Seasons of the Soul

 

It’s been a harsh winter. Even as I write, the snow still carpets the grass. The sun shines, but its rays are weak. I’m not sure if the temperature will break the freezing point today.

Under all that snow and ice and frozen dirt lie all kinds of seeds. Suspended in sleep, they are frozen in time. Not growing, but not gone.

There are times when I feel as frozen as those seeds.

The winter of my soul captures me and holds me in place. My prayer life ices up and I am frozen in my spiritual tracks. The ice in my heart leaves me with nothing to grab. I am sitting in stillness, surrounded by unmoving and lifeless glaciers.

I’m not a big fan of weather extremes. I like a sunny day, about seventy-five degrees, thank you. It can rain when I’m sleeping, I don’t want my outdoor plans canceled. Basically, I want to be comfortable all the time. I don’t want to be inconvenienced.

My heart and soul feel the same way. I always want open communication with the Lord. When I pray, I want to hear his voice, thank you. If he must be silent, I’d prefer that happens while I’m ‘asleep’ going through my daily chores, or watching TV. I don’t want to be disappointed in prayer, or abandoned in my quiet time with him.

But where I live, winter is a necessary season. Without it, constant warmth would completely change the life cycle of nature. Trees would eventually die from the overgrowth of pests and mold that invaded in the summer. Farmland that would normally lay abandoned in the snow would become lifeless from overuse.

It’s the same with my heart and soul. In order for my faith to flourish and deepen, the winter must come. If I had a constant connection to the Lord, I’d get a little too comfortable. The overgrowth of self-reliance would begin to kill my spirit.

Thanks be to the God who wants to save me from my self-reliance. He leads me to seasons of stillness and quiet, and not because he wants to freeze me out. He is not abandoning me. He is challenging me to sit peacefully in the snow, in the emptiness of silence.

It feels like I’m alone. It appears that I am abandoned. But nothing could be further that the truth. He is always with me, but he wants me to be always with him. He wants me to desire him more and more, and to never be satisfied with my relationship with him.

So as I look at the frozen backyard, I realize that my desire for spring mirrors my desire for a new relationship with the Lord.

The winter weather will break into spring its own time. My spiritual winter will come to an end too, and the Lord will reveal himself to me again in his time.

The springtime in my soul will be a joyous rebirth of faith and reunion with the Father.

I can’t wait for spring!

 

 

 

 

 

72 thoughts on “Seasons of the Soul

  1. So true, Ceil. I needed to read this today. I have been going through a bit of a “winter” in my spirit and it was good to read your encouraging words about those times. Thank you, my friend!

    • Hi Pam! Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one. It’s been hard to stay inside a lot, and I think that cuts down on my writers intuition. I was feeling mighty dry in the ideas department.

      But I did get your book! I hope to get started on the writing exercises and I know that will help too. Thank you 🙂

      Let’s pray that spring comes soon to our world and to our souls!
      Ceil

  2. The perfect thought to end my day, Ceil. : )
    I could not agree more.
    I always tell the kids that in order to truly appreciate the true beauty of each season, we need to experience the others. Then, each season in turn will share its own beauty with us. And we will stop and notice.
    Now, thanks to you, I will see the same in my prayer life. : )
    Have a cozy evenin, my friend!

    • Hi Billie Jo! So you have been ahead of me here, which is not surprising. You are such a good Mom.

      Hard times, dry times and spiritual winter time will come. It’s much better to not get all upset, it just makes things worse. Each season does roll to the next, feeding it to be something better. Even winter melts, providing great new views and treasures under the snow. Can’t wait for that!!

      Have a good weekend my friend 🙂
      Ceil

  3. Ceil – this is just perfect after this never ending winter. I’ve been saying that I can’t wait for Spring this year. I love the thought you shared that we need winter, and the reminder that God is still working even though it’s not visible to us. Now, as I anticipate Spring, I’ll also think about my spiritual Spring.

