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Discovering Growth Beneath the Surface

Have you ever reached a point where you couldn't see growth and thus became discouraged? Visually, it appeared things weren't progressing, growing, or moving along, and you were ready to abort the mission?

I am a first-time plant owner and am super excited about it! This is something I wanted to take on in this new season. Yet, I doubted my ability to care for a plant. Surely, it would need to talk, moan, bark, scratch, or something to indicate its hunger or thirst. Unbeknownst to me – ya girl has a green thumb, after all. Granted, it's an amateur green thumb, but it's greenin over here, so I'll take it.

I purchased my first plant, a Bird of Paradise (see pic), from the amazing The Plant House in December. I intentionally chose a small plant to watch the maturation process. I initially inquired about the best plants for newbies, but Birds of Paradise is such a beautiful plant, so I opted for this one. I'm glad I did.

My new plant

In January, I remember saying, "If my plant doesn't grow, I'm giving it to my dad." My parents bought two plants the same day, and theirs were quickly and visually flourishing. Sprouting new buds and all. Meanwhile, mine appeared to be stunted in growth. Though I couldn't see progression, I continued to nurture it.

On February 9th, I noticed that one of the stems had grown in height. I was soooo excited. I messaged the plant house the following picture on February 13th to inquire when I'll know it's time for repotting. I chuckled as I typed this – one sign of growth, and I was already questioning about a bigger environment. They indicated one way is if the roots start sprouting outside the plastic pot, and my God – when I checked, were they ever!! Honestly, it creeped me out a bit (lol), so I didn't capture a picture. But y'all, the plastic pot was cracked in several areas!! Those roots were ready to break loose.

My plant is growing!

A few days later, I took my plant to get repotted, and the feedback I received was incredible and reassuring. And to think, I was about to give up and give my plant away because I couldn't see the progress.

My plant repotted

God used this to minister to me something serious, especially as I have struggled with a restart and felt stagnant in this season of transition.

Although growth may not be visually evident, don't despise what's flourishing under the surface.

Here are some of my takeaways and practical tips. Prayerfully, they will be encouraging to you, too:

  1. Don't grow discouraged when it appears your growth is stagnant (Galatians 6:9)

a. It's the beneath the surface for meeee! Growth isn't solely visual; all things must be considered. Too often, we evaluate progress based on what we see,  what it looks like, and even in comparison to others. In that, we miss the behind the scenes and below the surface progression.

2. Don't be afraid to ask a good friend if they see growth and progress in your life (1 Thess 5:11)

a. Sometimes, we can't see the full scope. Furthermore, we are often so forward focused that we overlook celebrating the progression from where we started to where we are now. Having someone in your circle who can keep you grounded in that realization is so beneficial. Like the workers at the plant house who assured me that my plant was growing beautifully and not to give up, your circle could do the same for you.

3. It's okay to take a leap when you've outgrown your environment (Genesis 12:1)

a. One analogy I used when telling people my time in Maryland had come to an end is I felt like a plant that had outgrown its pot. How ironic! I was told in this process that if my plant wasn't repotted, its growth would've been stunted. When we've outgrown an environment or thing, we must evaluate its impact on our all around potential for growth and development. We don't have time for stunted growth, sis!

Update: As of the time this blog was published (March 2024), my plant has grown a new bud!!

My plant has grown a new bud


When my plant was repotted, they told me to expect a new bud to form soon. I'm convinced the new environment (bigger pot) had a lot to do with the new life/bud.

Questions for thought:

1. Have you outgrown any environments in your life?

2. Are you discouraged because you can't SEE growth?

3. Have you paused to evaluate how you're flourishing below the surface (behind the scenes)?

This revelation was so good to me, and I can go on with so much more, but I'll stop here, lol.

If it has blessed you in any way, please don't hesitate to share it with others or let us know how it spoke to you.

Be encouraged, sis! God is faithful!

Shontel Jackson-Taylor

PS: Need one-on-one support? Click here.


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