Some months ago a potted plant on my front porch bloomed. The plant is a succulent (a variety of Crassula called Silver Dollar plant) with large fleshy pale green leaves rimmed with pink. It shares its pot with a variety of Euphorbia, another succulent. The two plants get along quite well, as they both need little water. The bloom on the Crassula lasted about a month before the long stem bent over and the flowers wilted and dropped. Some leaves had grown on the flowering stem, so I cut the stem from the mother plant. I removed the top part on which the flowers had bloomed and inserted the bottom part of the stem in a small pot. I was experimenting to see if it would grow. It seemed a shame to just discard it just because the flowers had wilted.
I keep used potting soil in a large clay pot by the garage, preferring to save the soil for another use. Oftentimes, this clay pot with used soil has a stack of plastic pots on top of it, which form a partial lid to the pot. When I want to plant something new, I use some fresh soil and some previously used potting soil. This saves a little bit of money and assures me that I am not wasting material that still has value.
As I scooped dirt from the large clay pot into the new pot I would be using, part of the flowering stem I was holding broke off and dropped into the large pot of soil. I was in a hurry that day and didn’t want to take the time to retrieve the small (4 inches long or so) piece of stem and throw it away. I planned to discard the small piece, so I reasoned that the rotted stem would provide some compost to the soil mixture still remaining in the clay pot. I planted the top stem in the fresh pot, and I also planted some of the additional fleshy leaves which I had removed from the flower spike. The fleshy leaves rotted, which surprised me as they often will root if placed in dirt. The top stem which I had planted is doing well after several months. I am sure that I would see roots on the stem, if I removed it from the soil in which it is planted.
My husband had bought me a yellow hibiscus which needed a larger pot and more light than it was getting in the house. I didn’t have enough fresh potting soil for the size of the pot I planned to use. I decided to check my supply of used potting soil, removing the stack of pots on top of the large clay pot. There, near the top of the soil, was the little stem that had fallen into the pot some months before. Protruding from the stem was a cluster of little leaves, and near the end of the stem were roots. While I was not looking – hidden away in a dark and silent place – God created a new little plant from the small bit of stem I had carelessly discarded.
There are times when I think that I am too little or too broken to be of much use. My small mind cannot imagine how God could make something of value from me. I make so many mistakes, even when I try to do the right thing, and I often fail to follow Him, even though in my heart I want to please our Heavenly Father.
Finding the little plant growing all alone in the big clay pot, untended by me, reminds me that God does His Work in secret. Our little souls are never seen by us; they are a mystery to us. Over the years of our lives God is tending our little souls, helping them to develop strong roots and blossoms of singular beauty. When our little soul is finally brought to the Light of God, we will, at last, recognize the painstaking work our Heavenly Father has been doing. We will be astounded at how He has taken our little souls, even those which had been shrunken, dirty and disordered, and created a thing of great purpose and worth. Our Heavenly Father has used the darkness, the silence and the soil of our experiences to transform us. What a wonder is our God!
Almost two months have passed since I first discovered the little plant growing in my pot of used potting soil. The smaller stem which I found growing secretly in the pot of used potting soil (right) has bent over with the weight of a new little plant growing from it. The larger of the two plants (left) has grown several plants from the original stem. God continues to bless me with their presence.
May 28, 2014
Almost a year ago I found the little stem growing in the dark and secret place. So much has happened in its life. The stem rotted, and I planted the three plants that it produced in a different pot. All are doing well. The large plant that had grown from the original stem, shown above on the left, continues to grow. The plants which grew on the topmost part of the stem now have roots and have dropped off the stem. The pot is full of these lovely Crassula. What a delight it has been to observe and think about this process!
I cannot help but wonder what I am to learn from the unfolding of this process. What is it that God is doing in me to help me grow and become what He desires me to be? What parts of me have rotted and been discarded? How many new roots have I been setting out? In what direction will I grow next?
Blessed be our gracious God who has given me so much beauty to enjoy!