    • Hi Mari! Thank you for your lovely comments. I think the winter outside just sort of seeps into our souls sometimes. All that cold and dreary sky…makes you look forward to the thaw doesn’t it?

      I hope we will both have wonderful spiritual springs to match the melting cold of the weather!
      Ceil

  4. You’ve captured the truth of our walk, Ceil. Anyone who says differently surely must be in denial!

    Thankfully our Redeemer is gracious and continues to woo us through the off seasons. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

    • Hi Linda! It’s so true isn’t it. We all go through those seasons of empty and then we are filled. It’s a cycle with it’s own beauty, as long as I can see ’empty’ as the preparation for being ready for God again.

      I join you in your prayer for Jesus to come soon.
      Ceil

  5. I love this post Ceil. It rings true with me as well. Void of the uncomfortable seasons of life, I also become too self-reliant. The winters of my life reminds me that I’m in need of a Savior. Thanks for sharing.
    p.s. Thanks for joining my FB page. You have always been a great supporter of me and I appreciate you dearly. 🙂

    • Hi Marilyn! I’m glad you liked the post, and could relate to it so well too. That self-reliance will get me every time! Then it’s time for some silence and prayer.

      We are so blessed to know that God will never abandon us.
      It was a pleasure to join you on FB! We need to stay in touch, right?
      Have a restful night 🙂
      Ceil

  6. I’m like you. I love a moderately warm and sunny day. But I do appreciate the seasons too and all the things they contribute to our lives. I just don’t like it when winter goes on…and on…and on…LOL. Have a wonderful week.

    • Hi Joyful! I really do love the change of seasons too, but as you pointed out, this winter has been really crazy. So much snow and cold! I’ll be so happy when the spring comes, and I can be outside and not have to bundle up so much.

      It will be nice to see the sun too 🙂
      Have a restful night!
      Ceil

  7. Ceil,
    love the new look of your blog…and I think you are wise in your observations…spiritual winters don’t mean God has abandoned us, although it certainly can feel like that at times, He is still there and it sounds like He has given you much insight through your natural surroundings…Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Dolly! Thanks! I like it here too. I’ve been blogging at Surrounded by the Spirit for almost two months now. It feels like home 🙂

      God is so good to all of us, showing his life in all the events of our day. I just hope I’ll be awake enough in spirit to see it all. Well, at least some of it anyway. I’m glad you liked the post today.

      Have a good night!
      Ceil

  8. “So as I look at the frozen backyard, I realize that my desire for spring mirrors my desire for a new relationship with the Lord.”

    Love that line Ceil! So true for so many of us!

    • Hi Natalie! Thank you, I like that line too. Just staring at the snow and ice, it makes me really look forward to the thaw in the weather, and in my heart too. Come on spring!

      Thank you for visiting tonight. Have a restful night 🙂
      Ceil

  9. Lovely post Ceil,
    it is so true that our walk with the Lord has so many aspects to it. How would we learn to depend upon Him if everything went according to our ‘comfort desire’. Just as every season has a reason, so too there is purpose in all our experiences in life.

    • Hi Brenda! You are so right. It’s like how do you know if you’re cold if you’re always hot? God knows how we need to be ‘reset’ in the spirit, and I know I’m not going to do it myself!

      There is purpose in everything in my life. Even the frozen times.
      Have a great weekend 🙂
      Ceil

  10. Beautiful! I do believe that, like me, you are learning to “open your eyes that you might see.” These lessons are SO hard, but I’m learning that they are a gift from a Father that loves us. Nothing can compare to our relationship with Him, and that’s something the world nor the enemy can ever take away. Bless you, sweet friend!

    • Hi Nan! I hope that my eyes will open more and more to his lessons in truth. Boy, you are so right about how hard it can be. But I keep reading that as low as I get, that’s how high Jesus will lift me.

