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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: The Long Face Of Winter
By Deborah Ann Belka


It’s only four in the morning and I rise before the sun, but I don’t care much about the hour, or for that matter the day, or even the week in which it falls. Pushing this disheartening thought aside, I carelessly throw off my quilt and get out of my warm bed. In the darkness I reach for my robe and throw it over my shoulders and wander off to the kitchen.

The dimness that fills the kitchen comes from the small light on my window sill and will soon brighten to a dull gray and the dawn of yet, another dreary day. I look out the window and see a reflection looking back at me. The image is not clear, but through these blood shot eyes, I recognize the long face of winter.

The morning dawns, and as anticipated the grayness is upon me. I look out the same window, but there is no reflection looking back, instead I see a white flake, then two, three, four . . .

I watch as joylessness lands over by the porch swing, then hopelessness drifts by the frozen bird bath, floating close behind is cheerlessness, and gloominess falls nearby. Before too long, there are too many flakes to count and I can no longer see where they land. But, I know that unhappiness, discouragement, and pessimism have fallen somewhere to the ground and will cling on to the others.

Winter piles up and soon covers any memories of sunny summer days, sipping lemonade on the swing, watching birds splashing about, and cool fall days walking through the fresh crisp leaves, before they turn soggy, like my spirits.

I put my hand into my bathrobe’s left pocket and pull out the piece of paper I read from each morning.
For the past three months, I have opened it, read it, and replaced it in the same pocket and will probably do so, until such time the sun decides to humanely throw off its cloudy covers.

The paper is a little dog-eared, but I can still read the words written. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”Philippians: 4:8 NKJ

I sit for awhile and reflect on the verse, and then I take out my journal and begin to write down random thoughts and Bible verses.

Whatever things are true: The Lord wants me to know His joy.

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation.” Psalms 39:5NKJ

Whatever things are noble: God wants me to have peace of mind.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJ

Whatever things are just: The Lord is my strength; He can and will lift me up.

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31 NKJ

Whatever things are pure: Depressing thoughts are not of the Lord.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 NKJ

Whatever things are lovely: I long for warmer days and brighter thoughts.

“Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalms 37:4 NKJ

Whatever things are of good report: I need to confess my sins to Him each morning.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NKJ

When I am finished, I look down at the blanket of snow below me, and I see just how much the Lord loves and forgives me. The long face of winter now wears a bright smile, where gloom once bemoaned its dreary thoughts, a new song fills my heart, and I think tomorrow - I’ll just rise with the Son.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Bach 08/21/09
Great devotional. Much to think about here.
Valarie Sullivan08/21/09
Great imagery! I liked how you ended with hope.
Charla Diehl 08/21/09
This was my first read for today and I'm glad I chose it. It qualifies for a great devotional and I'm so glad it ended in a cheerful way. Lots of creative phrases tucked within this beautiful story.