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Always Winter, Never Christmas



Is it just me, or does the time between October and January 1st go faster and faster each year? I mean, the beauty of changing leaves, crisper weather, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s… then what? 


Winter. Cold. 


Again, is it just me, or doesn't the time from January to Easter, just seem to creeeeep??


This is where we are now. 


“It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.”[1]


This was my perspective post-New Year's until my husband and I started having kids. Our first was born December 1st, which was fun because he was able to experience his first Christmas within a month of being born. Our daughter, on the other hand, is a February baby. Our third, who is still on the way, will be either a January or February baby (due date January 31st) and will likely be here by the time this blog post comes out! (YIKES! And HURRAH!)


This has changed everything. For us, the season doesn’t end because the holidays end due to all we still have to look forward to and celebrate. 


For us, winter now has more meaning.


Traditionally, February is known as the time of year where we are all needing a little pick-me-up. The weather is cold, love is in the air with Valentine's Day, and spring is just around the corner. Despite February being known as the month of love, many dread the topic of love and companionship because of the hurt they have endured through relationships both past and present. The “always winter, never Christmas” feeling of the now, but not yet.


It’s funny, because if you ask most people what makes life the most challenging, they will say some version of “people” and then will turn around and answer the same thing for what makes life most worth it.


As Valentine's Day approaches, the spotlight turns from the cold of winter to the enduring importance of love and marriage in our lives. Beyond the romantic gestures and candlelit dinners, research consistently underscores the profound impact of stable, loving relationships on our well-being. This just means that relationships tend to not only feel good but also are good for us. 


But is this how most of us feel about our marriages? Is your marriage the warm-me-up in the middle of winter or is it full of the frost and bone-chilling cold of the Midwest?


I guess this depends on who is on the throne of your home and marriage. 


As I heard my pastor explain it during a recent sermon series, is it you? Is it your spouse? Are you in competition?


Or is it the Lord?


Where is our focus during the seasons of cold - especially in our relationships? Do we just accept things as they are or do we do something about it?


One of the most difficult things to hear, and one of the best pieces of advice I got when I was engaged, came from my older sister, Beth. She said,


“You know, Becca, marriage is not made to make you happy, it’s to make you holy.”


Certainly, we all desire to be happy, and marriage will bring you joy for sure, but that is not the only thing marriage is designed to do.



I recently attended the wedding of my brother-in-law and his beautiful bride. During the ceremony, their officiant laid it out beautifully. First, the purpose of marriage is to reflect God’s image. The second reason is to reproduce God’s image. So our marriages should point to a bigger picture – a picture of Christ and the Church. It also is through this gift that we can bring children and new life into the world. 


So why is it then, that statistics show that more than half of marriages will end in divorce? Divorce.com found that studies across the board reveal these as some of the top reasons: lack of commitment (75%), infidelity/relationships outside of the marriage (59.6%), conflict, irreconcilable differences (57.7%), marrying too young (45.1%), money issues/debt (36.1%). Further down the list includes things like substance use/abuse/addiction, communication issues, inability to have children, domestic violence, child with mental illness, health problems, mental illness of spouse, lack of support from family and religious differences.[2] 


Wow. 


How many of those trace back to a focus on self – an elevation of our desires above the people around us? 


So I ask you this, in your relationships, who is on the throne? In your marriage, who is on the throne? In your home, who is on the throne? 


With a background in Marriage and Family Therapy, and in working with countless couples, I have found that most couples who walk into my office have been in a season of "winter" in their marriage for years and years. Therapy is their last resort at bringing back the promises of “Christmas” and life to their marriage.  


It can be a challenge to help these couples thaw the years of ice (aka bitterness, hurt, miscommunication, etc).  


So, before that happens, or if you find yourself in the above category, I challenge you to take a hard look at the things that get you frustrated in your marriage. I challenge you to prayerfully ask the Lord how you are contributing to the chaos. I challenge you to die to yourself. (Again, this does not mean that boundaries do not matter or that you do not get to have needs/desires/wants). 


How do we better reflect a picture of mutual submission like Christ has with the church? 


If your experience has been an “always winter, never Christmas” attitude in your marriage or relationship, can you identify what you wish was different? Can you find something that you could look forward to, be excited about, despite what year anniversary you are on or time of year it is? 


Let’s bring this back to the basics. I’m convinced we get what we look for.  Just like in my earlier story, the difference between an “always winter, never Christmas” attitude in our marriage is where our focus is. I challenge you to find the love in your marriage again this February and to renew your commitment to finding the joy of “Christmas” in the dead of winter.

__________________________________________


[1] From C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

[2] Statistics from Divorce.com


 


The year is off to a great start already and we are so grateful to have a team of partners who continue to give, pray, and volunteer. We could not do this important work without you! THANK YOU to everyone who walks alongside us to serve our community. Our sincere thanks to our January partners:


  • Thank you, High Street Baptist Church, for your generous year-end donation. We are so blessed to have your support.

  • We are so grateful to Rick & Jan Britton and Mike & Jan McGraw for your faithful gifts to position us for growth in 2024. Thank you for your generosity and belief in our mission.

  • To each of you who helped us close out 2023 with your year-end gifts, we say THANK YOU! – David Glasgow, Cory & Leslie Young, Danny Collins, and Michelle Gibler. So grateful to partner with you to reach our community.

  • Thank you, Larry Curtis, for your gift to our Give Back Campaign. Your gifts to help others receive the counseling they need is so appreciated.

  • A special thank you to donors giving through PayPal Giving Fund. We are honored that you have chosen to bless us through your purchases.

  • We are thrilled to have new monthly partners – Joel & Ruthie Morris. Thank you for joining us to bring peace to our community. We’re so grateful for your support.


To all of our faithful monthly and recurring supporters — THANK YOU from our Peace Partnership team! – Stone AMP SEO, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Mark McDonald, Jondy & Heather Britton, Matt & Kristy Newton, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Mark & Cathy McGaughey, Greg & Jennifer Spears, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, Mike & Jan McGraw, Midwest Accident Reconstruction Services, Stan & Deb Oglesby, Willie & Adia Valdes, Shelly Schuman, Linda Hartman, Dave & Rosie Bourland, Clean Heart Maids, Rudy & Stacy Blahnik, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Mike & Sandra King, Diane Smith, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Kevin Quinn, Genesis Counseling, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Jon & Naomi Thompson, John Otradovec, Tamara Stroud, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Vicki Hefner, Jenny Glasgow, Teddy Koehler, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Summit Springs Church, and Rick & Jan Britton.


We appreciate each and every one of you!


Interested in hearing more about our mission? Contact our Director of Development, Naomi Thompson, at: 816.272.0653 or naomi@peacecounseling.org to find out how you can join our team of Partners. To make a donation through our website, please click on the link below.




 



Have you or someone you know been helped by Peace Partnership or Genesis Counseling? If so, would you please consider paying it forward to help another find healing along their journey? We are asking anyone who is not currently partnering with us financially to consider donating $100/year for the next 3 years to help make a difference in someone else’s life. Collectively, we can help SO MANY PEOPLE! Please consider a gift today. Call the office for help getting your gift set up or choose a recurring donation on our website here. We are so grateful for your help changing lives!


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