Fall Look Book

Growth Helps Us Press On

woman with coffee in denim top, growth helps us grow

I can’t stand fake anything.

I don’t even like knock off brands or products. I especially don’t jive well with people that can be fake or use facades to mask their realities. However, there is one artificial thing that I have grown to love. Fake plants. I have tried countless times to keep plants alive and I have yet to succeed. I greatly desire a green thumb but it just hasn’t proven to be something I possess. Therefore, our home is full of fake, plastic plants.

For Mother’s Day this year I bought a real plant that lives in the most precious vintage vase in the shape of a swan.

I have been determined to keep this little plant baby alive.

I have put myself on a watering schedule and every day I look to see if it needs a little more sun. I move it to the window or outside depending on how much it seems to need. I’ve been checking its health on an app on my phone too.

One morning, out of the blue, I was horrified to look at my plant and see these long white spike things growing from a couple of the stems. I had no idea what they were and was convinced it meant total doom.

A dear friend of mine is a plant queen and I knew she would have answers for me.

When she got to my house that night, I showed her the spikes and waited for her to tell me the plant was on it’s way to be with the Lord. Her response was not what I expected. She explained to me that they are grown to anchor the plant. She told me that if the plant feels as though it isn’t stable, it grows those spikes to secure it and to allow it to keep growing.

What! What in the world? How does it know to do this? How can it just choose to sustain itself? How does it know to take care of itself like this? I was shocked.

Then, I heard God say, “It grows what it needs to stay standing. I created it like that. The knowing comes from me.”

After this revelation, I did a little more research. Those spikes are called aerial roots and not only can they be used to anchor the plant but they can also be grown to absorb water and nutrients from the air if needed.

In 2019, a lot of things in my life were destroyed.

From some very painful betrayals in ministry and church to a dark secret that came out and wrecked my entire family. Life has been extremely hard to navigate. I have two very young children so I have made it my mission to not allow these trials to affect the kind of wife or mother that I am and, on the outside, I would say that I have barely missed a beat. However, the internal struggle has been brutal. By the end of last year, I was finding it hard to manage and I knew it was only a matter of time before I wasn’t going to be able to stay standing myself.

When you go through things that cause your life to be unrecognizable, the things that have always sustained you no longer have that kind of affect.

I don’t mean the core or the foundation. If you have built yourself on God and His word those things will never fail. Those things surely didn’t fail me once and were the reason I was able to endure while keeping my joy and my peace.In the midst of the darkest days, God and His word were the only things I could trust and stand on.

There were just so many other things that I had built my life around or had anchored myself to that were no longer in existence or had crumbled all together.

I was left stunned.

Confused.

Disappointed.

Shaken.

Just like my little plant baby I knew that I was going to have to do some things differently. I was certain I needed more stability. I was aware that I needed anchoring. I was aware that most of the old things I had used to remain secure were gone and I was going to have to figure out what to do to stay standing now.

Here’s the problem. I liked the old things.

I wasn’t ready for the new. I couldn’t fathom new. I lost my place in my church. I liked that place. I felt like I had seen behind the veil in ministry and I wanted to go back to being blind. I lost my dad and what I had known him to be. I love him and I wanted who I had always thought he was. My family was demolished. The structure. The dynamic. The traditions. The relationships. The trust. The tightness. It was going to have to be rebuilt.

I didn’t want to rebuild.

I wanted what had been since my very first breath. The season of trial had revealed the fact that friendships were not what I thought they were and they were not going to be able to remain moving forward. I wanted those friendships to last my lifetime. Those girls already knew me. They had the history, I needed them to have the future too. My security and safety in this life was taken. I felt like everything I had found rest in was a mirage or a manipulation. I kept holding so tightly to the things that God was prying from my hands. I absolutely was not ready to open my hands to receive anything fresh.

The more time that passed, the more it was obvious God was ready to do a new thing.

That’s how God is. He sometimes allows the old to be destroyed or to die off. Once it does, he allows grief and mourning. He understands pain in the loss. But, eventually, He is ready to do a new thing. Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (KJV) That phrase spring forth means grow, spring up, bud. Of course that’s what those words mean.

There are times in our lives when the old things will be done away with.

Whether at God’s hands, the hands of someone else, the consequences of life and this world, or the results of our very own actions. Regardless of the reason, the old will pass away. Sometimes in those seasons you may find yourself struggling to stay standing. You may feel like you can’t find your stability. You may feel lost and disappointed.

Sis, I understand, but can I ask something of you?

Don’t quit.

Don’t give up.

Don’t lose hope.

Don’t lay down and stop growing and blooming.

God is wanting to do a new thing. He is wanting it to spring up and grow. He is wanting you to grab hold of it. You may have to do something different to anchor yourself. You may have to make some changes to find your strength and your nourishment.

For me, this has looked like a whole lot of different things.

The loss I experienced in the positions I held in ministry forced me to follow God’s leading and start a women’s ministry that I hope is slowly changing the culture around us and serving others well. In the loss of what I had known to be my dad, I started counseling with a Christian woman who has opened my mind to way more than healing from that loss. She has been a huge blessing to me and has helped me to find so much rest and peace. In the demolishing of my family, God has done a new thing. He has restored so much and I am learning to see the miraculous in every little detail. I am a completely different person than I was a few years ago and I think the girl I am today looks a little more like Jesus.

Just like that little plant, I had to grow some aerial roots.

The plant still used it’s underground roots too. You will always need your foundation built upon God. Talking to Him and reading His word. That’s those roots. But, sometimes, you’re going to need to do some new things to keep you anchored and receiving the nourishment you need when things get a little more difficult. But God is going to be the one to walk you through that. He will show you what needs to grow and spring up. Just be ready to grab hold of it.

My plant is thriving.

The spikes only stayed around for a little while that first time. They appeared again this week and it made me smile. They grow what they need to stay standing. God put that in plants. If God put that ability in plants, it’s in you too. A new thing isn’t a bad thing, especially if it keeps you growing. Lean into your Father’s leading. Allow a fresh thing. You just might find yourself more anchored and stable than ever before.

Grow sis. Grow.

This devotion was written by Ashley Burke; a wife, mom, and photographer. She is passionate about God’s word and serving others well. In her free time you can find her with coffee in hand reading, writing, or spending time with her family. If she’s not doing that, her living room is full of women praying and diving deeper into the word of God. She would love to connect with you too! Find her on Instagram at @ashrobburke @thelovelyeverydayphotography and @glorydayswomensministry.

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