• Tara Banks

Potential ...

There was not much to it. It was a 1-gallon, plain, black, contractor-grade plastic pot sitting on a clearance shelf at the back of the garden center.

At the end of the summer season, one of my favorite things to do is to go to the garden center and see what I can rescue and bring back to life. There have been more times than I can count that God has done the same for my broken heart or situation, so I like to return the favor.

The plant was on the clearance rack for a reason. It was barely alive, the roots were bound so tightly in the pot that it would hardly release. The dirt was dried out and falling out of its container.The tag said it was a giant hibiscus, but there was nothing evident that would make me believe it. I was taking the tag at its word.

Fast forward a few weeks. Nothing was happening. I had put the plant in the ground beside the driveway at the corner of the house, hoping it would miraculously sprout into a beloved hibiscus bush. Nothing. It honestly still looked as dead as the day I brought it home. I was resigned to let it go. It had only been a tiny investment, so, I left it, and the seasons rolled on and hard winter set in. That would be that. Hibiscus plants don't do winter.

March appeared like a lion, and as the weather warmed, weeds began to sprout first in the yard. ((Sidebar - why is that always the way? Why do the weeds come first instead of what you actually want to keep? (I'm sure you'll hear more about this later, knowing me) )). So - I'm out pulling weeds beside the driveway and grabbed a small leaf that seemed different from some others right at dirt level. Hold up. I know that leaf. That's a hibiscus leaf. Are you SERIOUS?

One month later, that easily discarded, barely recognizable, that iron-will plant was shoulder high on me, blooming and showing off the largest 10" pink hibiscus blooms I'd ever seen. The same plant that had been left for the trash. The same plant that wasn't supposed to survive the winter. The same plant I completely neglected and left to the elements. The same plant I barely invested in. The plant that had no potential.

It just needed someone to believe it had something left to give.

How shamefully true is it with us that we often write off pieces of our own lives or the lives of others when we stop resembling what we were created to be? When all that's left is a label of what was. When we're shelved and left at the mercy of someone's selection.

Sometimes we just need to believe in the power of potential. We just need to look ourselves and those we come into contact with - square in the eyeballs and say, 'Hey - you've got this. I know it doesn't look great now, but there will not be a winter of your soul that will take you out. There is not going to be a back corner that you can be placed in that is too far for the reach and gaze of the Lord. He sees you and sees all your potential.'

Let's be that for one another, Kingdom people. Let's see those tiny blooms of purpose packed with the power to become, call them out and cheer them on.

Let's also be kind to ourselves. Instead of writing ourselves off before it's time, let's be willing to go to the forgotten places - find those unidentifiable characteristics and call them back to life. Even if we're stuck in our circumstances. Even if the potential you see isn't yet realized.

Everyone just needs to be reminded every now and then - they've got potential. Becoming is a process, not a one time event. Let's be willing to give it time and watch it bloom, even in ourselves.


p.s. This sweet plant, now in its 8th season, incomprehensibly and completely outside of its nature, blooms, dies, and returns each year, just to remind me - He's in it all and he alone is the authority on potential.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. - Ephesians 3:20


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