Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

This is going to be a long winter


I struggle with faith a lot. Some days, I don’t want there to be a God. On others I wish for nothing more than a heavenly father who protects me. I wish so badly to KNOW the truth but I guess nobody does. I sometimes even wish I had a near-death experience like some people do so I can see if it just goes black or if it actually continues. Yes I know about the theories with the chemicals and vivid dreams, but then I’d feel safe – for myself.

Today I’m having a day pondering God a lot. This morning I walked past the elementary school while I was running some errands and I heard a choir of small kids sing: Great God, you hold me in your hands, I can not fall deeper than that, your love brightens my day, something along those lines (note: Public schools offer classes on each religion, if you don’t want your kids to go to any sort of religion class you can simply send them to philosophy and life classes). I looked around and saw fall. The leaves are already turning brown and red, the trees are already losing them.

I’m not a summer person, I love fall and winter. Too many people associate these seasons with destruction, death and cold in my opinion. Fall and winter are beautiful signs of life to me.

Fall removes the old, the used, the problems and burdens of the year. The trees rid themselves of what they don’t need anymore, what will be restored in spring. The flowers grow dry and tired and recede into the ground, preparing for the cold weather. I always thought this was a great picture of what Jesus does to people: He makes them rid themselves of the burdens and unnecessary of the past seasons and prepares them to be renewed.

As fall grows colder and colder, more and more things in the world go back to the basics. The leaves are gone, leaving the tree with nothing but a vital stem to survive on. The flowers are hidden in the ground as nothing but a seed or a root. Life is stripped to the basic, to the only things it really needs to survive.

And then, winter comes. And winter isn’t the harsh time of testing and death. It’s a time for sleeping, resting, waiting. Yes, sometimes it means death to some, trees, plants, people, but it kills gently, putting them into a deep slumber at first, then covers the deathbeds with its white linen sheets and simply doesn’t let them wake up again. Winter isn’t the time of painful death but the time of gentle home-calling. And the others sit and wait to be renewed.

Isn’t that just how faith should be? We get rid of what we don’t need, are reduced to the basics in order to be renewed when it’s time.

Snow is so soothing for me, it’s always been like that. As a child I couldn’t wait for snow to fall. When the first flakes of that glimmering white fluff appeared in the sky I ran outside or ran to open a window to listen to the joyous sound. I think many people consider me crazy because they can’t hear it. But I know many others can but don’t want to admit to it. When snow falls, it’s the most beautiful sound I can imagine.

Close your eyes and listen to it. There’s going to be a muted feeling, a muted sound. A sound as if you were standing somewhere in a castle like in the fairy tales and from far away in the castle, from some huge ballroom you can hear it: The soft muttering of excited, elegant masses, the sounds of flowing long satin dresses, delicate fabrics rubbing on each other, a quiet footstep here and there. It’s a huge ball and the couples are preparing to start dancing. Can you see all the dancers dressed in beautiful white gowns, smiling at each other and waiting for the musicians to play?

Many people declared me crazy when I told them about this. But it’s true. And I used to believe that God intended just this picture when he made snow.

And as the snow covers the world it’s like God covering the world with his soft white blanket, tucking us in like children.

You may find it weird that I’m already talking about now in September, I really don’t know myself why I just wrote what I did but I felt the need to explain where my thoughts today came from.

I feel like when I left the movement, my personal fall came, stripping me of everything I didn’t need, things that went wrong, things that weren’t good for me. And then, winter came. I’m waiting for something. I don’t know when it will come, or what will come my way. I don’t even know if it will come my way. I’m like a root. Maybe I’m on my deathbed, maybe I’m not. I’m hoping I’ll see spring and summer, though.