      That’s something to look forward to!
      Have a wonderful weekend 🙂
      Ceil

  11. How very true..we were just discussing this very thing. My husband had made the comment how since we have not been to church (due to weather) since Christmas, he feels like his soul is needing more, he has that craving. I fully understand where he is coming from..the weather here has been just harsh..and a culture shock to us. ANYWAYS–great post. Thank you. Blessings

    • Hi Linda! You and your husband have the best discussions. How wonderful that he sees that something is missing, and wants more. That is evidence of grace. God is calling him. Wonderful!

      The weather has been just awful. It’s very hard on us, especially the elderly and those who are handicapped too. I really am looking for the spring, in weather and in the soul. I guess you are too 🙂

      Here’s to a thaw this weekend…please?
      Ceil

  12. Two words, dear Ceil…. Thank you! Your posts have a way of touching my heart and opening my eyes and I do not say that flippantly. You, my friend, are a gift sent from the Lord 🙂

    By the way, I love your new photo! You are quite the beauty 🙂 Hugs and blessings!

    • Hi Stephanie! I’m so happy that what you read is useful to you. What more could I ask? Thank you for telling me that my friend, you are a gift of encouragement to me.

      Thank you for your comment on the photo. My friend took it, and I think she did a great job 🙂

      Have a great weekend!
      Ceil

    • Hi Victor! Thank you for the good wishes on a thaw this weekend. It’s supposed to rain/snow tonight, but get a little warmer. Phew!

      I’m glad you saw hope in the post, I really wanted to say that winters in our souls have to happen. Not that pleasant, but the spring does come.

      Have a great weekend 🙂
      Ceil

  13. Oh Ceil, the seasons of our spiritual lives are so precious. I long for the spring too.

    I’m headed to a prayer “training” session through my church this weekend. I am excited and a bit nervous about all of it. I am going by myself and often at these things people attend in groups. However, I felt God was pushing me to go, so I have an expectation… perhaps my spring thaw is coming and there will be a release of living waters.

    Wishing you a blessed weekend my friend.
    xoxo

    • Hi Jennifer! I am so excited for your new experience this weekend. I think if God is pushing you to go, you don’t have to worry about going alone or in a group. I know he’s just so happy that you are going!

      I just read the passage from Isaiah that says that the Lord loves obedience more than sacrifice. That’s you! He’ll reward you for your listening ear.

      Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
      Ceil

    • Hi Wanda! I’m so glad you could relate! And thank you for recommending the post on Twitter. You are always encouraging to me. What a wonderful spiritual gift that I enjoy from you.

      Have a great weekend, and I know you join me in prayer for a spiritual and worldly spring soon.
      Ceil

  14. I know this (spiritual) season very well. I have been in and out of it many times. But I feel like He always grows me as a result of it. Someone speaks a word to me that is the “spring” of my “winter” and I begin to blossom again. But like you said, our “winter” is as necessary as our seasons in life. Thank you for being such a blessing!

    • Hi Monica! Isn’t wonderful that you know you will grow in him because of your winter season? I think that is real wisdom.

      All our seasons have meaning. I have to grow more and more accepting of my winters, so I can really rejoice in those springs! And I can’t wait for that. What a joy it will be 🙂

      Thank you for your wise and encouraging comment,
      Ceil

  15. Thank you for reminding me that there is sunshine, or should I say Sonshine, even on a cloudy, chilly day. Spring is not far off weather wise, and not far off spiritually either when we are trusting Him. 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Hi Karen! I like your play on words there! Nice one 🙂

      You are so right that spring is coming, and will come in my soul too. I know I’ll be richer for the time I was ‘iced in’. God does work in wondrous ways.

      Blessings to you!
      Ceil

    • Hi Beth! I’m so glad you liked the post today, and that you related to it. Thank you for commenting in Twitter about it too. I appreciate your encouragement and support so much.

