I sprung off of the diving block, swam several laps, and touched the wall. I pulled the goggles off of my eyes, looked over my shoulder, and saw my time. It was a race between me and the stopwatch. The result was a personal best time.

I got out of the water, put on my deck sandals, speed walked over to my coach to review the race, and received his warm embrace. After so many swims where I just wanted to let the disappointing race roll off of me like the water beading down my skin, I couldn’t wait to celebrate this one with him.

I had a good swim because my coach didn’t give up on me. He consistently guided me through the best strategy for the race.

Growing up as a competitive swimmer, I was told that the sport teaches you a lot about life. As a follower of Jesus Christ my new coach is the Holy Spirit.

Looking back on seasons in life, I’m often reminded that the best fruit is birthed out of challenging seasons. Figuratively speaking, I refer to these cumbersome periods of time as ‘winter faith seasons’ because it can feel like winter – cold, dark, long, gloomy, and bitter. These seasons can cause us to feel like we’re slipping and sliding. At times the circumstances we endure will bring us to our knees, and it will cause us to feel like we’re being derailed or defined by these trials. Yet often a winter faith season is meant to refine us and increase our faith.

As I recall one winter faith season, the task-oriented side of me wanted to find out what strategy I needed to implement and move forward. I wanted spring – filled with blessings and blossoms.

But after walking through one situation after the next, God started to graciously speak to me through His word. He always speaks through His word.

There was a verse that kept showing up in neon lights like a lit-up billboard in Time Squares, New York.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28

For several weeks this verse showed up in various devotions, sermons I listened to, and it was one of the key verses at a women’s retreat I attended.

It was clear that the Holy Spirit wanted me to heed this verse; to pay careful and close attention. He wanted me to slow down and not let this circumstance just roll off of me.

Instead of begrudgingly trying to push the situation aside in my mind, He wanted me to start living out Romans 8:28 like my life depended on it.

He wanted me to believe, by faith, that spring was a lot closer than I thought and a lot of it depended on Him, not me! Once I trusted my Coach’s strategy there was something worth celebrating with Him.

What scripture verse has God put on repeat in your devotional life?

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