January, February, and March feel like the awkward puberty months of the year. I just don’t know what to do with myself. And sometimes, especially after the holidays, I struggle emotionally and spiritually. I don’t know that I have actual “seasonal depression,” but there’s just something about this time of year that tends to make me feel a bit “lost.” Like, a jeep that slid off the road and got stuck in a snow bank, and is just spinning it’s wheels, stuck. I get completly disoriented. Do you ever feel this way?
“I just feel…weird,” I said to my husband last week. The snow was falling out the window, but instead of the sympathetic look I hoped for, he just looked confused. “Um, you’re gonna have to give me a bit more than that,” he said. I gladly did. I went on to drag him down a pretty long and confusing rabbit trail that mentioned everything from parenting difficulties, to writing frustrations, to friendship dynamics, to homeschool mistakes, to eating healthier, to home church philosophies, to winter doldrums, not leaving the house enough, not enough “structure,” in my life, and landed with, “I just want someone to tell me what to do!”
By the end of my speech, he looked kind of like a child who really wanted to get off of the spinny ride at the amusement park.
All in all, I felt much better telling him all my problems. But I’m pretty sure he felt dizzy and like he needed a nap when I was done. And this is what we call “bearing each other’s burdens” in marriage. Kind of. Right?
I think something happens to my soul in the winter, partly because of the lack of sunlight, but there’s something else going on inside of me. And I need more than vitamin D and supplements to get me through. (Don’t get me wrong, I take a LOT of supplements. But I need something more than a pill or a “cure-all” tincture.)
I need Christ. The Person.
Sometimes, I’m just like a jeep in a snowy ditch, spinning it’s wheels, stuck. And I need someone to pull me out.
I need to be rescued.
But I need something bigger, I need Someone bigger.
Winter makes me desperate for God. It makes me desperate for His rescue.
Do you feel kind of like you’re stuck in a ditch?
Let me remind you that the only one who can pull you out of those mid-winter doldrums, is Christ.
Not your ambitions. Not your diet. Not your husband. Not your kids, if you have them. Not your church. Not your good behavior and intentions. Not your accomplishments. Not your multivitamin. And certainly not scrolling on social media. (Am I right?)
Can I be really honest? I was typing this up last Monday, when sudeenly, my husband came in and told me the worst news I have heard in a very long time. A dear friend of ours, who was exepecting her baby any day now (after many years of infertility), lost her baby during childbirth on Sunday. Her baby daughter passed away during delivery. My eyes fill with tears as I type these words.
When my husband told me the news, I shouted, “No!!!” and crumpled into a ball and started weeping on the stairs. And I’ve been crying on her behalf off and on for the past week, or more. I can’t imagine what she feels right now.
I can’t wrap my head around it. It just shatters me.
My whole spirit is grieved and broken.
As Brandon put our kids to bed that night, I knelt down in front of our dishwasher, and cried and prayed for her with barely any words at all. “This world cannot be our home,” I said. “It just can’t possibly be our home.” It’s too sad here. It’s too hard here. Tears streamed down my face.
That day, I had started the day off moping about my personal struggles—and ended the day, weeping, and completely sobered—because my friend lost her daughter. It really reminds me of what’s important, and what isn’t. And I’m remembering, that this is not our home. And all we have—is Christ. In this life and the next.
What else can we offer people—but Christ, and Christ alone?
I started this new year off, with only one ambition: to know Him.
To know Him. What else is there?
Seven years ago, I started my blog, Barren to Beautiful, as a place of hope for women struggling with infertility. My only goal was to share with them (with you) the things God had encouraged my heart with, and the things I wish someone had told me during my struggle with infertility.
As I continue this ministry, I am convinced more and more that all I can offer anyone is: Christ.
Over the years, I have seen miracle after miracle. But I have also seen tragedy and loss that brings me to my knees and weep to think about.
In my private messages, I have pictures of positive pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, beautiful baby pictures. But I also have stories of loss, that shatter me to my core. I have pictures of babies who first opened their eyes in heaven, babies of whom this world was not worthy. And I know God is holding them, loving them, soothing them, and wiping away every single tear with His gentle hand, but right now…
All I can do is collapse on my knees, and cry in front of my dishwasher.
All I have is Christ.
Friends, remember this world is not our home. And I don’t understand it. I have been empty, and I have been full. I have seen miracles I can’t comprehend, and I have seen tragedies I can’t comprehend.
All we have is Christ. We must cling to Him, with everything we are. And everything we have. With every breath in our body. With every day that He gives us. For only He, in His providence, knows how many there are.
Can I encourage you, whatever you are feeling this winter, to simply move towards Him? To throw yourself on Him?
He never promised to lay out the pieces of our life like a Candy Cane board game. We can’t always see where we’re going, or how close we are to the end. We can’t always see what’s coming, or what’s around the bend.
But He did tell us that He would be with us for it. That He knows all that lies ahead of us, and behind us. He promised to be “Immanuel,” “God with us.”
He did tell us, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in you,” “for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4)
And He did tell us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8)
He didn’t say, “I am the way to the Way.” He said, “I AM the Way.”
I want to remind you, as He is reminding me, let your only ambition be this: to know Him.
And to your friends who are struggling, offer them Christ. Point your friends, your spouse, yourself, to Him. Alone.
Where else can we go?
And what else can we offer?
I want to leave you with this scripture to meditate on:
“Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:8
He is the only Rock. Throw yourself upon that Rock today. He waits for you. He is gentle and lowly. So, throw your life upon Him. Build your life upon Him. He is the only sturdy place.
Because there is no other Rock, I know not one.
My sisters, I love you. I pray the Lord comes and breathes His breath of life in you today. He is everything you need. He is a Person, come to Him. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. He promises this.
Allow Him to tend your soul this winter, indeed, He is the only one who can.
And sometimes this looks like asking Him your honest questions. And sobbing at His feet. Sometimes, it looks more like wrestling, and weeping, than worship in a sanctuary. But He meets us in this. He will meet you on your kitchen floor. And in the shower. And wherever you are, He will be there. And oh, I am praying you pour your heart out to Him, that He may pour His heart out to you.
Let us look to Christ who is our hope. In this life, and in the life to come.
In Christ Alone,
P.S. I first shared these words with my email subscribers last week, but I wanted to extend the invitation here. Would you just leave a comment and tell me how you are feeling this winter? Would you tell me how I can pray for you? I’m just a person, like a you. I don’t have a whole team of people working here. But I will kneel in front of my dishwasher, and pray for you. I will kneel with you before the Father, even it’s only from my kitchen floor. <3 You can also email me at [email protected]
P.P.S. Would you pray for my precious friend who lost her daughter? I am praying for her daily, and when I wake up through the night. That the Lord would bear her up, and comfort her broken heart. Because He promises in Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Oh God, be near the brokenhearted. Save the crushed in spirit. Only You can.
Further Reading: You can read Betsy Herman’s story of God’s goodness in the midst of stillbirth here.