How A Plant Taught Me Perseverance

My mother had an angel wing begonia plant right inside her front entry way. This plant was from her own mother’s home and over the years the plant grew. Not so much in a bushy, full manner but it did take over.  The stems grew toward the window and mom just tied it up and tacked it to the wall in different places. The leaves and stems grew in all directions and soon stretched across the entryway doorways and walls.

The plant’s presence filled the room and overwhelmed the wall space. It looked important and powerful but it wasn’t really healthy.  Blooms never appeared on the plant and the leaves sporadically grew along the long lanky woody stems. The plant was consistently reaching toward something, moving away from its root system and straining toward something new.

When my mother passed away and we cleared out her belongings. A decision had to be made about the plant. My sister and I considered, for about a second, the thought of throwing it out. But I’m a plant person and I have a hard time throwing out something living, even if it’s unhealthy.

I guess I’ve always had somewhat of a green thumb. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up in Iowa or because my last name was “Green” but plants have been a favorite thing of mine.

I couldn’t take this massive begonia with 15 foot tentacles back on the plane with me so my sister promised to care for it.

She cut it back, rooted new plants from the old one and gave each of the siblings new rooted baby plants from the mother plant originally from our grandmother’s home.

My new begonia cutting was important to me and held great significance for me.

It struggled in its new environment but with some attention and care it was coming along.

So when our family left our home in the care of others for a month-long sabbatical I gave explicit instructions to NOT over water the plants. (Over watering = certain death through drowning.)

After a month away, we returned and were happy to be home.  When my normal day for watering plants came around, I went through the routine but noticed my begonia was a bit droopy.  A bit too droopy. Upon closer inspection, I observed overly moist soil. I pulled out the inner liner from the pot and water poured from the holes.  Drowning for sure.  Aaahhh…. not my grandmother’s begonia!

I wasn’t for sure what to do but I knew it was in a fragile state.  New soil and getting her roots out of the swampy soil was the first step.

During repotting, the droopy leaves fell off and only a small stump remained.  I was pretty certain it wouldn’t survive but I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away either.

I planted the stump in fertilized soil, placed the pot where it could get proper lighting and waited.

I waited for TWO YEARS.

Every week I faithfully watered the little stump and watched over the soil content.

Nothing appeared to be happening.

When it came time to pack up our house and move to our new home. I struggled over keeping the plant or throwing it out.

  • I’ve watered and cared for this plant for 2 years and all we have is one lone leaf and a two-inch stub.
  • Why do I hold onto this thing? It’s just a plant.
  • Maybe the roots are ruined and will never grow.

In the end, I brought it with me to the new house.

And coincidently, that’s when things started happening.

Within a few months, more leaves appeared.

Within that year, I repotted it because the root system had grown substantially. I cut off the long branches that had shot out, rooted them in water and made 6 new individual plants.  In fact while the stem cuttings were swimming in water to grow roots, the cuttings bloomed.

Sometimes we give up on situations and people far too easily and too early.

I could have thrown out the plant when I found it drowning in the swampy soil.

But I didn’t… probably out of the sheer importance to my history and my heart.

I knew if it was going to survive, some things had to change. Soil was the main thing followed by consistent care.

Whenever I was tempted to throw it out and give up, I kept telling myself: I can’t see what’s happening at the root level… maybe something is happening that I can’t see.

I couldn’t go digging around to see how the roots were doing because it might disrupt how the root system was establishing itself. I really just had to wait and hope that the change in environment, consistent care and patience was going to pay off.

And in the end it did.

Giving up was an option but I’m glad I didn’t choose it.

In our lives, we face difficult situations — circumstances out of our control.

But even as I couldn’t see what was happening under the soil with my plant, God works even when we can’t see it with our own eyes.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-26

My prayer for you is whatever circumstance you face you see His faithfulness today… even if you don’t see the answer today.

I pray you find peace and endurance to keep going, trusting Him and His work in your life even when the results are a long time in coming.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9

Keep believing, friends!


6 thoughts on “How A Plant Taught Me Perseverance

  1. I love the “old ways” of re-potting and growing new plants from the cuttings! So much like our Father doesn’t just dispose of our mess. Lamentations 3 is where the sermon was on Sunday morning. Such a solid message for all of us- He is our portion; my hope is in Him. Great word Rachel!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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