Refreshing Your Soul:
Daily Life Faith Lessons from the Frozen, Snowy Woods in the Life as a Pastor’s Wife.
God in the cold, frozen, snowy woods.
Upon planning a vacation, very few people find the northern most parts of the world a vacation spot; especially in the midst of a cold, snow caked forest. However, trekking through the dense forest trails during cold, frozen, snow covered days have been some of the most peaceful and relationship restoring times. Beautiful friend, God is everywhere. In some of the most desolate places He is often louder. Quiet, vacant environments leave us searching and seeking and with fewer distractions God is ever more visible. His beauty within His creation. God is so good!
What God reveals in the cold forest in the middle of winter to the listening ear.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” vs.23
1. God is Everywhere You Go AND Speaks If You Are Listening
Gloriously, God gave us His beautiful scriptures and the Holy Spirit once we got saved. After salvation isn’t it wonderful He speaks to us in all sorts of situations, places and ways. He knows all, even our thoughts. (Wherever we go, He is present with us. A cold, desolate, hibernating forest, covered in snow; is no exception. As you walk and talk with Him, that fellowship grows sweeter. He perfects His love within us. Ever speaking to a listening heart and ear. Likewise, deep within the woods, there is another message.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
Wherever we choose to fellowship with Him, He knows all. And His thoughts of you are beautiful! (psalms 63) He sees all, knows all and gives us exactly what we need. He is so faithful, even in the midst of the snow covered, cold, frozen woods!
“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquianted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” Psalms 139:2-4
2. Extreme Temperatures, Damage and Protections
Trekking into the snowy woods, one can see nature speak. Along the outskirts of meadow trailing into the wind-blocked edge of severely damaged trees freeze, one can see the shield. A defense of hot sun damaged mature trees guard the forest against the hot sun rays and sunscald. Protecting pines, tower young undergrowth and thriving juvenile trees. Meanwhile trees guarding young trees help protect against frost cracking that causes damage to limbs as trees warm quickly from the hot sun thawing and refreezing rapidly after sunset. As tissue beneath the bark becomes damaged, dries out, and cracks. All trees become vulnerable to bark damage, which can lead to long term damage. While thin barked trees (maple, birch beech, fruit trees, and etc.) are more likely to face physical damages that can cause many problems for the tree, including death.
Trekking on this journey called life, you will face harsh conditions. But, you will never face them alone! As a Christian, you are blessed with God’s beautiful love letter, the Bible and the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide. God is your God only if you let Him be. He wants to be your shield, your towering protection, a help, a defense and protect you. You are his precious sapling. Seasons in life bring temperatures that rise and fall. An amazing season in your life may be followed by the most drastic temperature drop in the history of your faith. But He is there. Lean on Him so it does not damage you, dry you out or cause cracking. We are all vulnerable to woe’s of life, but if you are genuinely surrendered you do have a target on your back. Satan wants to disarm God’s soldier. He wants your cracks to cause more damage, to affect your ability to bare fruit. So make sure your bark is thick so you are not as vulnerable! Be in God’s word, make sure your life line to the Lord is rich in nutrition. As sap is to the life, growth and fruiting of the tree; so is your walk with God.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-21
3. A Fresh, Clean Trail
Passing the most breath taking white pines, entering into the quiet forest, fresh snow does not give any clues of life. Without tracks, except my own, the fresh snow has blanketed the entire woods pillow-y white. Towering trees droop over from the heavy, thick, wet white snow. Breath taking. A clean trail. Trekking on, looking for any signs of life, the woods remains quiet.
After salvation, you had a fresh trail. A new life to do anything you desired, your life was “clean”. Remember how excited you were when you got saved? Perhaps you volunteered for everything and anything you could; or maybe you were like the seed sown in a poor environment and had little/no opportunities to grow. My friend, it does not matter. Today matters. You are a child of a king, well, THEE KING! Straighten your crown! As you read this your trail may be clean, awesome! Every day, as we go to Him we are given a new trail that day. A clean slate. You have the opportunity to make today, the greatest day of your life! If you do not have a clean slate today, why wait another moment. Do business with God. Do not forget, it only takes one thought, one prayer, one outpouring of your heart to your beloved Lord. Your shield. Your Savior. Your God! He loves you and is waiting with open arms. He is so good!
