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Winter weighs heavy on me, a smothering blanket of cold, gray-skied days. I consume too much coffee and long for the comfort of a good book and my bed. Winter can feel like a dead season, and me, well, I’m not much for winter–it’s too hard.

In the hollows of these longer winter afternoons I find comfort in remembering, for everything there is a season.

This is true in nature and in our lives. Lent is a bit of a dark season. As we reflect on Christ’s suffering and death, we can feel the weight of glory pressing down on us. This season of self-reflection and repentance can be a time of great struggle–and healing.

God is light and yet living in the light of Christ doesn’t exclude us from seasons of struggle and darkness. We know that we will face trial and pain in this world (John 16:33), but God works in the darkness. The hard times when our faith feels flat and our lives are messy, wrought with challenges and emotional upheaval–these winters are necessary and good–even when we cannot see that from where we stand.

In both scripture and nature we see the value of time in the dark. Jonah spent three days in the belly of a fish. Three long, dark, agonizing days waiting for God to speak, to move, to act. He surely thought this was the end. But this time was a gift for Jonah, an opportunity to reflect on the shape of his heart, allowing him time to repent from his self-righteousness and judgement on Nineveh.

We have lived seasons where the weight of this fallen world threatens to be our undoing. The burden of sin bares down hard and we beg for mercy while we wait in the dark–wait for God to act. This is the refining we are called to. This is not a useless season.

Tulips must be planted in the fall in order to bloom in the spring. They need time in the soil, in the dark, during the winter, in order to bloom, come spring. The darkness is not something to run from. The furnace of refinement is not something to fear.

This is the time to stand still, to listen to what he’s whispering, and to allow Him to strip you of the covers you’ve been hiding under. Trust me when I say, you’ve not got anything He hasn’t seen before. Stand in this fire, let Him purify you–this is how He loves us. This is the process of sanctification. ~Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey Of Refinement

In the barrenness of winter, we wait anxiously for spring. We watch for new life, and as the first tender shoots make their way through the last thin veil of snow, we rejoice at this light breaking through dark soil. These silvery crocus buds are blooms of hope–a reminder that out of these hard times, growth comes.

The truth of the Christian life is that we grow most in our faith through adversity. ~Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement

As Easter approaches, we know we can endure the long winter that comes before. We remember that after the crucifixion, there was a period of darkness. For three days, God was silent. And then, resurrection–hope lives.

Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement After enduring a difficult refining season myself, I poured my experience and Christ-centered encouragement into a book for others who also seek to grow through their struggles. Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, explores the necessity of enduring the refining seasons, and offers encouragement to others who are facing the heat of the Refiners Fire. If you’re looking for a companion for your own journey of refinement, I’d love to walk with you.

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As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mom of four, Kris is passionate about Jesus, people and words. When she’s not writing, she enjoys taking gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations on Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International. She is the author of Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement, and blogs at Always Alleluia.

By His strength, for His glory,

Kris Camealy

Author of the book, Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement