Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 27 comments

It's been a long winter here in Michigan. According to Sunday's Grand Rapids Press, this winter has been the second snowiest on record with 107.8 inches. In addition we've also been experiencing record cold, so much so that today's combination of sunshine and 25 degrees feels downright balmy! 



I think this little guy pretty much sums up the sentiments around here as of late:

                             
Email subscribers can click here to view the video clip.


I've often joked that complaining about the weather is our hobby here in Michigan because let's face it - we do a lot of complaining.



This year, we're complaining that it's too cold, there's too much snow, winter is lasting too long...


Last spring we were complaining it was too wet (which is exactly what will happen this year if everyone gets their wish and the snow just disappears overnight)...


And the year before, our complaint was that it was too warm, forcing the trees to bud prematurely. This picture of "Dude" was taken mid-March, 2012, when temperatures topped 80 degrees.

Do you see a pattern here?

Why is it we're so quick to complain? It doesn't do anyone any good. In fact, because what we focus on gets bigger, complaining just exacerbates our displeasure.

                          

I've just finished reading the book of Job in a Bible reading plan, and in this book I think God definitely saved the best for last. After Job's complaints and his friend's poor advice, God speaks:

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?...
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!...
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; 
     here is where your proud waves halt’?
“Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place,...
“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea 
     or walked in the recesses of the deep?...
“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow 
     or seen the storehouses of the hail,                          ~ Job 38:1-22

God was reminding Job that we don't really know anything about anything and we don't have any right to complain. How do you feel when people are complaining to you, ignoring all you've done for them and never saying, "Thank you."?


Have you stopped to thank God for what he's provided for you this winter?

- Do you have a place to live? Is it insulated? Does it have heat? Hot water? 
- Do you have electricity? The internet?
- Do you have a coat? Gloves? A hat? Scarf? Boots?
- Do you have transportation? With heat?
- Do you work indoors?
- Do you have food to eat? Have you gone hungry?

Don't you think, with all the complaining we've been doing, we should balance it out with "thank you's"? 


Do you recall how hot it was back in the summer of 1988? We had a record number of 90 degree days and I had a home with no air conditioning and a baby that hated to go outdoors. At one point I remember saying, "If it's this hot one more day, so help me..."

And I felt God answer, "Then what? What are you going to do about it?"

He had a point.

A few years ago we experienced a very mild winter. So mild that we had minimal snow cover. Did that make me happy? Truthfully, no. All winter long I looked out my window to see everything brown and dead. It was at that moment I decided I was done complaining about winter. Instead, I decided to take the Narnia approach.


If you've ever read "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," then you may recall that at the beginning of the story, in the Land of Narnia, "it's always winter but never Christmas."

I've made the choice to have the mindset that "it's always winter." That is, when it's winter I think about winter. By keeping my focus on the here and now, I find it's easier for me to stay content. Then when Spring eventually rolls around, as it always does, it comes as a nice reprieve and a pleasant surprise. 


"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky." ~ Philippians 2:14-15

Yes it's been cold, but we still have a lot to be thankful for. The days are getting longer, it's ever so gradually getting warmer, we're starting to see more sunshine and it has been beautiful in our neck of the woods.


Father, I thank you that you are in control of all things, including the weather! Forgive us for our grumbling, for never being satisfied with what You give us. We speak of things we do not know. Help us change our attitude to one of gratitude, taking time to say, "Thank You!" for the many ways you provide for us each and every day.


We made it out to Grand Haven March 8 and were able to walk out on Lake Michigan - still frozen solid!
Lisa


27 Responses so far.

  1. Beautiful post, Lisa. I'm visiting from TTF and am so glad I did. I love meeting new bloggers of faith. Blessings, Diana (PS It's cold in upstate NY, too!)

  2. What an absolutely lovely and appropriate post for the weather this year. Love the Job passage, too, for it really fits our puny complaints :) I am glad I stopped by after your comment! I usually return back a comment and this is why! Multiplied blessings!

  3. jviola79 says:

    Beautiful post and photos! I especially liked your thoughts on staying in the season. I try to do the same. Otherwise, it seems to me like I am wishing the days away and wasting precious time which we can never get back. So much wisdom in this post, Lisa.

  4. Jedidja says:

    Thank you for this very special post! I like the photos but also the biblical message :-)

  5. Beckey says:

    Oh - GREAT post! I never really considered how I feel when I am trying to get something done and everyone keeps second guessing and/or complaining about what I'm doing/how long it's taking/how it inconveniences them... but I do that to God All.The.Time. Ouch... (in that good "ouch" kinda way)

    Beckey
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/queenbsbusywork
    http://reallyreallyrealhousewives.blogspot.com

  6. gentlejoy says:

    Great post - and wonderful pictures. It is so easy to complain, especially as we are weary of this or that. Thank you for the reminder. :) Gentle Joy

  7. Yes, there definitely is a 'time for every season' -
    love the photo beauty !
    thanks for sharing them (=

    HapPy weekending...

