Posted by: Beth | February 10, 2021


“Nannie, we need to water this plant.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, the dirt is dry.”

“Mmmm …. How far down is it dry?”


“Stick your finger into the soil. Can you feel any moisture?”

“Oh yeah!  Just a little bit of it is dry.  Then it’s damp.”

“Well, you need to wait until the soil is dry almost to the bottom of the pot and then water it.”

“Oh. Okay. But why?”

Years ago in what seems a different lifetime, a wholesale supplier told us that the perfect time to water a poinsettia is fifteen seconds before wilt.  So … when is that?  You can’t see wilt until it happens.  If you have tables full of plants, you can wait until a few near the edges wilt, and then most of them are just before wilt, and a few may be watered a little sooner than they really need it, but they will be okay.  But if you have just a few plants around your home, how do you tell?  And why does it matter? 

One way to tell is to check the soil mixture.  Stick your finger in it and see if it’s wet or not.  There are also cute little glass bulb thingeys that somehow let water out only when the soil is dry.  There are fancy soil moisture sensors that will tell you when to water. 

Why is it important?  If you have a plant or two that you will keep indoors, it may not really matter.  But if the plant is outside in the wind or will later be transplanted to the outdoors, it needs roots.  It needs lots of roots.  It needs deep roots.  Plants are efficient.  They will grow roots only long enough to reach water and nutrients.  If water is nearby, the roots stay short.  When the winds come, the plant is easily blown over.  If the roots have to reach deep for water, they will.  Deeper roots give the plant more stability.

Deep spiritual roots give us more stability, too.  Often we want to go to a retreat and grow our spiritual lives during the celebrations of life.  Celebrations and mountaintop retreats are nice, but much more often our faith is grown during the troubles of life.  We usually pray for our troubles to be fixed or to simply be poofed away as if by magic.  Troubles can be our allies.  They show us who are supportive friends are.  They give us an opportunity to use the skills we have learned.  And they teach us new skills that will help us later on.  Perhaps, instead of praying, “Fix this, God.  And do it NOW!”  we should consider praying, “God, I don’t like this.  You know I don’t like it.  You know this is hard.  Please help me see what I need to learn. I know I am learning to depend more on you instead of my own abilities and resources.  May this experience help me to become closer to the person you want me to be.”

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:3-5 ESV


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