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10 Things I Learned in Winter '24

Rewind > Reflect > Learn > Grow

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.


If you've been joining us on the podcast this season, you know it's all about experiencing God's peace. My hope is this winter rewind and personal reflection serves as "another scoop" as God has been teaching me big truths of how I can hold onto His peace even when the circumstances or relationships around me are very much earthly and human and, therefore, don't always feel peaceful. I'm learning my focus has a lot to do with the direction I go - either into God's peace or forfeiting the peace He has for me.



Without further ado, here are ten things (not all the things but ten things) I've learned this last season.


10. First Snow on the Farm

While we haven't had the great, white blanket of snow on the farm this year, we did get a few flurries. Usually, when people say "a few flurries" we think of this as "a light dusting." There was that, too, but the first snow was just as I said, a few flurries. Flakes so few it felt as if God's hand placed them directly on our noses as we walked the farm bundled in coats and silly hats and dreamed together of what's to come. To share a moment with the Divine and both be so spiritually awake and aware in this moment, it's a gift we shall not soon forget.


9. "You can't ketchup to my french fry!"

And with that, I knew I could confidently add "Ski Instructor" to my resume as 'Dubya zoomed past me down our favorite trail. To help give you a visual, when people ask what I'd choose if I could compete in an Olympic sport, hands down, it would be downhill skiing. The views and adrenaline rush are unlike any other. So, zooming past me is not an easy task, especially for a Day 3 skier, but then again, most Day 3 skier's aren't my Willie man either.


Every moment was a memory, the best kind. I have a feeling the grandkids will love hearing all of these one day.


8. The gift of exhaustion.

Last Fall, I shared five words I've been learning to say: I think I’ll let Him. I’m trying to be intentional in taking my thoughts captive and asking myself if this is something in my control, and when it’s not, releasing it to God saying, “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let Him.” As I've continued walking forward in this, I've realized when I say - I can't. - that period is met with the gift of exhaustion.


Exhaustion means we come to the end of ourselves, the end of our own strength. And that my friend, is why it is a gift. For this is where our next breath may pivot to faith if we choose to say, "...God can." As we believe this truth, as simple as it may seem, the courage for the next five come: "...I think I'll let Him."


Wherever you're feeling exhausted today, don't dismiss it away with a boost from an energy drink or a shopping spree or a run through the drive-thru or a numbing social scroll or a vent with a friend or the like. Try, if only for a few minutes, to lean into it with prayer. "God, my heart is tired. Will you help me?" What might God reveal to you?


7. The battle is already won.

One reason we become exhausted is because we're fighting a battle which is already won.


A few weeks ago, I learned of the true story of a Japanese soldier who fought 29 years after a war had ended. It's easy to hear this and think, "Why would he do that? Look how much life he missed out on!," and that's exactly my point. When I look at my own humanness in light of his, I can't help but see something of myself in him. I, too, am exhausting myself continuing to fight battles ...when the war has been declared over.


I don't think any of us intend to do this, but we don't always see the war is over. From our perspective, our circumstances don't look like peace. There's pain, fear, hurt. Reconciliation has not come. But when we look at our circumstances through the lens of faith, we see differently because truth helps us see the eternal through our temporal. We know the war of all wars, the war of good versus evil, is over, and even more, God has already won!


Though we will experience many battle wins on earth, there will be many we do not see until heaven. Even though many of the hurts, habits and hang-ups affecting us or those we bump into from another may not be redeemed until heaven, we are called to walk by faith, knowing redemption is coming. Walking by faith and not by sight is how we experience God's peace in the battle.


6. Focus on what matters.

Going back to those 5 words of surrender, "I think I'll let Him," it doesn't mean the noise or the hurt goes away immediately, rather it's more like an echo in reverse, growing louder with each repeat, "I think I'll let Him, I think I'll let Him, I think I'll let Him." It is an intentionally, repetitive choice of how I'm going to lead my thoughts and my emotions to focus on what matters.


When we focus on what matters, we position ourselves to do what matters. What matters most? Paul says,


“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13

The greatest of these is love.