      Have a wonderful weekend!
      Ceil

  16. I thank you for this encouraging and thought-provoking post, Ceil. Thank you, too, for your kind comments on my parents’ anniversary post. I wish you a blessed weekend. Mildred

    • Hi Mildred! Thank you for coming over and visiting today! I’m glad you liked the post.

      I enjoyed your post very much. Happy Anniversary and happy memories to you 🙂
      Ceil

  17. Ceil,
    It’s such a dreary day here and I have been feeling quite forlorn but this wonderful post has truly lifted my spirit.
    Beautiful post.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Margie! I’m so glad this post helped put some hope for sunshine in your day. We have to believe that spring is coming soon, right?

      Both my grass and my soul will love to see that day 🙂

      Have a blessed weekend my friend,
      Ceil

  18. Ceil: You have the same likes/dislikes about winter that I have. Thank you for pointing out the need for the earth to rest and regroup for a while in order for the life-cycle to continue. Today is a rather warm day. The forecast for Monday is the temp to be in the 60’s. This could be a foretaste of what is coming. But, I don’t know anyone here who won’t take it. I had a therapy session today; she added some things to my regimen and, at one point, I thought I was done in. But, I survived.

    • Hi Cecelia! So we are twins in the season department and the name department!

      I tell you, I’d love to see 60 degrees, that’s for sure. We have rain/snow in the forecast, but then it’s supposed to warm to the 40’s. It will seem so warm!

      I’m glad your therapy is continuing. Yes, they do seem to enjoy the pain thing, but my PT said that frozen shoulders are the one problem where you have to stretch into the pain. Oh boy!!

      I know you’ll do great. You are in my prayers.
      Ceil

  19. I’m anxious for spring, too, Ceil: both in the natural and the spiritual. Love how you wove together both aspects of spring. That self-reliance… I’m fighting against it too. Grateful for His patience with us as we grow and mature and begin new seasons in Him.

    • Hi Ali! I think I will be fighting self-reliance my whole life. Some of it is good, but then it’s time to hand it over to the One who can bless it and make it holy.

      I am looking forward to a change of season…we can pray for each other until then.
      Blessings on your weekend!
      Ceil

  20. Hi Ceil! I definitely believe we go through seasons in our lives not unlike the seasons God provides in nature. Winter is the harshest in both regards and keeps us longing for spring…Happy weekend!

    • Hi Mindy! I think you are right, winter is the harshest. But it makes the spring seem that much more like new life.

      Whatever season I am in, I know that God placed me in it for a reason. I may not know it now, but I will someday 🙂
      Have a restful night,
      Ceil

    • Hi Linda! All the seasons are important and have their place, in the world and in my soul.

      It sure makes me long for spring!
      Have a good weekend, and thanks for visiting today 🙂
      Ceil

  21. This is beautiful Ceil
    I love you bring your spiritual life to the seasons. God always owns His beauty in every season of life.
    I wish I could feel winter and spring or autumn. We only have dry and rain season here. on May it will turn to dry season, I hate that weather is hotter but I love the sunset. There is always thing that we like and we dont like in every season but God always stay the same 🙂
    Thank you for your sweetness. Love you!

    • Hi Delvalina! You are so right. There is always something to like in every season.

      And here I am not liking winter, and you would love to experience it! It would be really something for you to see snow, wouldn’t it? It is pretty, really fun to watch. But right now, I am tired of that. But…God will bring the spring.

      I love how you say that God always stays the same. So I should also get comfortable with what he brings me. He is always good, and always brings what is good. I like that. Thank you!

      Have a great weekend my friend, and thank you for your sweet comment,
      Ceil

    • Hi Marsha! Thank you. What an encouraging comment!

      I’m so glad that you found comfort in the post. The weather changes, but God is always there, giving me exactly what I need.

      That is good news!
      Happy Weekend my friend 🙂
      Ceil

  22. OH gosh! I’m so impatient for good weather to not only come (which it does in Texas) but STAY! I’m an eager beaver, wanting to get my seeds sprouting! 🙂

    • Hi Patty! You are one of many I think. This winter has been so long, so cold, so snowy… and I think that’s one reason why I feel ‘frozen’ spiritually too.

