Winter Blues

The temperature has been dropping for the past couple of weeks and it seems like I’ve been spending more hours under a cozy blanket than not.  I almost have to force myself to do any type of physical activity because the comfort of being wrapped up calls to me from the time I get home from work until I finally crawl under the covers at bedtime.  As comforting as this sounds it has been taking a toll on my ability to have a positive outlook.  The cloudy weather has started to infiltrate my attitude.  I find myself in a “cloudy mood” most of the time.  I am not happy with anything, I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything.  My environment is affecting my attitude as well as my productivity.
Sunday was definitely one of those days.  I didn’t go to church and frankly I didn’t want to.  I didn’t want to put on a happy face and act like I was following God step-by-step.  I just wanted to sulk and withdraw from life.  I didn’t want any responsibilities and I didn’t want to have to talk to or with anyone.  I was perfectly happy being unhappy!  Unfortunately this is not the best way to conquer the winter blues, being unhappy leads to being unproductive and that is the state I found myself in.
This past weekend I had hours upon hours to write, but I didn’t.  I love to write, sometimes I write about absolutely nothing but I still love to write.  Those pesky winter blues took over.  I could have been extremely productive, I had lots of time.  Yet, I’m not sure exactly what I did. I didn’t clean or do other housework, I didn’t really talk to anyone, I didn’t go shopping or visit anyone, and I didn’t write.  I just snuggled under my blanket, read a bit, snacked a bit and napped a bit.  Sometimes it’s good to have a relaxing weekend but it seemed like the entire 48 hours never existed.  I wasn’t lazy, I was disengaged.
Being disengaged is obviously not good.  It’s just a small step from not caring about ourselves or others and that is when the enemy attacks. When we don’t care about what is going on around us, the enemy has a chance to step in and whisper to us that nothing matters, that we don’t matter.  That nothing we do will make a difference and that no matter how hard we try, things will never change.  Our finances will always be tight, our marriage stressed, our children distant, our friends busy, our jobs endless and our time limited.
I’m guessing I am not alone in these thoughts, you may have had these or similar thoughts, but whatever negative thoughts you may entertain, know they are not truth.  As Christians we have to fight the fiery arrows of Satan so that we can be a light in the darkness.  We need to fight the darkness in our own lives so that we can help others when they face similar attacks.  Scripture tells us to counter these attacks with truth.
Truth: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV)
Things that are true and noble, right and pure, lovely and admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, should be remembered and repeated. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to look for the good in others, no matter how small and focus on those things to change our attitude.  The challenge in the cloudy days of winter, both literally and figuratively, is to apply that same truth to ourselves and our situations.  This is how we move from winter blues to blue skies.  It’s not about positive thinking, it’s about righteous thinking. It’s being thankful for the little things God shows us in our situations before He changes them.
My challenge for you is to find one praiseworthy thing this week in each of the areas of your life that seem grey and stagnant.  One attribute from Philippians 4:8 that can propel you from winter to spring.  God continues to work behind the scene of your life and He sends little messengers of light into your day.  The Apostle Paul told us to focus on such things, they are the praises injected into each day to give us hope.
Feel free to share your Philippians 4:8 attitude in the comment section to encourage others!

Mega Snow Storm

          Mega Snow Storm Headed Your Way!  Are you prepared? “All winter outerwear 40% off!”  That was the heading that came across my inbox today.  Now, I don’t know how quickly you get your deliveries, but even if I ordered some “winter outerwear” right now, there is no way its going to get here by the time the storm is predicted to hit, which according to several weather channels is in approximately four hours!  Luckily, I am prepared and already own a winter coat, gloves, and boots.
          But are we prepared for the other storms that enter our lives?  The real storms, the ones that can turn your life upside down, the ones that create a “new normal?”
          I can’t say that I am.  No one can be, really.  Yet, it seems we should do something so that we are not caught cold and shivering.  God doesn’t let us know by super doppler radar that a storm is about to enter your life, or mine.  We typically don’t have a 24 or 48 hours warning to prepare.  Storms typically come when we least expect them, and often by surprise.  Of course sometimes we can gather information about a forthcoming situation; the company’s downsizing, your health seems a bit off, your marriage is a bit weak, a relationship is a bit strained. But that’s not the storm, those are symptoms of an impending problem. The storm is the spiritual state you find yourself in when a such a situation occurs.  It is much harder to discern this type of storm coming, and equally as difficult to prepare for.  Yet we must be prepared.  Scripture tells to prepare for these spiritual battles using the “Armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:11-17)  Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God will help you prepare to stand firm in the midst of a storm.
          When I was a little girl I was terrified of thunderstorms.  My dad was not the kind of person who enjoyed being woken by a child in the middle of the night.  So when I experienced a either, a nightmare, or was frightened by a storm, I didn’t have the option of crawling into bed  with my parents to feel safe.  My parents did not sit with me until I fell back to sleep as many parents today would.  However, one particular night, after a bad dream, my mom told me that if I just reached my hand out to Jesus, he would hold it and make me feel better.  Of course, as a child I wanted my mom to hold my hand until I fell asleep, but that night she couldn’t, so I asked Jesus to hold my hand instead.  I’ve used that same concept as an adult. “Jesus hold my hand, I’m scared.  This nightmare, this storm, is too much for me to handle on my own.”
          As an adult, the storms of our lives are bigger, they may even be life threatening. We need to be prepared with Scripture and prayer.  We need to understand that the afflictions that come upon us are to help us grow and mold us into the image of Christ.  We begin to recognize that by responding to afflictions in faith, we mature as Christians.  Storms are still difficult to accept, especially if they continue for an extended period of time.  But God gives us many passages and promises in the Bible to help carry us through these difficult times.
          If you are experiencing a storm, look to Scripture and pray the verses back to God. Hold onto one on two, memorize them and make them your touchstone when the wind is forceful and your provisions are low.  Below are a few passages I have relied on during times of trials; there are, of course many more.  The point is to find one or two that you can cling to, then reach out your hand and offer it to Jesus, He is right there next to you anyway!
  • No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Joshua 1:5, NIV)
  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18, NIV)
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
  • “Let us then approach God’s thrown of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)
  • “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;”  (Psalm 34:19 NIV)
          If you have a comment, prayer, or favorite Scripture to share, I’d love to hear about it, please add it to the comments below!
Love and Blessings as you weather the storms of life!
~ Christine

Welcome to my new Blog!

Welcome to my first blog! I’m so excited to share my thoughts, my experiences, and my ever growing knowledge about God and His creation.  Whether your week is filled with a whirlwind of emotional highs and lows, or a state of repetitive routine,  I hope to cheer-on your victories, offer comfort in trials, share a bit of knowledge and inspiration that I’ve picked up along the way, and hopefully provide a laugh or two, (although my children do not think I’m very funny, so the occasional rolling of your eyes is perfectly acceptable!)  As we journey together,  my hope is that this site will become a source of inspiration and encouragement for you.  Please know that I will be praying for you, that the words I write, and the stories I share, will touch you in the way God intends and that our collective response is always of praise for His glory.

Love and Blessings!

~ Christine

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)