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Doug Creamer: Preparing for winter

I really enjoy fall with its cooler days and crisp nights. After a long hot summer, the coolness of fall can feel so refreshing. Fall brings with it many tasks that need to be completed before the arrival of the cold winter nights. Many days in the summer are too hot to be out working in the yard, so the cooler days of fall give me the opportunity to get back outside so I can get some work done.
When we are at risk of some cold nights we have to bring in my wifeís tropical plants. They have had a nice long summer of growth and now we have to squeeze them into the garage where they can stay warm for the winter. Every year it gets harder to get them all in for the winter because they are getting so big. My niece gave us a Norfolk Island Pine many years ago for Christmas. It was about six inches tall. Now it is nearly six feet tall.
Another thing that needs to get done is cleaning out the flower beds. We need to pull up all the annuals and the weeds so we can plant some pansies. Pansies are such wonderful flowers that help to dispel the winter blues. Seeing their beautiful faces can help me be more patient as I wait for the arrival for spring.
We are planning to buy some spring bulbs this year. It seems the blooms on our current bulbs are getting smaller and fewer so we are going to put some fresh bulbs out. I think it is fun to go looking for the bulbs as they peek out in late winter. I can remember daffodils blooming for Valentineís Day one year. I have some pictures of spring bulbs blooming in the snow. Bulbs and pansies work in tandem to help give us hope that spring is on the way during those cold winter days.
Much of the fall work, which also includes seeding and fertilizing the yard and putting mulch around the flower beds, is done to prepare not only for the winter ahead but for the hope of a fresh new spring. We must prepare the flower beds, sow the bulbs and grass seed if we hope to have good results in the spring. We need to practice these same principles in our spiritual lives if we want spring flowers and a fall harvest.
I believe the seasons are reminders to us that we go through spiritual seasons too. We have times of growth and flowers that lead to a fruitful harvest, which is followed by a season of quiet rejuvenation. We need to recognize the signs in our lives so as we see fall arriving we can prepare our hearts for the winter. We need to understand that quiet times are vitally important in preparing our hearts for new seasons of growth and fruit.
God knows we need to rest and be refreshed so we can prepare our lives for a new harvest. I like the exciting spiritual times and I find it hard to get through the dry winter-like times in my spiritual walk. God designed those times to allow us to rest from our work and to build perseverance in our character.
Another reason God may allow us to walk through winter is that he is jealous. He wants to spend time with us. It may be hard to imagine, but God wants intimate, quality time with us. He wants us to know the depth of his love and to hear his voice, that still whisper that speaks to our hearts. God also wants us to dig into his word to discover fresh new gems, to learn more about him. We can never totally know God, but he wants to reveal more of himself to us. Those revelations often come in the quietness that is the winter for our heart.
I want to encourage you no matter what season you find yourself in to press into God. He wants to show you more about himself than you could ever imagine. If you feel winter coming on, donít panic. He wants more intimacy with you. Dust off your Bible and read more about him. Find a quiet place where you can talk with him. Draw closer to him and he will draw closer to you.
The seasons of life will change with time, but Godís desire to reveal himself to you never does. Draw close to him and be refreshed by his love, grace, and mercy, and then share that with the world around you.

Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is at www.dougcreamer.com Contact him at P.O. Box 777, Faith, NC 28041, or email doug@dougcreamer.com

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