Winter Seasons Produce Stronger Roots

When we're going through something painful, especially when it's long-term, it can leave us feeling weary, frustrated, and forgotten. After so long it feels like nothing will ever change. We feel stuck in it; stuck in a barren, lonely place. What once used to be vibrant and full of color has now muted into a hundred shades of dull gray.

This is actually a truth I see expressed through nature this time of year. Those vibrant, beautiful colors in the peak of fall will eventually give way to the barrenness and cold of winter. And during those long winter days, it can feel like spring will never come much less summer.

But even winter has its beauty. Even winter holds value and significance. Winter is a season that is more about unseen preparation than outward adornment. All the action is happening underground and out of sight. The beauty of spring, summer, and fall are more tangibly visible, and although I personally find real beauty in it, winter is not nearly the eye candy the other seasons are. But, and this is a big but, the sweet eye candy we start seeing in spring that proliferates through summer and fall would not be possible if it weren't for the unseen preparations of winter. 

What goes on in winter - the dormancy and barrenness - has everything to do with preparing for the budding and blooming of spring. Summer vegetation, leaves, and flowers cannot blossom without spring buds and blooms. And autumn's brilliant colors would never be seen apart from summer's lush fullness. It's the cycle of growth, the cycle of life, and we cannot have one without the other; they're all necessary.

Root systems are what actually anchor and nourish trees and plants. While everything above ground is in dormancy during winter months, roots maintain a readiness to grow. In fact, winter causes root systems to dig deeper underground and expand in search of nutrients and water in advance of spring budding. What beauty we see with our eyes - the limbs, leaves, stems, buds, and flowers - is but a reflection of what is unseen beneath the ground. A tree, plant, or flower is only as healthy and strong as its root system. 

Roots are the true life source.

God is our life source, and when we're rooted more deeply in Him, we can better endure the elements and outward assaults that come our way, including those He allows into our lives. In fact, they can drive us deeper into Him. I know it doesn't feel like anything comforting or miraculous while it's happening. Believe me, I understand. It can actually feel pretty harsh, agonizing, lonely, and even a bit maddening. But if I've learned one thing, it's this: growth is painful but oh so necessary. 

The Lord is very interested in our proper growth. He wants us to succeed in what He's called us to do for the Kingdom, which means we will all go through times of pruning and purging. We will also go through times when He places us in a winter season, or what seems to be a state of dormancy, to mature us and grow our roots deeper in Him. There isn't as much outward growth happening because this is an appointed time for inner growth. It's also a time we can learn how to truly rest in Him; a place where we come to discover more of Him and His ways.  

He's a good God, and He loves us so much and has a deep longing for us to really know Him. He also likes to bless us. However, we aren't always ready to handle the greatness of what He desires to bless and entrust us with. So He will place us in His growth process to help prepare us for it, and it usually hurts. Much like we experience growing pains during the physical or natural process of growing up, so do we experience growing pains in the process of our spiritual growth. 

But here's the good news - it draws us closer to Jesus. It roots us deeper in His love, hope, truth, and grace. 

This will ultimately produce beautiful, abiding fruit in our lives - that sweet eye candy. The harvest we reap for Him will be greater because of it, and our faith will grow stronger as well. We'll have more abundant and productivspiritual seasons as a result, but never forget the eye candy is only a reflection of what's really happening down in our root systems; deep down where Holy Spirit has been at work in us - in our hearts. 

This is where the producing of greater things starts taking its form, and this is the part we can't always see and fully understand or appreciate. This is also where our trust in Him is required; He knows what He's doing.

Through it all, we'll discover nothing is wasted. Not even the long winters of our lives.

- Michelle

Michelle Holderman 
Copyright © 2014 

Let your roots grow down into him [Christ], and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with gratitude. Colossians 2:7 

There is a season for everything and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:16-19 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.  Jeremiah 17:7-8.


  1. Thank you, Michelle. I certainly can relate to what you are saying here. I am in the harshness of winter and the pain at times feels maddening. Bless you and thank you for writing this.

    1. Moi, I'm so glad to know this spoke to you in some way. I don't take your words lightly. Thank you for sharing this. Sending love your way. And praying God's love helps keep you warm during this winter season you're in. ~ Michelle