5. Return to your life-givers.

When we feel ourselves wanting to become bigger or smaller than human - when we feel the urge to demand or fix or we shrink to avoid - thanks to godly wisdom shared by Steve and Lisa Cuss, I'm practicing returning to the people, places and activities which are life-giving to me. It's a simple but powerful way we can overcome the urge within to react.


What's on your life-giving list? Fresh flowers is one of mine. And these hydrangeas, so fluffy and blue, gave me life!


4. Get out of their heads.

I say this to you in love, dear friend, "GET OUT OF THEIR HEADS!" and get back to the peace God has for you today. Untangling their thoughts, that's above our pay-grade. It's time we trust God with this, whatever this is for you.



3. Neglect the world if you have to, but never neglect one another.

These are words 'Dubs and I have borrowed from Craig and Amy Groeschel as guiding words for our marriage. Sometimes the demands of the day are all so good and it can be easy to hurry onward at a pace which makes neglecting something a reality.


Running late and hurried to make it to an event, I jumped in the car and heard 'Dubs say, "Gimme a kiss!" My response was not one of a "focus on what matters wife." It was, "I'm running late, I'll give you a kiss when I get back." Thankfully, he saw the humor in this and laughingly pulled me close for a quick smooch and whispered in my ear, "I love you."


As I drove home, God reminded me of these words Craig and Amy had shared: "Neglect the world if you have to, but never neglect one another."


My heart sank. Even in such a small way, in what may be an understandable way, my priorities were mixed up and I had focused on not a bad thing but the lesser thing. Oh, how easy it is to do. I'm thankful God was gentle in teaching His beloved daughter, a new wife, how to live out the commandment of covenant. By His grace alone, we will continue learning one day at a time.


2. What makes Jesus marvel?

Last Fall, I shared a conviction I've felt of marveling at lesser things. Reading through the Gospels, I had to pause every time I read the word, "marvel." What made Jesus marvel? Faith. What made the disciples marvel? Miracles Jesus performed.


So, how do we make heaven marvel? Faith. What is worthy of our marvel? Miracles. The lesser things are never marvel-worthy but expected and marveling at these will only exhaust us.


1. Count your miracles.

A friend I get to co-lead a small group with shared how she's teaching her young girls about the power of prayer and using marbles to do it. I loved this so much, I didn't want to wait to have kids in the house to do it. My heart knew I needed this. I want to be intentional in marveling at the miracles and not the lesser things. We can count our problems or we can count our answered prayers, our miracles. In our house, we're choosing the latter.


Dropping each marble in our gum ball display is so special not because the marble or the container is anything remarkable but because of what each marble represents - one miracle which has been prayed for over 6 years, another came in year 27. Another is a sweet reminder we can trust God when circumstances are unfair, because God is our provider and He is a just God. Counting 5 miracles this winter, the fifth, we are so humbled to have just received!


Each a common thread as all have been born through pain. Friend, hear me in this: if your circumstances feel more painful than miraculous right now, don't lose hope. Rejoice now in full faith, the faith which causes heaven to marvel, because our God is faithful! He's in the business of miracles! May we be in the business of counting them and marveling at His greatness, His power, His attentiveness and care and telling others of what we have seen for the rest of our days.


Looking Ahead

Looking back helps us gain perspective as we look forward. Now, shifting our gaze forward...


I cannot wait to see the Spring flowers bloom across the farm. My sweet gardening friend has shared so many beautiful photos with me and my heart leaps with each one. What a treat it will be to see it in person! (I'm expecting tulips and peonies to be among the beauties before me in the coming months, which only means one thing... I'm gonna need more marbles!)


What are you looking forward to this Spring?



Now, it's your turn. What have you learned through this last season?

To help get you started, you can download your FREE printable in the Resources page. (Add your email below to gain access today!)


Let's find strength knowing we do not endure these seasons alone. Let's find joy knowing there is purpose for each season we walk. Let's find peace in reflecting on the lessons learned and accepting these circumstances, much like seasons, as temporary. Let's find rest as we cling to the eternal.


The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.



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