Preparation for the Coming Winter (Of the Soul)

Photo Credit: tpsdave/

by Nan Jones

The roar and clanking of the farm tractor echoed across the mountain holler. A patterned grid from the tractor’s path gleamed in the sunlight as it covered the field, following the curve of the land. Giant bales of hay dotted the landscape — all in preparation for the coming winter.

Soon, snow would blanket our mountains. Winter’s chill would lull nature to sleep. Fires crackling against the chimney’s stone would guard home and hearth against the brutal cold of a mountain winter.

Photo Credit: Bertsz/
Photo Credit: Bertsz/

Seasons upon the earth fulfill their purpose, then give birth to the next. Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall.

And so is life.

Life’s transitions are as sure as the sunrise.

Many are pleasant. Exciting. Adventurous. But many of life’s seasons are difficult. Painful. Overwhelming.

Do we — can we — prepare for the winter seasons where the bitter cold hardens the heart and ferocious wind threatens to topple a life upside down?

As I watched the farmer stop to wipe his brow, I sensed a nudge of the Holy Spirit. He gave me pause as I reflected on my own winter of the soul. The brutal ending of my thirty-one year marriage carried with it the deep scars of adultery and betrayal. Bitterness pressed against my heart vying for entry. Storm winds howled relentlessly for days and months.

And yet I have survived with my faith intact and God by my side.

As I listened to the Holy Spirit, I knew I survived because, like the farmer, I prepared for the winter season. I hadn’t realized it at the time — the intentional preparation, I mean — but in my quest for authentic faith and a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord, preparation for a winter season occurred naturally.

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Studying God’s Word and setting it to memory allowed it to rest against the lining of my heart and bubble to the surface when the brokenness occurred. God’s Word strengthened me. Encouraged me. Sustained me against unbearable pain.

Hours spent in spontaneous worship and praise had kindled the flame of the Holy Spirit within me so that it danced against the invading darkness and brought joy when happiness could not be found.

Prayer throughout the day concerning anything and everything taught me that the Lord is always there. Always listening. Always responding, especially when all I could utter was just His Name. Jesus … Jesus.

Be still. Cease striving. And remember that He is God.
Be still. Cease striving. And remember that He is God.

Perhaps the greatest preparation for my unexpected winter storm was allowing the Lord to teach me to rest in Him. To really be still. Cease striving. And remember that He is God. Yes! He is God — the Sovereign Lord — who knows everything that concerns me. Had I not learned to rest in Him and in the knowledge of His great love, I may not have survived the pain.

The hay bales resting in the sun will soon be stored in barns for the coming winter season. The golden straw will nourish and sustain the livestock when the cold wind blows and snow covers the land.

The sustenance will be there because the farmer prepared for winter’s blast.

Faith is like that. Its roots run deep tapping into the Living Water that sustains us … when we develop a strong relationship with the Lord. When we spend time in His Word and talk with our Father throughout the day. When we praise Him for who He is when we don’t or can’t praise Him for our circumstances.

Especially then.

He inhabits the praises of His people and shields us against winter’s blast, sustaining us through the brutal cold …

When we prepare for the winter of our soul.

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Nan Jones

Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire where she is a monthly contributor. She is also a monthly contributor to PW Connections, a blog and forum to encourage pastors' wives. Nan has had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This memoir was a 2016 Selah finalist. When Nan isn't writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence. You may visit Nan at her website: Nan has also created a facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and LPC Bookstore

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One comment

  1. Nan, awesome analogy. I could picture the seasons. And I could see, feel, and hear the scenes you described. I love this, “Studying God’s Word and setting it to memory allowed it to rest against the lining of my heart and bubble to the surface when the brokenness occurred.” Yes! Amen! Thank you for the reminder.

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