Did you know that some seeds lay dormant through the long, dark cold season, and only begin to push through the earth once the snow has melted and the sun has warmed the soil? The conditions have to be just right for a dormant seed to spring to life.
“Seed dormancy is defined as a state in which seeds are prevented from germinating even under environmental conditions normally favorable for germination. These conditions are a complex combination of water, light, temperature, gases, mechanical restrictions, seed coats, and hormone structures.”*
The ability to become dormant allows a seed to withstand harsh winter conditions. “The more dormant or ‘Winter Hardy’, a seed producing plant is, the further north it can grow and still survive the winter to come up the following season.”*
An example of a winter hardy grain is Canadian alfalfa. Perennial bulbs like tulips and daffodils are also dormant in winter, only rising up to show off their colours when the conditions are right.
These dormant seasons are not a sign that the seed has malfunctioned, quite the opposite. These types of seeds have adapted to harsh climates and are capable of accomplishing that which many less resilient seeds cannot: they survive the most difficult circumstances and continue to bloom and grow as time goes on.
Sound familiar? Much like dormant seeds, people have the capacity to come to life again after periods of stillness and retreat. In fact, we are created to dwell in different seasons throughout our lifetime. Over the past two years I have found myself in long periods of stillness and dormancy. At times the darkness felt overwhelming, but I have learned to lean into my circumstances and continue to seek God at every turn. Throughout the journey I learned to take comfort in my surroundings: even in the long, dark cold season God was with me, keeping me company in the darkness.
For me, this period of dormancy was characterized by retreating inward. I withdrew from external obligations, social media, writing, blogging. If you could interact in or through it, I was moving away from it. Looking back, I can see the pathway through the darkness more clearly now. God was working in me, bringing things to life that had long lain dormant. That incubation period created opportunities. Even in the darkness, I found myself being reshaped. Identities, titles and occupations I had perceived as being important were cast away and replaced with a key truth: I am called beloved, and that is enough.
While I am thankful that God continues to transform me from the inside out, I am also thankful that this period of dormancy is coming to an end. This seed is breaking forth, entering into a new season. The seed coat is breaking apart, making way for green tendrils that seek the light, extending upward and outward. I look forward to what this new growth will reveal in my life and in the life of this blog. I hope you will join me as I continue on this journey.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the LORD God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:11 (ESV)
*Special thanks to sproutnet.com for the definition (see http://www.sproutnet.com/seed-dormancy)