Winter Blues~

 

spring-pictures-21

 

After 6 long months of snow, ice, hail, wind, rain, and more snow; the sun has finally shown its face (at least for today). If I were a skier I am sure that I would be mourning the end of a great ski season; so sad to see it go. However, I am rejoicing in the prospect of long warm days ahead!

I hate to admit it but I think I may be one of those people who gets “emotionally blue” the longer winter continues. I get tired of trying to drive on snow, tired of wearing mittens, large jackets, snow boots, short days, and being mindful not to go out at night because of ice on the roads. To be truly dramatic sometimes I feel trapped by the winter season!!

I am a girl who was raised in Santa Cruz, California and only experienced mild temperatures and seasons for most of my young life; but life in the Northwest has been quite different! I am learning, sometimes unwillingly, about the impact of seasons as they change.

Life is a little bit like our seasons, isn’t it?  Sometimes we find ourselves in a season that feels like a bleak, cold winter; a season filled with challenge, uncertainty, and even pain.  In these times we might imagine that seasons will never change, never get brighter, never get warmer. Yet, just as spring follows the winter, our life seasons will change as well.

A few ways I “survive” the winter months are: binging on British shows on Netflix, good coffee, exercise, doing home projects, writing, and reading, and spending time with those that I love.  These are a few tools in my arsenal that get me through until I can bask in  the season of hiking, biking, long walks along the river, camping and basically everything outdoors!

In that same way, perhaps when we are in a “winter” season in our lives we truly need to find ways to navigate it carefully and intentionally; self-care, spending time with “life-giving” friends and family, prayer and meditation, exercise, etc. Then, when you least expect it ~ the sun will come out again. Don’t let the “winter season” of your life destroy your hope for a a brighter day!

“We all know that if the seasons were the same, there would be no growth. We know that without winter there would be no spring. We know that without frosts there would be no bulbs and without the monsoon there would be no rice harvest. In the same way, we also know that without sorrow there would be no joy. Without pain there would be no healing. I think that’s precisely where the beauty comes in. It comes in through the fruit of the seasons. He has indeed made everything beautiful in its time.” Naomi Reed ~ Author

The storms will come, but I presently love this sunny day! 🙂

The Weather is Changing~

It was during my Junior year of college, summertime, that my view of the world was completely rocked!  I spent 3 months serving on a ministry team in Calcutta, India. My life had always been filled with blessing; faithful parents who loved God and provided well for our family of eight.  I enjoyed a good education, warm home, good food, nice clothes, and people who cared for me.  Imagine the shock to my senses as I walked along the streets of Calcutta seeing single mothers caring for their young children under cardboard boxes leaning against a dirty cement walls! I watched elderly people sitting in the same spot for days and days because they simply had nowhere to go; no place to call their own. This was the first time I had come face to face with real poverty, real homelessness.

Why do I choose to write about this today? Well, the weather is changing.  It is in the cold Winter months that those who live in poverty; those without homes, feel the sting of their situation the most. Poverty is not just in India; poverty is in my own town. My sister is a principal in our neighboring community; her school serves numerous families living in poverty, some even living in their cars.  These little children come to school cold, hungry, and tired.

Today I listened to an interview on Focus on the Family with Richard Stearns, the head of World Vision ( an organization the reaches out to meet the need of those in poverty around the world).  In the interview he shared about what it “feels” like to be homeless.  He expressed it this way:

“Imagine that you had only one set of clothing that you had to wear every single day.  Imagine you had no access to electricity; no lights, washer and dryer, no computer or phone.  Imagine you had no fresh water to drink or to wash with; your only way of getting clean would be a lake or pond somewhere.  Imagine you had no access to food; all you have is food you had to forage for.   Imagine you had no access to any medical care; no doctor, Tylenol, cough medicine, etc.  Imagine you had no place to call home; no bed, couch, bathroom, or private space of your own. Imagine experiencing all of this while thousands of people around you are enjoying all those elements of life.

How would you feel?  I imagine I would feel ashamed and hopeless.  I imagine I would wonder if I was invisible to the people around me.

I can hear some of you saying ” but there are people who make choices that cause them to be in a state of poverty”~~ I have said that myself.  But, everyone has a story to tell about how they became homeless; challenges they faced, and I know God’s heart is a heart of compassion.

Well, the weather is changing; snow and frigid temperatures are right around the corner.  How can we help the homeless in this Winter season?  Every town has a shelter that would love your support.  Ours is Bethlehem Inn, http://www.bethleheminn.org.  There are worldwide organizations such as World Vision to which you can give.

There is one need that I am particularly aware of and would like to tell you about:

10418188_10152332367816491_661186565736501278_n

Rev. Rick Cole of the Capital Christian Center in Sacramento plans to leave his wallet behind, pick up his sleeping bag and ride light rail to downtown Sacramento. Pastor Cole said he feels his quest might have been divinely inspired. It popped into his head a few weeks ago while he was brainstorming with others about how to fund a program that buses about 100 homeless people on winter nights to area churches and synagogues, where they eat and sleep and get help finding work and more-permanent shelter. Pastor Cole plans to live on the streets of Sacramento until enough funding is raised to meet the incredible need of shelter and food in the winter months! Greg and I have known this pastor for well over ten years and can vouch for his authenticity;  he is not a mere attention-getter.  He sincerely wants to understand what it feels like to be homeless, he sincerely wants to get out of his comfort zone to make a difference in his community!  If you want to learn more go to #revonthestreets

As the weather changes and we nestle by the fire with a hot cup of Starbucks ,let’s ask God to show us ways that we can help those who are in need.

1 John 3:17 says; But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Matt 25:35-40 says; “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Be well.