  8. Marie says:

    We've had the snowiest winter on record and I've loved every minute of it. I can hardly wait until spring to see the new growth. Summer will be awesome with lots of outdoor family/friend time. Fall will set up my desire for snow and here we go again. I love God and His creation. Each day is a new day and from my perspective He did it just for me. Blessings to you and yours! Marie @ http://a satisfied spirit.com

  9. Maria says:

    You have had a harsh winter indeed. I have family in Michigan. A lot of our conversations end up being about the weather! I wouldn't call it complaining :) just something you cannot skip talking about, right??!! We have often talked about the things we have been blessed with - roof over our head, family, ability to take winter weather, etc.

    Love the photos and love your ideas about staying in the season.

    Maria
    www.musicteachingandparenting.com

  10. Beautiful pictures and great thoughts - us Brits are infamous for complaining about the weather too :-) But there is great wisdom here about the right attitude.
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  11. Linda says:

    Never been so thankful for heat! Complaining is difficult to not do!

  12. Yes, thank you for reminding us to be thankful and greatful for what ever we have. Isn't it just like us to not be happy with events. Keep a balance in the weather, our lives, our homes, our jobs, out church - - but then it would be so boring. Thank you sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

  13. Naomi says:

    Lisa...I loved the reminder in your post to be thankful. When we complain, it steals the joy of being thankful. Thank you for sharing at WJIM's Monday's Musings. Blessings.

  14. I've struggled with complaining during this long winter, too. Thanks for the reminder to give thanks!

  15. Those are beautiful winterscapes. I love winter and I live near the mountains in western Canada so we sure do get our fare share, but I have to admit, snow in May can be a bit much! Visiting via "WakeUpWednesdays" linkup

  16. Really enjoyed your post. Gorgeous photos and powerful message. Visiting from Wake up Wednesday Linky Party.
    Debbie - www.deliciouslyinspired.com

  17. Beautiful post. I'm so glad you shared with Three Word Wednesday today. This was my first post to read today which is perfect timing with the fresh covering of snow we received today. I needed reminder to always give thanks...instead of grumbling. It does look rather beautiful I must say.
    Blessings,
    Beth

  18. Heather says:

    Beautiful winter photos. I don't envy you that much snow. Here, the problem has been extreme cold more than snow, though we are about a foot above average for the season. It was 52F Monday (lots of melting and some flooding) and now only 24 and light snow this morning.

  19. Hi Lisa, Beautiful photos and a great reminder that God is always in control and I am so glad that He is. He is constant and we are not. I've been reminding myself a lot lately to be grateful for all things in all circumstances. We always think we have it bad; someone is always worse and our "bad" turns out to be a blessing at some point.

  20. I loved the Narnia reference and the reminder to stay in the moment and stay grateful. Thanks!

  21. We're in Michigan too, and it's negative five today. It felt really cold when I went outside to warm hubby's car up for work. When I came back in I instantly said a prayer thanking God for my warm house, and my husband who goes to work every day to provide it.

  22. Wonderful post and beautiful wintry and not so wintry photography ~ hugs to all ~ xxx

    artmusedog and carol

  23. I'm kind of in awe of the two pictures of the bridge and the water level. We get a bit of high water here (Oregon....from all the rain), but that picture is pretty dramatic!

  24. "The Narnia Approach"! I like that! We've had a very LONG winter as well, but I hope it is done! If not, I'll have to remember the Narnia Approach! By the way, your photos were very very lovely!

  25. caryjo says:

    Yes, it's been quite a year re: winter. Too cold here in Omaha, but they are already saying it will be too dry b/c we've had snow, but not enough. It's been way too hot here and way too cold here and too much snow and ice here in the past. All we can do is trust the Lord to put us in the right place, right time to serve him. I see so much going on around and about and know He is all we can rely upon. And, whether we are in hot/dry places often in Uganda and Kenya or rainy messy places, again, all we can do is rely upon the Lord. Can be a challenge round and about the world. Love your photos, BTW.

  26. Kat says:

    I have so much to be thankful for and try to live in the day and be grateful for what I have on that day. Honestly, the only time of year you'll find me having a pity party is in the summer when it gets unbearably hot and humid here. Otherwise, you'll find me appreciating what each season brings. This was a really great post (and pictures) reminding us to do just that.

    Visiting from Mama Kat's :)

  27. It’s always interesting read you posts Lisa and lovely photographs.

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