of my right now. I need to trust Him through the void of winter.

We grievers know the “birth pangs” described in Romans 8. We know the pain of waiting for full deliverance from this “condition.” And yet, we also aren’t wired to stay down in the dumps. We long for joy, purpose and hope in the right here and now! And so sometimes we wrestle with God because we don’t see – we can’t see the whole picture. In our human condition, we have our noses pressed so closely up against one small dot of color and that’s literally all we can see. We don’t have the ability to see God’s pointillism. But someday, in heaven, we’ll have a broader view and be able to see the entire painting. We’ll see how the small dot we once stared at while searching for meaning and struggling through wintry grief is actually part of God’s expansive, infinite and colorful masterpiece. And then we’ll understand. Then we’ll know.

In the meantime, I have to continue believing God knows what He’s doing. God is with us. And God is loving and good and in control. Period.

That doesn’t mean we don’t/can’t/shouldn’t grieve. Grief is a human response to our hurting hearts, not a measurement of our faith. It’s also proof of how this life gets wintry sometimes. There will be seasons when it feels lonely, confusing, cold and lifeless, but God knows what He’s doing. He has orchestrated a plan so beautiful and good that we can’t possibly understand it while we’re stuck in the middle of it.

I want to continue trying to know God more. To do that, I need to put my trust in Him, because I know I need Him. Although when I seek answers, it often turns up more questions, I’m drawing closer to Him in the process, and it turns out that’s the best way to ride out another brutal winter.

Extra grace,

Jodi

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8 Comments

  • Reply Heather Egstad November 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Your words ring very true. I myself find myself wondering, what’s the point of the wait? It should be easier to figure out your life purpose after all we’ve been through. Could it be raising the kids? Sometimes I’m not so sure. It’s just so friggin hard to know and understand. I guess for now, that’s what I have to believe. Thanks for your honest words ❤

  • Reply chad November 2, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, well done. Poetic words of hope and assurance.

  • Reply Melanie Craig November 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    I too wonder why we are still here- I want to be in heaven with my loved ones- especially my husband married over 50 years- but I appreciate your honesty with the feelings you have- makes me feel not so all alone!! God bless you and please continue to share!!

  • Reply Joy Brumback November 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I know you don’t intend to, but you often make me cry. Last year at this time, I kept feeling such sadness. I kept saying, “I’ve never been through winter without him”. I hate the short days and long hours of darkness and cold. Before we moved to Texas we pastored in Illinois and Iowa, so I know what you are about to experience in weather. Yesterday was 18 months since Ben died. According to Bob Kiets’ book “Life After Loss”, this is a pivotal point in the grief process. I want to get up and start living again, but there is so little motivation. I have always been such a creative person. People would ask how I had so much energy and drive to excel. Now I don’t even want anyone to ask me to do anything. I hope to find inspiration again.and feel some purpose for the day. Thank you for your brilliant writing, Jodi. I read your article on “A Homesick Amputee” today. It made me cry, too, but definitely gave me some new thoughts to ponder. We are going to overcome. This world is not our home.

  • Reply Linda Gunger November 2, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you for putting into words the dread that I feel for the months ahead. “Limboland” is where I feel I live. I try really hard to trust God each day as I wait….but wait for what? What if this is all there is until the Lord calls me home? I know God calls me to be content in whatever circumstance there is. How can I wait and be content at the same time? What is it that I am to hope for? It is truly a daily struggle. Some days I do better with it, and some days, well……..not so much. Thank you for writing. I am so, so grateful I this blog

  • Reply Sue McAulay November 2, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Jodi,
    I agree. The winter and the cold grayness of it are harder to get through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I know “to every thing there is a season”-but it’s hard when we can’t see what’s coming, what’s growing. Hopefully with the snow we will also see some sun. The combination can sometimes brighten the day. Praying for you and your kiddos. Missing my Mark too. (13 months)

  • Reply Patty Owens November 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Today has been rough….it hasn’t even been 4 months since my husband Rick passed. The leaves are falling and that sadness is weighing heavy. I understand your comment about “waiting for this life to be over” but not having suicidal ideations. I feel the same.way, but would never harm myself. In fact the first quote I read after his funeral was from Jackie Kennedy soon after the assasination of JFK….she wrote “I consider that my life is over and I will spend the rest of my life waiting for it to really be over.” So sad and heartbreaking, but I relate to it perfectly. God has a plan for each of us. One day I will step out of this darkness and stand once again in the sun…..however, Winter is going to be extremely long this year……Thanks for writing the words I feel. I appreciate and pray for you!

  • Reply Libby Peay November 8, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    I have just been to a Grief Workshop to learn to prepare for the holidays. I am trying so hard to quit wishing they were just over already. Every season brings back still another painful memory reminding me that he is gone. BUT last week I felt God urging me to pray to see people thru HIS EYES. I have always known we should do that, but I started praying for that, specifically and earnestly. I have found it gives more “purpose” to my days. As HE has opened my eyes to see different ones that I feel HE has placed in my paths, I have been able to reach out to them when before I felt I was just going thru the motions of living – waiting – like you said. – Waiting for it to be over. I know my bad days are not over. I know i will always be lonely for my sweet Ruf, but I will continue to pray for the special ones HE will send my way for me to show HIS LOVE to – if with even just a smile or a hug. Maybe that is my reason to keep on keeping on. Jodi, please keep on with your sweet messages. They mean so much to me.

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