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalms 51:12
4. Seasons With Hidden Beauty
Moments of silence are met with crunching of crisp heavy wet snow under each boot as you walk into the dense forest. Upon reaching a small warming shack, you begin to hear a faint trickling sound in the distance. Clasping the leather latch of the log stacked door, you pull the swinging door. Like a plow pushing snow, pulling the door leaves a mound of wet heavy snow to your right. Stepping down into the cozy little warming shack, you close the door. Straight ahead the large rectangle wall is filling with light as the sun begins to peak over the tall trees. Fog from your breath covers the plexiglass wall as you sit in your chair. Resting after a nice trek. Within a few minutes, the woods come to life. Bluejays swoop down picking up some seeds in its beak. Chickadees begin to flutter from one tree limb to another. Several minutes pass now. A cottontail meanders along the underbrush of the towering fir trees. Within the hour a once completely silent snowy forest, rejuvenates. Life is restored. Squirrels, cottontails and other small game critters join the vast species of winter birds quickly. Over time, deer, elk or moose possibly make a visitation call to you as well. Silence brings openness and a keen ear to listen. Creatures of the woods found safety in the silence. Instincts of survival until they trusted again. When the woods were “safe” it flourished with life again.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Your journey through life can be tiring. Treasure life, but don’t be afraid to rest. You can serve better when you are thriving, not just surviving. However, some seasons will make you feel desolate. Out of breath. Heartbroken. There may be times in your life when you feel alone, struggling one heavy step to the next and out of breath. Rest. God is your Haven of Rest. He loves you and wants to hold you in His hands until the storm passes. Until you have found rest and have been restored.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3
While you are in rest, look for God in the little things. See Him in your shelter, in each flutter of life, and all your surroundings. And wait on Him. He rejuvenates. He restores. As you are waiting, and if He feels silent, continue to be open and listening. Waiting for the silence to break. Until you trust again. You will see life flourish again. Pray without ceasing. This too shall pass. Weep at the feet of Jesus. Life’s seasons will pass over time. Every season can be filled with beauty, joy and God’s strength by choice. That is how you will come through the vulnerable times flourishing again.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God passeth all understanding, shall keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
4. Seasons With Hidden Beauty (Continued…)
Oh the beauty you will see in the forest if you are patient. Hidden beauty of the inner forest. Watching the creatures presence and their interaction with one another is priceless. God’s creation and humor in life is fascinating. Whether you are watching two squirrels fighting over some whole peanuts, a wraskly, greedy rabbit chasing everything out of the feeders, or a young doe trying to climb a tree to reach easy corn; creatures of the forest are exciting to watch. You get a sense of how intricately designed our creator made everything. Each tiny detail was designed with purpose in life, nothing by accident.
“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10
A precious reminder that is, nothing is by accident. Our sweet Heavenly Father knows all, sees all and is all! He knows what we need before you ever ask.
“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matthew 6:8
He also gives grace. Just as God’s creatures in the forest are rather humorous, so are people. Laugh at yourself. Give yourself grace. Sometime in your life you probably done or said something stupid. Laugh at yourself, it’s okay. Odds are, if you live for any length of time, you probably will say or do something foolish again. Do what you can do to the best of your ability and give the rest to God. He is good!
“My flesh and my heart faileth:but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” Psalm 73:26
During your rest many creatures of the forest were revealed and unmasked, when it was their time.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
Remember through the seasons of life, all things will be in His time, according to His purpose. You need to trust that God is working all things out for you in His time and way. You do not have to know why or when, just the who- God!
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
5. God Moves in the Midst of the Journey and the Restoration
Just as tiresome the journey trek into the woods was, so is the hike back out of the cold wet woods. Whether rested, tired or relaxed, the day goes on. Finding your was out is as simple as following the path journeyed before. After exiting the woods, battling the elements of weather and finding your way home; you arrive. Your safe haven, place of comfort, dwelling of loved ones. Perhaps you warm with your favorite beverage and blanket to ponder the many lessons of the woods. Or continue the fellowship with your masterful creator. Listening. Meditating on the scripture that flooded your thoughts while in the midst of His beautiful creation. Singing psalms, you praise and adore your sweet Father above that wants the best for you. You were perfectly created for such a time as this!
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10
They journey out of seasons can be just as tough as the hard seasons, but God still moves and restores. While listening and searching for life to be restored or a season to pass over; praise Him. He has not changed, our circumstances have. What a test of our faith if we can go through all sorts of seasons, joys and trials; all while praising is sweet name! Holding on tightly, resting and worshiping. Beautiful! Because after the season, those moments of weeping, the hours spent pouring your heart to God, and the songs you lifted up anyways will still remain. They will be beautiful monuments and landmarks hoisted on your journey, like the boulders in the midst of the Jordan river. If or when you find yourself in the hard season, clenching on to every ounce of hope, rest. Stop movement, NOT worship. Wait on him. Let Him restore you. Trust in Him. You are valuable to Him. He cares for you! Move again and take up your stone. Like Joshua commanded the men to take boulders from the riverbed. Pass over and cross like a memorial in honor of God’s outpouring love helping you through. Sister, it’s your Gilgal. Not a place to dwell, but take from within. (They took stones from the riverbed.) Glean from the season, mark that it was allowed by God and He is giving you victory and cross over into something better.
Daily Life Lessons From the Pastor’s Wife: Refreshing Your Soul
You are loved and adored by an amazing God. You are the daughter of The King! I hope an pray you know and feel like that today. Happy Life & Happy Ministry!
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