“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
Succulents are the new garden rage.
There are classes on how to pot them. Seminars on how to care for them. A whole line of pots and containers designed to hold them. Even Facebook groups for newbies who want to ask the experienced succulent superstars why their luscious lithops aren’t growing properly.
They range from the common to the bizarre to the extreme novelty – ‘jellybeans’ and ‘watch chains’ and ‘string of pearls’ and ‘living stones’, they come in every colour, size and shape imaginable.
I’m new to the succulent game. I’ve successfully wintered some for a couple of seasons now and I’m ready to get my feet wet.
I’m gonna be a mama.
I’ve taken some cuttings, so now comes the interesting part.
You’d think you’d pop them into soil. You’d expect to have a watering can at the ready.
But no. You’d be wrong.
Instead, the experts on my succulent group all say the same thing – cut chunks off, leave them to callous for a few days, then pop them into dry soil.
And it gets weirder.
If any leaves fall off by accident, you can toss them onto a tray of dry soil and spritz them once a week until they root. Then you plant them and the number one rule is to never, never overwater.
Seems a little harsh, no?
I mean, plants need nutrient rich soil and plenty of moisture, right? A bit of babying. Some gentle care. None of this ‘break it off and ignore it’ business.
But there’s a spiritual lesson to be learned even here.
See, the fresh cutting needs a few days to grow a scab over its wound – time to mourn the loss of its roots, so to speak. Sealing itself tightly may seem overkill, but it is a necessity. The wee bit of plant needs to learn how to look inward, how to rely on the strength it can find in deeper places.
And then, the lack of moisture prompts it to send out roots, dig deep to find what it needs.
I love the story of King David. You remember him – the shepherd boy who faced a giant with a slingshot. The young man anointed as future king but chased mercilessly through the desert by the reigning king. The monarch who would pen those beautiful Psalms we love so well – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”
Here was a man whose life mirrored a succulent’s propagation. Snipped from his roots and plopped into a desert, the boy who learned at a young age to trust the ultimate King would dig deep, look inward, and find that he was weak – but God was mighty. He had limits, but God was unending. He was discouraged, but God was the spring of living water that refreshed his spirit in the wastelands of life.
And I guarantee that the hard lessons he learned while he was parched and stressed and hiding for his life would eventually make him into a wise, just, and honourable king whose reign flourished under God’s blessing.
If you’ve found yourself cut off, feeling discarded or ignored, and left high and dry, then I heartily congratulate you!
Welcome to Propagating Season!
I know, I know.
It feels more like abandonment than gardening.
But – God can use this period of pain, this season of mourning, this place of abrupt change to help you to toughen up and buckle down and get beneath the surface to where the true grit lies – that space where you come to the end of your resources and realize that God’s heart is absolutely committed to your abundant growth.
If you didn’t get parched, you wouldn’t seek out the Saviour. If you weren’t plucked from your roots, you’d never learn to rely on His power.
If life didn’t leave you high and dry, you would never know the sweetness of true connection to the One your soul most craves.
It’s propagation season.
Allow the trials of life to draw you to Jesus with me?
Father, thank You for the lessons that can be found in the little succulents You designed! Teach our hearts that there is deep and gratifying growth and beauty and progress ahead when we feel ourselves in situations that challenge and stretch us. Amen.