by Nan Jones   @NanJonesAuthor

Guest Blogger, Kelli Hughett   @KelliHughett

I love red geraniums so I bought one for my kitchen island
when I purchased some for my outside planters this spring. The geraniums
outside are loaded with showy blooms, but the one in my kitchen is leggy and
hasn’t bloomed all summer. I realized the geranium in the kitchen isn’t getting
enough direct sunlight to bloom. It’s in too dark a place to bloom.

Do you ever feel like you’re in such a dark place that you
can’t bloom? Life has valleys where the sun doesn’t seem to shine. There are
mornings when the sun won’t come out from behind the clouds, even days when the
sun doesn’t shine at all.

Like my geranium, it’s hard to bloom when we’re in a dark
place. It’s at these times, we tend to peek into other people’s
gardens. Their lives appear a bower of showy annuals, all blooming as if it’s
the last day of summer. Discouraging, isn’t it?

But there’s hope in the dark valley. Here are eight ways to
bloom when we find ourselves in a dark place.

A healthy plant will be ready to bloom when the sun comes out.
Prayer and positive thinking sprinkle water on your heart, keeping it healthy.
Spend a few moments in prayer at the beginning of the day. Make a list of
positive thoughts and repeat them to yourself throughout the day. 

Exposure to the word of God is the only way a heart truly experiences growth.
Find a few scriptures that speak to you or offer special comfort. Write these
on notecards and place in your car, on your bathroom mirrors, or put them
around your work space.

shade loving plants.
There are times in life that the darkness is likely to
hang around for a while. I know people who’ve experienced the death of a child
and while there are bright days in their future, the current days are likely to
be the darkest of their existence. Instead of lamenting over the lack of blooms
on your light-loving plant, choose a plant that thrives in shade. I have a
beautiful lavender blooming hosta that shrivels in full sun. Give yourself some
slack during the hard, dark times. You may not be able to handle all you’ve
juggled in the past. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Ask for help.
Delegate some jobs. Accept less than perfection.

Dark times are a good time to cut off old or unnecessary growth. My annuals
can’t continue to bloom unless I shed the spent blossoms. Consider letting go
of past successes and failures. Cut off your expectations and failures and give
them to God in prayer. Have your own mistakes in life added to the darkness of
your valley? Consider pruning bad habits and sin from your heart to encourage
new growth.

Sometimes, my houseplants cease growth because their roots are so tightly bound
in the pot that they can’t absorb nutrients. I have to choose a larger pot
and add new potting soil so the plant can keep growing and blooming. The
sameness of our lives can keep us from growth. Change your scenery. Go for a
walk in a new park or cross a new scenic bridge. Change your routine so you
pass a beautiful vista on the way to work. Read outside your normal genre.
Learn a new skill or take a class. These activities in a dark time can help
increase how much nutrients the plant is getting and increase the chances of
blooming when the sun comes out.

Kill the
. Are negative influences adding misery to your dark time? Surround
yourself with people who desire growth and freely give grace. Ban negative
thinking from your garden which eats on your mind like weeds choke a blooming

Watch out
for disease
. Fungus and mildew can kill a plant or stop the blooming
process. Satan wants to disease your mind with lies like “You can’t find
happiness. You’re never going to get through this. Nothing is worth this level
of suffering. I deserve better than this.” Ward off the fungus of Satan by
surrounding yourself with God’s people. Get to church regularly. Get Christian
counsel, whether professional or from a local minister. Test everything you
tell yourself against scripture. God’s truth rises above the lies of Satan and
rids your plant of disease that can stunt and kill your heart.

Turn to
the Light of the world.
Life’s dark valleys don’t
have to be dark. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. He is there in the
darkest valley, offering light. You can blossom in the darkest places when you
turn to Christ. Make Him the light of your life and revel in the eternal
sunshine of His face. 
“But you are a chosen generation, 
a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 
His own special people, 
that you may proclaim the praises of Him
 who called you out of darkness 
into His marvelous light.” 
~ 1 Peter 2:9
A Tweetable to Encourage Others 
 Meet Kelli
   Kelli Hughett
holds a degree in Women’s Ministry from 
Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver.
In addition to teaching women, Kelli is a fiction writer and homeschool mom.
She and her husband, Kirt, work with the church in Windsor, Colorado
where they’re raising their three kids. Kelli loves agricultural landscapes,
the Broncos, and reading the classics. 

  Her latest suspense novel, Red Zone, is available on Amazon.

        To purchase Red Zone, please visit Amazon