Winter Season of Our Soul

The earthly winter season has always been hard for me- because of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which I finally self diagnosed, after many years. I then began using Agro light from December through April. I recently came across a lesson I had written in November of 1979, over 21 years ago. I had forgotten the details of that time and glad now that I wrote them down. I want to share with you what the Lord taught me during that time…

Thoughts from Jack Hayford:

The previous February Jack had been going through a full colorless time spiritually (Now I think he was suffering from SAD too). He had the spiritual blahs. I felt I was in good company if he, the Psalmist and David has a Winter season in their life too). The Lord led him to Psalms 42:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.” (continued)

When not feeling joy, peace, and exuberance, often the first reaction is: “God is mad at me for some reason”. Condemnation sets in. When this happens check first obvious means of overt sin, wrong relationships, or things that need to be righted.

However, these blahs were not that for Jack. It was just the ordinary life type. He was simply walking in God’s direction and the blahs hit. In Psalms 42 Jack found a description of himself and how he was feeling. The 2nd part of verse 5 was wonderful to him and also to me: “I SHALL AGAIN PRAISE HIM FOR HIS HELP.”

His heart began to stir with hope. There AGAIN would be a time full of joy of the Lord. Full of thanks for bringing him out of this.

How should we handle uninspired days?

Mountain top experiences are great. Retreats are great. But people don’t live on the mountain tops. We go there for scenic views, cool breezes and times of refreshment. But we live in the valleys. It doesn’t mean we live in depression but in the valleys were everything grows.  Rivers don’t flow on the mountain top… but instead in the valleys. The growth takes place in the valleys and fruit is grown in the valleys.

We live in valleys. Not in depression, but there life carries on from day to day.

Why are you cast down, O my soul, why are you disquieted within? Hope in God.

What could be some of the reasons?

  • not taking care of your body?
  • not eating properly?
  • not getting enough sleep?
  • Overweight?
  • Not getting enough exercise?

What did God tell Elijah to do when he was depressed? I Kings 19:1-8

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”

How often do we feel like Elijah? That we are the ONLY one who has every gone through a certain thing. But in reality many have gone through the same things and have survived. Elijah though he was the only one left who was true to the Lord. But in vs. 18 we read that seven thousand had not bowed to Baal. You may be a threat to darkness and Satan is attacking you. Jesus’s light may be penetrating the darkness in some area.

The Lord gave Jack Hayford the example of reentry of a space ship into earths atmosphere after being in “darkness”. Jack said that when a space ship re-enters there is a time of no communication for 2-3 minutes. The astronauts know where they are but don’t know what is happening. Sometimes we feel out of communication just like the astronauts.

This makes me think of Pollyann saying to me on the phone while I was in Springfield, “I am lonesome for you. I haven’t had a mama for three weeks. For 2 weeks you were sick and now you are gone for a week. This is much like how I felt with God. He was there but wasn’t in communication.  This was also true for Jack when he says, “There is no spiritual advance in your life without a corresponding period of questioning in your own soul as to what is wrong.” God is putting a shield around you for a time. But it feels like isolation. But it’s for your own good, as you go through the period of penetration.

Why are you cast down? You need a period of rest. Flowers cant stand 24 hours of sunshine. Many need to close up for the night. There are times of night for us too. To be closed up for rest.

Psalms 42:8 “At night his song is with me”. For Jack, his “song” was “Jesus filled my empty life” and it became the song for me too!

(See “Empty Pots” entry)

Why are you cast down? It is just winter/ night and it could go on for weeks.

It’s hard when friends are UP. All excited about what the Lord has done for them and you feel like saying. “Oh, shut up!” It would be nice to have all your seasons together but it doesn’t work that way.

Could it be that you are overloaded and not sharing your burden? Galations 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We need to be ministered to as well as ministering to others. Be able to say “I am going through a winter season- will you stand with me?

Psalm 131 is helpful to me during winters. Don’t fight them, just rest in them on your Father’s chest.

“My heart is not proud, Lord,

    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.”

Jack’s song during the “night” seasons (Jesus filled my empty life) became a turning point for me. I began to be filled and lifted up. I have never quite had this experience again and hope you never do. But if you do claim Psalm 42 you will have hope in the Lord. Your circumstances might not change but you will hope IN THE LORD.

Jesus can fill your empty life and give you hope, love, joy, and peace.

Verses that go with “Overcommitment” Lesson

Pro 20:27 (Living)  “A man’s conscience is the Lord’s searchlight, exposing his hidden motives.”

Gal 5:25 (Living)  “If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

Gal 5:16 (Living)  “I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instruction.  He will tell you where to go and what to do and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to do.” (also read 17-22)

Isaiah 30:21  “And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’, when you turn to the right and when you turn to the left.”

John 10:27  “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”

John 10:4  “When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.”

John 8:47  “He who is of God hears the words of God, the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

Rom 8:14  “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

Isaiah 48:17  “…I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you SHOULD go.”

OK so we LISTEN to the Lord, feel we are hearing his voice and try to do what he is directing.  And then things seem to fall apart or not go in the way we hoped.  This is a good verse to remember at those times.


Over Commitment and Pruning

I think that often May is the second busiest month of the year for mamas, next to December that is. So many end of school activities for the children plus graduations, and many extra things coming to a close.