9 thoughts on “This is going to be a long winter

  1. Als je naar de natuur kijkt zie de schoonheid van God. Alle seizoenen dat is prachtig. Hoe de bladeren van de bomen vallen. Dieren die hun winter slaap gaan houden. Noem maar op. De mens is bestand voor alle seizoenen, rekening houden voor de bepaalde mensen die er moeite mee hebben. Je kan je er ook naar kleden. Niks aan te doen. God heeft zijn heelal zo gemaakt. En alles wat God heeft gemaakt is volmaakt.
    Gods weg is volmaakt,
    het woord van de HEER is zuiver,
    een schild is hij
    voor allen die bij hem schuilen. (Psalm 18:31)Gezegend weekend.

  2. Your analogy of the falling snow is beautiful. I can hear the snow! I love it too. Blessings on your day. Keep listening, you are hearing Him.

  3. Fall is my favourite season & I love the snow too. I missed one winter (I was living in Singapore) and really did miss it. I love living in a place with seasonal variation. I loved your description about the sound of snow.

    Knowing for certainty isn’t possible about anything. We don’t KNOW that we’re not just brains in vats or virtual people “living” in an advanced computer program. We don’t KNOW that there are no leprechauns or unicorns. But we can be relatively sure about these things and live like the 99% probability is a certainty (subject to change if we get new information of course). We can also ignore the 99% probability and pretend that there are dryads or dragons. It might even feel good or comforting to pretend that fairies live at the bottom of your garden, protecting your home from intruders. But it can also be debilitating. If you’re not pretending anymore, you don’t have to worry about the fairies doing you mischief or making your life miserable if you don’t propitiate them. You don’t have to worry anymore about them stealing babies or luring your family members into their fairyland never to return.

    There’s a really good series on youtube done by a guy who grew up in a Pentacostal church and how he lost his faith (I hate to use that phrase, like it’s something bad that happened). It’s not preachy or anything, just a record of his own experience and how his thoughts and knowledge about God & religion changed over time

  4. I’ll translate it for you using Google Translator:
    If you look at nature see the beauty of God. Every season is beautiful. How the leaves fall from the trees. Animals that come to love their winter sleep. You name it. Man is resistant for all seasons, take into account for some people who have difficulty. You can also to dress up. Nothing to do. God has so created universe. And all that God has made ​​is perfect.
    God’s way is perfect;
    word of the Lord is pure,
    He is a shield
    for all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 18:31) Blessed weekend.
    It is beautiful, somehow I knew it would be. The translator messed it up a bit, but since you know German, you will likely make sense of it.

    I really liked what you wrote and will continue to pray for you. I know that God holds you in the palm of His hand.

  5. I love the sound of snow. And I love the way it makes the world look. What I don’t like is the cold but I’m sure in heaven, God will fix that for me.

    My pastor’s wife wrote a retreat called Seasons of a Woman which we did with women from several other churches in the summer of ’10. It was nice to be able to look at them in terms of each thing we do in our lives. From spring we start new ventures. In summer, we move along remembering to keep our words sweet as do. In the fall, we harvest what we have been working on. In winter, we rest and consider what a new spring will bring us.

    You definitely are ready for a long winter to consider what the spring will bring new in your life. In the meantime, I see you harvesting the past as a warning to those who might find themselves entrapped in what you have escaped from. God has truly given you a fall ministry here with this blog and a season of rest and renewal in a new life in Germany.

    I hope where you are that you are covered with snow all winter long.

  6. Beautiful post, Lisa. Those images would make an excellent poem; have you ever tried to write poetry?

    I believe that God is a loving Father who is always ready to provide the love we need. May He bring you a beautiful spring in the right time.



  7. I just came upon your blog through Love, Joy, Feminism, and I love the way you write and the thoughtfulness with which you analyze theological and cultural issues.

    I also wanted to say how much this entry moved me. I am not a Christian, I am a pagan and look to nature for my “church”, and I found the way you wrote about fall and winter to be so resonant with how I feel and what I believe. I hope the comparison isn’t offensive; to me it suggests how closely different faiths can move together and find a reflection in each other. Thank you so much.

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