By Beth Anderson

Inspired Woman is much like that crocus, breaking through with stories of renewal that are just what our souls need.

Whether spiritual renewal, urban renewal, or renewal of relationships, witnessing the energy, change, momentum, and blossoming of renewal inspires. Renewal conveys a NEW new — a sloughing off of what has died away and a reemergence into a revised and hope-filled future.

Part of the power of renewal, though, is the blossoming contrasts so much with what comes before. Renewal often follows what seems to be a period of inactivity or even decline. We forget that a field must lay fallow in order to bring forth a new crop. The grain must rest deep in the darkness of the ground before bursting forth. Renewal is always the end result of a much longer process.

When I was young, I never understood why we planted the tulip bulbs in the fall. All the other seeds were planted in the spring with results just a few weeks later. Why did tulips take so long? Seeing their joyful early spring bloom was always something to celebrate, but then I wanted to prune away the boring leaves as soon as the flowers had faded to make room for flowers of other kinds. The wise women in my life always made me wait. They reminded me that the leaves were busy working, soaking up the sun, nourishing the bulb hidden beneath the surface. The tulip bulb needed both this time of nourishment and the season of rest so it could bloom again the next spring.

What kind of renewal are you hoping to see in your life this spring? Are you hoping for a renewed relationship? Are you ready to make a renewed commitment to a personal or professional goal? Are you praying for a renewed spirit? A renewed outlook? Renewed energy? Or perhaps renewed passion for your work?

Whatever renewal you are hoping for, this is the perfect time to take a few lessons from the tulips:

Soak up the sun. Take time to identify the bright spots in your life. What activities fill your soul and give you the energy to move forward? Who are the people who not only affirm you, but inspire you and challenge you to grow? Make time for these people and activities. Remember, it is only when the earth soaks up the warmth and energy of the sun that beauty blooms forth.

Nourish the seed. What new ideas or learnings might help bring about the renewal you hope for? Take time now to absorb the knowledge or skills you might need. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Take a class. Talk with others. Take time to learn, rest, reflect, and process life. We all need nourishment so growth can happen.

Keep what’s necessary. Prune what’s not. Renewal isn’t starting from scratch. Renewal involves making choices about what is worthy of being carried forward and what needs to be laid aside to make space for something new.

Prepare to sprout. Plan your strategy for renewal. What results do you want to see? Set a goal and list the steps you need to take to get there. Then, start working your plan step by step, looking forward to the change ahead.
The work we put in now makes the blossoming to come all the more reason to celebrate.

Maybe March will live up to its name after all. By the time spring really arrives, we inspired women may have moved from trudging through snow to high kicks in the name of renewal!

Beth Anderson is a deacon in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). The joys in her life include her husband, Dallas, and their two beautiful girls. Beth loves cooking and getting lost in a good novel