      I look forward to all my seeds growing! In the ground and in my soul.
      Can’t wait for that 🙂

      Happy Weekend!
      Ceil

  23. Ceil, I know that you will understand that I completely *get* this post! Yes, I’m having a bit of a winter season myself lately. But you’re so right – it doesn’t mean that I am alone or abandoned. I always try to relate my relationship with the Lord to the way I relate to my sons. I think of how very *present* I am with them when they really need my help. But then I think of all the times when we just *hang out* – those times are indeed special, too.

    So, yes, I will join you in embracing the solitude and stillness that comes as we wait for new revelation and re-birth.

    GOD BLESS!

    • Hi Sharon! Yes, I do understand. We are tried and tested and frozen, but we’ll make it, won’t we?

      That thought about your children is such a great example. Always there, even if you are ‘hanging out.’ Beautiful!

      Yes! Let’s wait together for the spring to come shining through the solitude. Our seeds of faith will bloom into beauty.

      Have a great day my friend. Thank you for coming by,
      Ceil

  24. Another insightful post, Ceil! My spiritual life is like this as well and while I can honestly say that I don’t like those winter periods I know they are prepping me for spring.

    Speaking of Spring – I am really, really looking forward to it this year! I bet you are too!

    • Hi Mary! I am looking forward to spring too…sigh. More snow this morning, can you believe it? But it’s supposed to get warmer tomorrow.

      All of our spiritual steps are good ones, it’s just that sometimes the winter seasons are long. I know there will be something better coming, just like the weather!

      Have a great Sunday, and thank you for visiting too.
      Ceil

  25. Oh how I like to be “comfortable” all the time too Ceil; kind of like my own little agenda! (And yup; warmer weather!) 🙂 But I know I have to chose to rise up and make a brand new fresh start every day with God by fully surrendering the present moment in His hands. We benefit most by trusting in God and looking forward to whatever challenges, blessings, and opportunities (weather!) that He has planned for us today. ♥
    Blessings for a bright new day sweet friend! ♥
    Denise

    • Hi Denise! I have been reminded of seeing the sacred in the ‘right now’ a lot these days. And you reminded me of it again. I think God must be trying to tell me something 🙂

      I like the way you phrased trust and ‘looking forward’…that’s always the best direction to look, isn’t it?

      Have a wonderful Sunday!
      Ceil

  26. I’m always referring to the seasons of our lives. Living in Phoenix, we usually have only two seasons though; fall and summer! But I love the different seasons and grew up on Long Island, NY so I’m familiar with them all. I too don’t want to sleep through my prayers but to me fully present as I talk with my Lord.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie! It is a good thing to study…our lives go around the seasons just like the earth. It’s easy for me to decide that I don’t like one or the other. But it’s all about God and his plan for me. It’s all good.

      Being fully present to God is a focus for me lately too. I don’t want to pray like a robot, but like a devoted daughter. I pray we both achieve our goals!
      Blessings to you too 🙂
      Ceil

  27. Praise God for seasons! Even He rested from His labors, and even Jesus removed Himself from the demands of His ministry to communicate quietly with His Father. Just as we don’t see what’s happening under the frozen earth, we often don’t see the Father’s hand at work when He appears to be silent, but He is working all things together for our good and His glory.
    Thanks for the beautiful post (and photo, too!)
    God bless,
    Laurie

    • Hi Laurie! Good point about the rest that even God the Father took. Resting in himself…what an image that is!

      I know I don’t see always what the Lord is doing for me. I have decided that I have to try and get comfortable with not knowing. And that’s hard!
      Thanks for your kind words about the post and the new pic of me 🙂
      Ceil

  28. It is an awakening thought. Thank you for making it clear that it is ok to be in wintertime with our relationship with God. And he is always there no matter what the season is:)

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