When Winter Stretches Past Its ‘Use By’ Date

I feel so restless I could bite someone. Winter is stretching far past its ‘use by’ date and with every passing day the longing for spring grows greater, the belief that it will never come stronger.

I feel like I am in exile.

Banished to the land of “Forever Winter”. Lost in the White Witch’s spell of “Always winter and never Christmas”. The video above, created by a friend, completely captures how I feel. 

I do everything I know to do to cope with this restlessness:

  • I work
  • I exercise
  • I read
  • I write
  • I bake bread, muffins, cookies
  • I play games
  • I watch Brooklyn Nine Nine, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Nashville, Figure Skating. (yup – I watch a lot of TV during Exile)

But the restlessness pursues and I feel like I’m climbing the walls.

Exiled. Marooned. Banished.

The prophets write a great deal about exile and a people in exile. And it is no coincidence that God is speaking to me through the prophetic voices of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Speaking to me, a 21st century woman, and confronting, convicting me.

Jeremiah had a strong message for a people in exile. In fact chapter 29 of the book is devoted to those living in exile. And he offers instruction, hope, and warning.

The instruction is basically to keep on living life. Despite the exile, despite not being in the place they belong, the place they wish to be, despite wanting to (perhaps) bite someone, they are to build houses, settle down, have kids, “Seek the welfare of the city in which they live”.

The hope is a look to the future – a look to when the people of Israel will be back in a place where they belong, where God will show them a future that includes Him, answers to prayers, fulfillment of longings.

And then there is the warning – the part I want to skip over or write out of the narrative. Because the warning is as clear and straightforward as the instruction and the hope. The warning has to do with not listening, with not heeding words that have come from God and have been said again. And again. And again. Words that came from God and through prophets.


So in this time where I feel exiled, even though I’m really not; where I feel far from where I want to be, the words of Jeremiah creep into my waking and my sleeping. Words of truth about exile.

Words that include God bringing me out of, back from, but most of all — faithfully through exile.

Do you feel exiled? How do you deal? 

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Live in the Land, Do Good, Bake Muffins

Woven throughout the Old Testament is the theme of exile.

We are given example on example of individuals in exile, of a people in exile, of a community in exile. The why, where, and how of exile are detailed in Ezra, Nehemiah, the Prophets and more.

Exile and return.

It is the prophet Jeremiah who speaks practical words into the life of the displaced, the life of the exile. He gives instructions that I would sometimes like to forget, dismiss, say they are unimportant.

But the instruction is there and it is good.

Instruction to build houses and live in them.

Instruction to plant gardens, to settle down.

Instruction to get married, have kids.

Instruction to seek the welfare of the city in which you now live.

There have been times when I have been displaced, feeling as though in exile, and it has taken me a long time to act on this instruction. The instruction doesn’t say the exiled won’t feel longing, the instruction doesn’t promise full integration.

But it gives instruction to do these things despite a longing for another place, another time.

Today I enter into life feeling exiled. I have once again experienced a world beyond and I am basking in the beauty of that time. For a few moments my world was warm and full of color. For a brief time I experienced the chaos that comforts me, the sounds and smells that declare I am home. But today? Today I am back at my official address with my official passport. I’d love to wax wise about how the notion that my passport identifies my “home” is absurd, about how what you see on the outside is rarely what makes up the inside – but I don’t have the energy and besides, you can read other posts where I’ve done just that.

If I could paraphrase Jeremiah’s instruction for today, Monday, as I am reeling in displaced chaos I would say “Live in the land, do good, bake muffins.” So I offer up a prayer for the day: 

“Show me how to live in the land and do good and as you show me, help me to make really good muffins.”

It is a prayer for the day, the hour, the minute.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-8


Browned Butter Pecan Banana MuffinsToday’s Muffins look amazing! The recipe is for Browned Butter Pecan Banana Muffins. How Stacy finds these is beyond me but I thank her for them. Either click here or on the picture to go to the recipe and thank you Stacy!