The Growth Cycle

April 01, 2024 · by Whitney Gothra

Spring is finally making herself known in our area. Our backyard is seemingly coming alive after a long winter. Bright yellow daffodils have popped up. What looked like dry, brittle bush branches are sprouting red and purple flowers. New life is blooming, and it stirs up such hope inside!

Our backyard changes drastically with each season. Blooms in spring, lush life in summer, moody colors in fall, and pruned branches in winter.

There’s a seasonal growth cycle in the natural world. Winter warms into spring, and the summer cools into fall. Just as there is a cycle in the natural, I feel there is a parallel growth cycle in the spiritual.

In the natural, the winter time is for planning and deepening. What crops grew well last year? Where do we want to put our focus this year? Are any of our tools in need of repair? Are the fences maintained? Do we have the proper seeds?

Winter may feel isolating, but this is the season for deep growth - for root growth. Roots continue to grow and develop under the ground during winter. Winter is a time for digging in. Growing deep. Learning to rely on God when it feels like you’re isolated. Growing your spiritual disciplines. Creating the habits that will sustain you for whatever is coming in your next season.

To the natural eye, winter may look bleak and unfruitful, but growth has not stopped!

The fruitfulness you’ll bear in your harvest season is directly proportional to the time and effort you put into your winter season.

After winter comes spring. Spring is for planting and blooming. This is a busy season of tilling and digging and planting and sowing.

In springtime, you are working. You are giving yourself for the Kingdom. Last season you spread your roots down deep, and now you are busy about your Father’s business of being His hands and feet. Planting. Planting. Planting.

Then after the planting of spring, you move into the growth of summer.

This is when your crops are growing, and your job is to keep them free from weeds and pests. You can’t sow your seed and then sit back and do no maintenance. You have to be in there daily watching for weeds of distraction popping up. You have to be on the lookout for pests - Song of Solomon 2:14 calls them the little foxes - getting into your garden, chewing through and rotting your fruit before it even has time to fully ripen.

Summertime is work. If you haven’t learned how to be spiritually disciplined in your prayer life, Bible reading, and communing with God, you’re going to be in danger of being pushed off course by the little sins. The little distractions. Foxes. Weeds.

Don’t keep your eyes so focused on the fruit coming on the horizon that you miss your faithfulness in your daily life. Your obedience to God is crucial in this summer season!

Then, finally, we make it to harvest season: fall.

After preparing and growing deeper, planting and growing higher, summer and growing further, we’re here at fall. It’s time for the fruit to be picked. The grain to be harvested. The growth to be put into action and fulfill its intrinsic purpose and be consumed. Now the fruit is ready to be shed and to nourish others.

Harvest is the telling time. The Bible says we will be known by our fruits. (Matthew 7:16)

Did you grow roots deep enough in winter? Did you plant yourself in the right soil? Did you keep the little foxes out? Did you stay consistent and focused, pressing toward the mark?

In the natural, each season may not look like growth marked by blooms and ripe fruit. But the beauty of the Christian life is that growth is not bound by season. Growth is cyclical. It’s continual. When you are planted by the river of life, growth is your state of being. It is who you are. God calls us to growth no matter what our season may look like.

In the winter, you’re growing.

In the spring, you’re growing.

In the summer, you’re growing.

In the fall, you’re growing.

As we move seasons in the natural, maybe God is wanting to speak to your season in the spiritual?

I would encourage you to ask God where He wants you to grow this year, and ask Him for clarity of vision to see where you are in this season. What type of fruit is He growing in you? Is this a growing deeper season or a busy, planting season? Whether your arms are full of ripe fruit or your growth is happening behind the scenes, you are called to growth right where you are.

So go forth and bloom, dear friend!

Whitney Gothra

About Whitney Gothra

Whitney Gothra and her husband Timothy have been married for around fifteen years, and they have three sweet and spicy girls, Ruby, Selah, and Marigold. They pastor the Apostolic Church of Wabash in Wabash, Indiana. You can connect with her on Instagram @theflourishstudio or online at whitneygothra.com.