Today’s post is based on chapter 3 of my book, Newness of Life.
Of all the life seasons I wrote about in Newness of Life., the season I most identify with today is the season of planting. It’s ironic to think of planting in January, when the ground is frozen hard and the landscape is brown and grey. Yet seeds are beginning to germinate in my writing career, here in the cold darkness.
A few years ago I expanded my gardening skills by planting seeds indoors. Most seeds need artificial light to germinate, and a whole lot of it. I keep seed flats under fluorescent lighting on the counter tops in my laundry room, placing the trays mere inches away from the bright bulbs until they sprout. Those tiny seedlings thrive only if they are super-close to warmth and light.
Yet as I read the seed packet for verbena, one of my favorite bedding flowers, I was surprised when it said, “Verbena needs complete darkness to sprout.”
Complete darkness to sprout.
Shaking my head in disbelief, I place the seeds in a flat tray of soil, watered it well, and covered it with plastic. I stuck it on a shelf in our totally dark HVAC closet, feeling like I was wasting my time.
A week later I couldn’t believe my eyes. Tiny white verbena sprouts covered the tray!
The seeds had THRIVED in darkness. They were ready for the light, because their roots had set. If I had placed them under the light in the beginning, they would have never grown.
I am a Compel Training member, a special division of Proverbs 31 Ministries which trains Christian women writers. One of the videos I watched featured Mary DeMuth, a popular author and speaker. Her quote that still resonates with me is this:
Don’t despise your years of obscurity.
The years of writing in my journals, because I was honing my storytelling skills while staying home with my babies and learning much about myself.
The years of setting up blogs which bombed, because it took practice before I knew what works.
This past year of getting up early and sacrificing weekends to write, because I won’t get to my destination before I put in the work.
These years of not yet writing full-time and realizing the dream I’ve held close for 23 years.
I think about Joseph’s years of obscurity in prison (book of Genesis). He was a forgotten nobody in the eyes of the world. But God hadn’t forgotten him. God hadn’t forgotten the dream he revealed to Joseph when he was a teen, the dream which foretold God’s plan of making Joseph great.Don't despise your years of obscurity. #newnessoflife #bible Click To Tweet
We don’t know much about Joseph’s years in obscurity. Yet I can’t help think that God was using them to prepare Joseph for his role as second-in-command over the most powerful world empire at the time. God used those obscure years to refine Joseph’s character and strengthen his faith, so he would be prepared to handle the responsibility, pressure, and attention in his very public role.
I don’t know what role God is preparing me for in my obscure years. I do know when I was a teenager, God told me I would be a writer. Maybe that’s why Joseph’s story resonates with me. He received a promise as a teen but had to wait many years for those seeds to sprout.
So, I am choosing new seeds now. Not seeds of frustration and desperation and doubt. Seeds of patience, dependence, and submission to God’s will and timing. The package says these seeds sprout better in darkness. They will produce a multitude of beautiful blooms only if they first hide in obscurity. I pray that those seeds will lead to a greater harvest down the road, a harvest with newness of life.
Questions for reflection: (please comment below)
What seeds grow best in darkness in your current life season?
How does Joseph’s story inspire you?
How will the seeds you plant now reap more than you sow, later than you sow?
My book Newness of Life will help you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so you can understand God’s plan in your current season.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
No matter what season you are in, God is teaching you valuable lessons to grow your faith and trust in Him. We will discover what God is saying through the different times and activities we traverse.
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