The ivy plant I brought home from Mawmaw’s funeral was dying. The leaves were turning yellow and falling off daily with a quickening pace. I was discouraged by this, but my husband said “it’s not dead yet, it just needs to be repotted”. Ahh…yes, I know about repotting a plant and seeing it come back to life and thrive. I set out this morning with my scissors and a pitcher of water to salvage the ivy. As I began to cut off the pieces of healthy plant at the correct spots just like Mawmaw taught me, I saw that large portions of the lowers stems at the roots were yellow and soggy. I researched what might be happening and found it was likely root rot.
Webster’s dictionary says that root rot is characterized by decay of the roots and caused by overwatering of the plant leading to fungi in the soil. You treat root rot by disposing of the soil in the pot, washing the pot with a bleach solution, rinsing off the remaining roots and repotting in clean soil.
As I continued salvaging the plant, I began to think about roots. I smiled as I felt the dots connecting and the inspiration coming. I remembered snapping this picture of the board in my office earlier this week to send to a friend. I was having a rough day and it was nice to glance over and see Mawmaw’s smile. I had placed the cross and the quote with Colossians 2:7 next to her picture almost 2 years ago. Colossians 2:7 reads “Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” I thought then that the choice and placement of that verse about roots next to Mawmaw’s picture was not a random thing.
We all have roots, people and plants alike. What is the condition of my roots? Are they thriving and growing deep or are they rotting? What kind of pot am I planted in? Does it need to be washed? Is my soil overwatered? Does it need to be treated or thrown out?
As all these questions came to mind, I felt the need to self-reflect and make a plan for change. So, my roots…my roots…I think about Westlake, Louisiana and my “Cajun” roots. I think about growing up in Bellview Baptist Church and developing an understanding of “church family”. All the sweet faces of those who loved me best appear on the big screen of my mind like a favorite movie I watch in quiet moments. Knowing where you come from is definitely part of root maintenance, but it is only the first step in a daily process of intentionally thriving.
After some reflection, I have discovered some areas for improvement in my root system. My roots are deeper in some areas and more shallow in others. I need to work on the depth of my roots in my daily quiet time and prayer. I need to trim my roots in the area of social media and mindless activity, like television. When our roots get too deep in unhealthy soil, they begin to rot causing death and we when we don’t invest time and effort to grow our roots in healthy soil the result is the same…death.
Another reason for lack of growth can be the pot that houses the roots. If the pot is too small, the plant will become root-bound and it’s growth is stunted. This means that the roots are “bound” by some kind of barrier. Even plants growing outside in the ground can become root bound if their roots are caught between several solid barriers, like foundation walls, footers or pipes. What kind of barriers am I caught between? Is the “pot” I have planted my life in big enough to hold everything God has for me? Am I selling myself short by staying in a pot that is too small? Have I allowed barriers to take up space in my pot that are causing my growth to be stunted? Am I in the right pot, but it needs to be cleaned for me to thrive? What unhealthy things are growing in my life that are causing my root system to be unhealthy? This is a question that we must ask ourselves on a daily basis. The answers are sometimes not easy to realize and the solutions usually require some drastic measures of removal or relocation.
Soil is the source of nutrients for roots. All plants need water, oxygen, and nutrients. These are most readily available near the soil surface where precipitation flows and oxygen from the atmosphere diffuses into the soil. Am I surrounding myself with clean water, good nutrients and breathable air? Everything we choose to allow into our pots infiltrates our soil, feeds our roots and ultimately shows up in what we produce. Sometimes we don’t have much control of what precipitation is falling all around us, but we can make the choice to be under the protection of Jesus Christ. We can relocate our pots under a tree or into a hothouse to escape harsh elements and we can move ourselves in direct alignment with the sun in order to flourish.
Has my soil become hard and packed down? Can my roots even breathe with all the toxins I’ve allowed into my pot? Maybe I need to just dump out the soil, allow Jesus to wash my roots clean and repot myself in the fertile, nourishing soil of His Word.
Here’s my challenge to you: 1. Ask yourself about the condition of your roots. Are you in the right pot? Conduct a soil self-assessment. Is your soil fertile or dry and lifeless? 2. Make the changes needed to establish and maintain a healthy root-system. Remember…nothing is dead yet! 3. Consider that maybe you don’t have the kind of roots you need. Maybe the seed of salvation has never been planted. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is the beginning to everything. The steps are easy and the choice is life-changing. If you feel this option applies to you, reach out! I’m always available!