But this a good time to think about Over Commitment and Pruning as we are beginning to think about and make decisions for the year. This has been an on-going procedure for me each year and I have often thought that I was “all pruned up” and my life was “down to handle size” when I realize that I am again over committed and burdened down with too many things. I used to think something was wrong with me but then I realized that Dick does not prune just once and that is it. It is an every year procedure and so it is with God’s pruning of our lives and activities.

This is a time of year to look over your schedules and what you are considering for next year. What “extra baggage” are you carrying that perhaps you picked up unaware during this past year. Something the Lord didnt give you.

Good words from God Calling on February 10th: “Think of my trees- stripped of their beauty, pruned, cut, disfigured, bare, but through the dark seemingly dead branches flows silently, secretly, the spirit-life-sap, till, lo! with the sun of Spring comes new life, leaves, buds, blossom, fruit, but oh! fruit a thousand times better for the pruning.”

I think sometimes we add something to Phil. 4:13 that is not intended also. It says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He gives us the strength for what He gives us to do. Not all we plan on our own and ask him to bless is His plan. Don’t put God on your “Ways and Means” committee. Ask Him first, for the plan, then do it and He will give you the strength.

A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Andy gave a sermon on Abiding in Christ and the pruning process. One thing he said was that in a dormant tree, often a wound (pruning) brings the tree back to life. Perhaps you are so busy doing things FOR the Lord but are not taking time to be WITH the Lord. Perhaps the Lord needs to give you courage to prune something from your life or schedule. It might be painful or fee like a wound. But it might bring your dormant spiritual life back to life- as you take time to listen to Him regarding your schedule.

I am going to be sharing some thoughts on Over Commitment and Pruning from an old lesson on the subject that I think has some thoughts worth remembering.

First a quote from Dr. Dobson: “I want to evangelize: “I want to evangelize to the world. I want to reach as many people as I can for the Lord. I want to strengthen families. But my number one responsibility has to be my family. And if I lose it there folks, I lose it. There is not substitute for my responsibility within my own family.”

He also says a little bit of how he is doing this. He gives the example of Gallo Wine Co., that they not only prune dead branches but also a certain amount of fruit off the vine in order to have a larger crop. This is backed up in John 15, which says, “I am the true vine and my father is the gardener. He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce and he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops.” Dobson continues, “It is necessary forks, in the Christian life to eliminate some good things from your schedule and from your effort so that the other things you do are done better- so that you get better quality in what is remaining.”

Think about your own life. There probably are many areas in which you are doing “good” things for the Lord and seeing results. Be willing to give all areas of your life to Him, for inspection and control. Perhaps by pruning off some “good work” you would have more time for a child who needs your guidance and help right now in a particular area. Would it be exciting to see great fruit come in that needed area?

This is crucial to remember:

It is key to remember that WE are not the pruners. We don’t just start saying no and loping off activities as we see fit. The FATHER is the vine dresser. HE does the pruning. If we allow Him to do the pruning, there will be no over-pruning or under-pruning and no roots will be cut only branches. Col. 2:6-7 says, “As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord , so LIVE in him, ROOTED and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Our roots, our time with Jesus and time in the Word are never pruned- they must increase in order to listen to what the Lord is directing us to do.

The three things we must do in this pruning process then are:

  1. Commit to Ask
  2. Listen
  3. Obey


In Proverbs 3:6-7 we are told, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” And then in Proverbs 16:3 it says, “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” HOW do we do this? By laying out your day, your week, your schedule to the Lord, saying, “Lord, this is what I have planned for my time. Is that pleasing to you? If not, will you show me what to add or eliminate so that I can be a fruitful vine? As some look at the list, they might realize that yes, they are over committed and they need help from the vine dresser. Others might have to say, “God, I am not serving you in any way right now. What would you have me do that I might bear fruit for you?”


Then we must LISTEN to God for direction. There is a long study in itself regarding “KNOWING GODS WILL”. But there are many promises in the Bible that say WE CAN be directed by the Spirit of God and that we CAN hear His voice….

  • Isaiah 30:21
  • Proverbs 20:27
  • John 10:27
  • John 10:4
  • Galatians 5:25
  • John 8:47
  • Romans 8:14
  • Isaiah 48:17
  • Galatians 5:16

When we accent Christ as Savior and Lord all parts of us become under his control. As we give ourselves all to the Lord we can use all parts of our body, soul, and spirit to speak to us. Feeling is the voice of the body, Reason is the voice of the Soul, and Conscience is the voice of the Spirit. The secret again is in the ROOTING and being with God, so you can hear and know that still small voice when it comes to you. Allowing Him to help you make a decision and experience “the peace that passeth all understanding.”


When you get the direction- having the courage to say “Yes, Lord” or No to some things and following his orders.

  • James 1:22 “But be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
  • Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
  • Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

May the Lord bless each one of you and direct you in how He would prune your life.

As We Turn Our Thoughts To The New Year


Phil 3:13-14 RSV  “Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Same verse in Living Translation.  “No dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear in this one thing, forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.”


Matt 6:34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”


Isaiah 26:3-4  “Thou dost keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.  Trust in the Lord for ever for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”

What a wonderful promise to take with us into the new year.  That Jesus is our rock, in whom we can hide, who will protect us and in whom we can take refuge.

Psalm 92:15b  “…he is my rock”

1Sam 2:2b  “…there is no rock like our God.”

Psalm 18:2  “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge…”

Psalm 71:3  “Be thou to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for thou art my rock and my fortress.”