From Bulb to a Vibrant Bloom!

(growth from the dark places)

Have you ever planted bulbs in your yard in the fall season? Bulbs look like dried-up little balls or small onions. Placed several inches into the dirt, they lie underground, covered in darkness for the winter months.  

Over the past two years, I’ve felt like that dried-up bulb, the weight of the earth on me, unable to move, stuck, not growing much. I was out of my comfort zone in this “winter season.” The energy I usually had was not there. The sunny disposition and excitement for life, were lacking.

I was exhausted. I talked to many people who seemed to be in a funk and felt worn thin. Was that true for you too? Could it be the effects of Covid or the disillusionment of our world, the divisions, manipulation by our media, issues in schools, or fears and concerns closer to home?

For me, it was a complicated and broken family relationship that sapped my energy, time, and focus. It was also seeing our society divided, morality crumbling, then being called away from our home church where I served, worshipped, and loved people – all of which added together to put me in a “winter” space.

My heart was numb during this time. The pain had been so profound that scar tissue had grown over it, and I could barely feel. I couldn’t cry, even though I felt like I was always on the verge of tears. Who was I?!  Would I ever feel like me again, or was I permanently damaged?

Have you been experiencing a winter? Can you relate to that barren, leafless tree outside on a gray, gloomy day? Maybe you became an empty-nester, and you’re not ready for the quiet? Or has a diagnosis left you unsure of your future? Or are you grieving over a disappointment or loss?

Winters are a part of life. But thankfully, springtime follows the winter.

I finally surrendered to God and turned everything over to Him. He is the one in control, and I am not. With distance from the situation weighing me down, focusing on the positive parts of life, and reminding myself who Jesus, the nourisher of my soul, says I am – I began to feel lighter. I was awakening, feeling free. I was bursting out of the dark soil.

With a positive perspective and enthusiasm for accomplishing the purposes God had placed on my heart, I felt an energy rising, like the sun’s warmth. Hope and joy returned.

Out of this winter, spring was coming! I felt a shift in focus, getting back on track with spiritual disciplines, church attendance, healthy eating, exercise, gratitude, confession, and renewal of body, mind, and spirit. 

I shed my despair, disappointments, and my frustrations. Like a bulb sheds its outer shell, softening with water and warmth, my heart was softening. I was able to feel and cry again. 

With time the bulb grows in that darkness, then bursts upward, sprouting through the earth. With roots anchored, this sprout reaches the surface and is barely visible. By spring, this once dry-looking bulb transforms into a beautiful, vibrant flower with color and texture to delight all who see it.  

I am growing into that bloom! 

In Max Lucado’s book, You Were Made For This Moment, he says, “In God’s plan, confusion and crisis give way to conquest. Winters don’t last forever. Trees will soon bud. Snow will soon melt. Springtime is only a turn of the calendar away.” 

I am grateful for springtime, especially after a long winter. (Both metaphorically and in reality) In Southern California, we’ve experienced record rainfall and snow, so the stage is set for a massive “super bloom” event this year. When this occurs, wildflowers grow tall, covering hillsides and trails, exploding with orange poppies and purple lupines. It will be spectacular!

I recently learned after reading Made to Flourish by Beth Moore, that when the environment is favorable, grapevines will put their energies into making leaves and shoots. It will look beautiful and grow but will not produce grapes. However, by causing the vine stress by limiting its water supply, making nutrients scarce, or pruning the vine back, it will signal to the vine that it needs to reproduce. Out of self-preservation, the vine will begin to make grapes.  

Isn’t this how we grow spiritually too? Through difficult seasons, we find ourselves seeking God, his peace and comfort, wisdom, and his presence. Our faith roots grow more deeply as we anchor ourselves securely with the One who created the heavens and earth.

The fruit of the spirit becomes evident in our life as we seek and trust the Lord. We flourish in the confidence that God will never leave or forsake us.  

If you are at a place in your story where you can’t see springtime coming, consider reading the Psalms. Every human emotion is described within this book, and often what we can’t articulate is expressed in the Psalms, like a balm for our souls. 

Lysa Terkeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries wrote this week, “God is near to us in our heartbreak, and he cares about our despair. Past, present and future, God is still here.” She continued, “We can allow hope to be infused into even the most impossible-looking circumstances. And when we do, we let the devil know he has messed with the wrong girl this time. We can command our weary hearts to remember God is in charge and we are not, and that’s a freeing place to be.”

As we begin springtime, I hope and pray that you, too, are experiencing a “super bloom” in your life. Whichever season you are in, may you feel known and loved by God, and remember that you are never alone.

What is your favorite Scripture verse for encouragement during a “winter season?” Please share in the comments below.

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