Do you think that I'm talking about being worn out, run down, overly tired?
Well, if you are – GOTCHA!
I'm talking about something else entirely, but you're gonna have to keep reading to find out what! (I know, kinda unfair – but I love a captive audience…)
Winter has hit our mountains!
Cold, cold temperatures.
How cold? Well, think about daytime highs around 30. Now, before my Midwest or Eastern visitors scoff at these balmy temperatures (you Polar Vortex survivors, you) – you gotta remember something. I am a Southern California girl who's lived here all of her life – and I've lived rather close to the beach.
So, I am used to wearing shorts and flip-flops during the winter on occasion. I am used to high 80's, low 90's heat-waves in January. I have been known to go to the beach and get a sunburn before March. A winter coat for me might be a sweater.
From my perspective, mountain California is COLD!
And therefore arises a problem.
How to keep warm?
A challenge indeed.
Propane is very expensive – and it's the only way that forced heating works up here. Gone are the days of relatively inexpensive natural gas heating. (I actually miss my old Gas Company bill…). And so, "The Hub" and I have tried to find the most cost-effective ways to keep warm.
We're getting better at it. It's our third winter up here, after all.
Last year, we heard horror stories about propane bills that cost more than a small mortgage (hyperbole…). So, we didn't want to use our central heating too much.
We tried a space heater one month. Big mistake. As in HUGE big mistake. As in, $$$ mistake!
Yes, we keep a fire going all day. But that can add to another bill – the electric bill. Why? Because we have this firebox thing – it's not really a fireplace. Let me explain. Our firebox has glass doors on it. So, we put the logs into the firebox, light the logs, and then close the doors.
After awhile, when the temperature rises to a certain degree of heat, an automatic fan goes on which then blows out the heated air through a decorative brass grate. Nice, but the fan always remains on (using up electricity).
Oh sure, we tried leaving the doors open. But, for some reason, a firebox doesn't quite work like a fireplace. Can you say – smoke inhalation? I knew you could. So, the doors must remain shut.
Sure, we might replace it someday with a good old-fashioned rock fireplace. Sometime when we have a few spare thousand dollars lying around. Maybe after we pay the electric bill – or have the propane tank filled up.
Therefore, in an effort to maintain warmth, and while also trying to be frugal, we have come up with other solutions.
Last winter, we bought an electric blanket, just to take the chill off the sheets before bedtime.
And, we curl up in blankets, and bundle up in warm clothing.
Like my down jacket.
Now do you get it?? I'm wearing "down" – HA! (Punsters join in with a united groan…)
Yup, wearing my down jacket inside the house might sound foolish to you guys. But I kinda like it. Especially on those days when I'm just reading or writing.
So, what's my spiritual lesson in this?
Well, first of all, that it's cold outside!
This tired old broken world can be pretty stark sometimes. Unfriendly, hostile, daunting. The natural elements themselves can be hard to manage. But sometimes the coldness of people is even worse.
And you know that empty, lonely, hopeless place that our hearts can go to.
We can find ourselves freezing in the separation from that warm fuzzy feeling that we all long for.
Many people turn to many things to fill that cold hole – other people, other pleasures, other places – and sometimes those choices can be very expensive to the soul.
God doesn't want us turning to anything else besides Himself.
But God does understand how we feel.
After all, He made us in His image – and His image is all about connection, intimacy, love.
And, I'm thinking that He's actually given us a pretty good *down jacket* in the form of the Holy Spirit.
The actual Presence of Himself wrapping His arms around us, warming us with His comfort, enveloping us in His peace.
Baby, it might be cold outside – but I am not.
I'm wearing *down*…
…and looking UP!
Button up your overcoat
When the wind is free,
Take good care of yourself
You belong to
- GOD -
"You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter." (Psalm 74:17, ESV)
"God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour...From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast....stop and consider the wondrous works of God...God is clothed with awesome majesty. The Almighty...he is great in power..." (Job 37:5-6, 9-10, 14, 22, 23, ESV)
"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come..." (Song of Solomon 2:11-12, NIV)
"Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants."(Deuteronomy 32:2, NLT)
"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace...'" (Isaiah 55:8-12, ESV)
"Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters." (Proverbs 25:13, ESV)
What keeps your faith *warm* in the cold and wintry seasons of life?
SHARING HIS BEAUTY, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, MAKE A DIFFERENCE MONDAYS, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, UNITE, TITUS 2 TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, TELL HIS STORY, CAPTURE YOUR JOURNEY, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, WISE WOMAN, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, SO MUCH AT HOME, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, HEARTS FOR HOME, GRACE AT HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAYS, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, SHINE, BELOVED BREWS, LIGHT FRIDAY HIT LIST, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, A GROUP LOOK, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, SATURDAY SOIREE, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND BREW, GIVE ME GRACE, SUNDAY STILLNESS
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