After Winter, Spring

I have a love-hate relationship with the season of winter. Every year, the weather turns crisp, and the days get shorter as we enter autumn. I’m one of those pumpkin “freaks” who come out of the woodwork, eager to add pumpkin spice to everything and anything I can. Even though summer is my favorite season, I actually welcome the cooler days with their reprieve from the scorching sun and humidity we’ve just lived through for several months. Nonetheless, I know exactly where the calendar is taking us in another month or so.

After Thanksgiving, I delight in the liturgical season of Advent, as well as all of the lights and festivities the Christmas holidays provide. I look forward to welcoming a new year, a fresh start with goals—not resolutions. Throughout this time, my mojo, mental energy, and physical stamina sustain me. Until January 2nd.

Flowers planted in autumn need the winter so they can bloom in the spring.

From this day through spring, I have an entirely different life. Since my late teens, I have suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. Some winters are better than others; however, I never have a good winter. This past winter was especially difficult. In addition to my typical SAD struggles, there was a 9mm kidney stone blocking one of my ureters and the necessary surgery to remove it, the estrangement between a family member and myself, and the part-time job that I was especially fond of that I needed to resign from.

I have tried all of the traditional approaches to managing my condition: using a light box every morning (which is quite helpful!), exercise, keeping a gratitude journal, medication, and counseling. While all of these modalities definitely assist and assuage my suffering, none of them alleviate it. Winter is a nightmare for me.

I recently heard a talk all four seasons and how they relate to a person’s or a writer’s life.[1] It was just what I needed to provide me with a fresh perspective on my nemesis season. Just as in nature, all the seasons are necessary, and we are created for all of the seasons. “You fixed all the limits of the earth; summer and winter you made” (Psalm 74:17).

Flowers that bloom in the spring generally need to be planted in the fall. These flowers not only know how to survive winter, but winter is necessary for their growth.[2]  In the agricultural world, winter is a necessity as well. Snow is needed for the effects it brings forth in the spring, which then parlays into summer and the harvest. “For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of pruning the vines has come, and the song of the turtledove is heard in our land” (Song of Songs 2:11-12).

Prolonged Singleness and Winter   

All of us face various ordeals in life; however, only some people experience prolonged singleness. While trials may be considered a season of winter, I offer that we can cycle through all four seasons in our trials and sufferings, including prolonged singleness.

For example, spring occurs in prolonged singleness when you are learning about the call to marry, the reasons that a person doesn’t marry (see Matthew 19:10-12), and how to interact better with the opposite sex.

A season of summer occurs when you are growing fruit. For example, you may be putting yourself out there to meet new people –no matter how scary it might seem. You are climbing back up onto the proverbial horse after a rejection (which happens to all of us) or a difficult break-up. You reach out for encouragement when feeling discouraged or hopeless regarding God’s faithfulness in this area of your life. Also, your prayer for God to do what seems like the impossible is continuous, because it is based on his Word and not your feelings. These are all examples of lush, beautiful fruit, which demonstrates your dependance on and faith in God.

Now a harvest would be meeting your suitable spouse and leaving prolonged singleness behind. But with if there is an early frost or an autumn snowfall? These unfortunate weather conditions do happen. For a time, we find ourselves dealing with winter yet again before we reap the harvest bounty. There comes a time when you have done all you can do on your end and you are still suffering, whether it is from prolonged singleness or something else. Trust in God that he will come through despite how barren and hopeless the circumstances may look.

These winters or deep freezes in our lives may be ways that God invites us to fall desperately at his feet, knowing that only he can save us and our situations. I recently found the following verse in the Book of Acts that confirmed for me that God orchestrates the seasons of the world and our lives so that we will seek him:

He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:26-27).

Comfort Amidst Harshness

The Psalms can offer us comfort and words to express what is in our hearts during these difficult and frustrating times. I want to share with you the following two Scripture passages with you that help me during my own winters:

  • “My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress; I shall never fall” (Psalm 62:2-3).
  • “Trust in the Lord and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure. Find your delight in the Lord who will give you your heart’s desire. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will act and make your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like noonday” (Psalm 37:3-6).

For us human beings—us beloved children of God—winter may feel dormant, dreary, lifeless, harsh, and a waste of time. I have certainly felt this way. What if during the other seasons we completed all the activity that God had for us to do at the present time? What if during winter—actual winter or our own life’s winters—we rested in God’s grace? What if we stood firm in our faith that we had done all we could do, trusting that God would act on our behalf? I am beginning to ponder these questions myself and change my perspective. The answer may be that our winters will become a restorative and preparatory season so that we can bloom in the spring and subsequent harvests that God will surely send us.

Julieanne M. Bartlett           All Rights Reserved           Copyright 2024 

[1] Roseanna M. White, “Seasons of A Writer’s Life,” 2024 Inspire Writers Conference, April 20, 2024, in person.

[2] Dena Joan, “The Necessity of Winter,” Live, Love, Simple: A Lifestyle Blog About Motherhood, Joy, and Simple Living, February 16, 2011,

2 thoughts on “After Winter, Spring

  1. I am so grateful to have found your blog after listening to you on a podcast. I’m in a winter season despite it being spring, I continue to hold on to enduring hope and trust. It’s been 14 years of being a lady in waiting, and yet I feel the call to married life…..praying for all of you brave singles out there!

    1. Hello Brigitte!
      Thank you for your kind words! Please don’t loose hope. I know that it is a hard battle, but one that is worth it. God would not have given you this desire if he didn’t intend to or want to fulfill it : )

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