For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Winter turns to spring and the season of dark, blue cold brings forth sprouts of colorful life. In the same way, we as people go through different seasons in our lives. In the striving seasons, we forget to praise, but we always remember to question: “Why God?” This place is difficult and requires faith that is so often hard to find.

My battle with depression and anxiety has been one of those chilled and leafless seasons. For a long time, I simply did not understand why God was allowing me to go through this mental illness and not healing me like I knew He could. I wanted a logical explanation and an immediate solution. I received neither. Instead, God has been gently holding me when I pound on His chest; carrying me when my heaving lungs cannot get air; listening to my sobbing questions; staying beside me when I look away from Him in anger; and walking with me when fear overtakes my mind. He has been my strength. I have not enjoyed this journey, but through it God has taught me that He can use the places I’ve been to serve His purpose.

When I was in the darkest part of my depression and anxiety, I had a couple friends who came alongside me and walked with me in my times of despair. They understood my fear and sadness because they had experienced it themselves. Because of their knowledge of this area, they were able to show me valuable tools to control my fears, give me comforting advice that saved my sanity, and help me start on the road to healing. I am so grateful for them; however, they only knew how to help me because they had already walked through that cold season. Do you think that when my friends were in the midst of their winter struggle, they understood why they were going through it? They surely wanted to know, yet God did not give them a reason. Rather, He walked with them through the pain. Now, years later, because of their experience, they have been able to walk with me through that same season.

Our experiences give us knowledge that we can impart to others. God uses the places we’ve been to give us the ability to help, relate to other people and appreciate what they’re going through. Our knowledge of pain can bring others comfort; our battle with sadness can bring others victory. I have found some consolation in this and now, I too have been able to help family and friends as they battle anxiety and depression. Just as new life must push through the frigid, black soil and reach for the warmth of the sun, we must endure the darkness to see the light. And we will see the light! This season will not last forever.

But there are still days when the leaves fall and reveal barren branches and snow covers the ground. There are still days when I demand to understand why God allows certain events to happen in my life, I lose faith when my mind is drowning in fear, I question God and demand healing, and I struggle to be joyful in hope and trust the unseen. But that’s okay. God knows us and understands our human nature better than anyone else. He sees all the bad, all the ugly, and still loves us. God has been and will continue to be faithful, just as the sun is still faithful to shine, even in the cold of winter.

Where are some of the places you have been? You have a story, a journey that is unique and beautiful—share it with people and come alongside women who are growing in the same soil you are growing in. You are not alone. Let people grow with you. You do not have to have all the answers, you do not have to understand the journey or walk perfectly through the valley; you just have to trust the loving Father who is guiding you and walking alongside you through the thick and thin. He has given us a promise that we can cling to when the pain harrows our wrecking hearts: “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed”(Deuteronomy 31:8). Out of the blue ice season comes the strength and beauty of joyful, new life—the flower blooms out of dirt.

Are you in a place where you feel the harshness of winter? How can you use this season to encourage and inspire others?

Hannah Hinson

Hannah is a creative writer for a non-profit organization in California. Her passion for writing stems from a desire to speak truth about her Creator, as well as a love for the beautiful flow of words on paper. When she is not writing, she is singing, taking pictures of life moments, and spending time laughing with family and friends. To read more of her writing, visit her blog at Fully Known Deeply Loved.

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