I find it slightly ironic that I am writing a post about what I learned this winter as I sit in a room grateful that even though my air conditioner quit today, I am not swimming in sweat. Being an Iowa girl, I am sad to say I did not even miss the snow and cold one bit. Maybe it was because last winter in Central Asia and then Spring in the states were colder than normal. (Pic from last year)
As the calendar Winter comes to an end, I am reflecting on what I have learned, both the serious and fun. I am not in this alone as other bloggers and I are linking up with Emily Freeman in her own post of what she has learned this winter.
Here is what I have learned:
1. Spring is here.Winter is known for a season where things lie dormant. It is often characterized by cold and bleakness. A few years ago, I went to a conference for moms that was led by Sally Clarkson. At the conference, she talked about the different seasons we go through as a mother and woman. She said,
"Winter prepares you to be humble because you are not in control. If you try to provide for yourself, you will miss the blessing of God. "Winter can be a time of darkness where we need to wait on God to come in and help us make our roots grow deeper. It is important to remember that after winter comes spring, and we need to hold onto the promise of spring. I love how in the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, it has been winter for a long time, but as the snow starts to melt, the people come alive with excitement. They recognized that Spring is here.
I am in a season of spring just not a physical one. It is like I had been in a fog dealing with little things here and there. I would never have characterized it as winter until I wasn't in it anymore. The change is small, but I suddenly have more "spring" in my step. I feel healthier. But most of all, I am wanting to try new things. Cooking new recipes is more the norm. I have even begun doing some decorating in our house. What do you think of this sign that a friend helped me paint on a piece of driftwood I found?
I have also had more brain power to read non fiction and actually process some of the issues that I am reading about. It is nice when my go to read isn't always a novel or fluff.
Spring is known as a season of fruit so I pray that this season is just that for me. We will see....
2. About Prayer from my African Friend.
I have a lady that comes in twice a week to help me around the house. What a blessing it is to me but it is also a blessing for her as it provides her income to help care for her family. On those days, we eat lunch together. She is always a good sport about eating my food as long as I have some rice and hot sauce available.
In this time together, I have come to treasure our talks but also the prayer to bless our food. One day I pray and the next she prays. She always begins her prayer...
Lord, thank you for waking me up this morning.Living in Liberia, she does not take life for granted. She realizes that life is a gift from God. She covers her children and my children in prayer. Often she asks that God will drive the car as two of her children navigate back and forth in taxis to school. Her prayers are other centered and bold. She challenges me to pray for everything.
My friend takes literally that prayer is important work. She may not be able to read and write, but she can come boldly before the throne of grace. What a privilege for me to get to pray with her and for her each week.
3. How to ripen papayas and pineapples
Right before we were going to be gone a few days, my produce guy came around selling fruit and veggies. When you don't buy anything, you get put at the bottom of his list and might not see him again for awhile. So I bought a few things hoping the items would still be good when we made it back home. Luckily for me, my papaya and pineapple were not ripe. Our guest from Guatemala told me I should wrap them in newspaper and put them in my oven. Since I didn't have newspaper, I wrapped them in dish towels and put them in my oven. I wasn't worried about cooking them by accident since I have to light my oven with the door open. Just in case, I wrote a big note reminding myself to look in the oven when I came home. I came home to a pineapple and papaya perfectly ripened and deliciously sweet.
4. How My Bible Atlas Helps My Understanding
I have this Bible atlas that I have dragged from the states to Central Asia back to the states and now to Africa. I hate to admit that I haven't used it much until the last month or so. In the First5 app, they are going through the book of Joshua and Judges. It makes so much more sense when I look the actual cities up on a map. My atlas even has a map that shows what land each tribe inherited and another showing where each judge is from. For me, it is adding a deeper understanding of these books of the Bible.