A tree cannot grow up until it grows down.
Explaining her favorite metaphor, Jodi Rosser, STEM teacher and the voice behind the Depth Podcast, added, “And deeper roots don’t just happen overnight.”
Trees are familiar, but also more than first meets the eye. Their branches reach high into the sky, while below ground, root systems grow just as deep.
Rosser had to “grow deep” before she could reach the heights she longed for. Like the tree that emerges from a storm with strengthened roots, the process of self-discovery proved painful.
“There is a process to change,” Rosser says. “Self-awareness is the key. You just have to go through it and spend the time implementing it.”
Rosser leaned on this insight when she went through a painful divorce. Knowing what to do with her emotions became an urgent priority.
“I dove really deep into understanding managing disappointment and emotions. Then, I had to help my kids manage them, as well,” she remembers. “It takes a lot of intentionality to dive deep and ask why you are responding certain ways.”
Navigating her new reality changed not only her marital status, but also her perspective.
Rosser noticed that time with her children was much more precious. “I don’t get 100% of their time anymore,” she explains. “So, time changed for me,” and she committed to making a bigger effort to be present during the time they could spend together.
Her conversations also took on a deeper cast. Rosser was no longer content with surface-level conversations without meaning. “Surface stuff just seems silly anymore,” she reflects. “When I’m out to dinner with a friend, I like to say, ‘Let’s go deep or go home!’ Having depth in my friendships is important to me.”
Rosser also found more empathy for those who struggle, especially single parents. “Until you’ve walked through something so hard, you don’t know how hard it is,” she says. “My empathy went up for all levels of grief, no matter what people are going through. I just want to be able to offer help and hope.”
That desire to help led Rosser into her “book ministry.” An avid reader who loves nothing more than a book on a beach, she turned to books to help her make sense of the heartbreak associated with three specific events: divorce, miscarriage in the second trimester, and losing her best friend to cancer.
She credits two in particular for preparing her heart like a farmer prepares the soil for seed:
How We Love Our Kids by Milan and Kay Yerkovich and Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst. Each helped her dive into childhood wounds and the emotional responses she learned—discoveries that would prove beneficial in the next season of her life.
Whenever she came across a good book, she’d buy copies for her friends going through hard times, as well.
“Books were such a part of my healing that I gave them away all over the place,” she says with a chuckle. Like to the friend of a friend also lost a baby in the second trimester—Rosser decided to pass on her own copy of the book Grieving the Child I Never Knew by Kathe Wunnenberg.
From there, she began buying extra copies to include in care packages for other women experiencing miscarriage. Then, when she started doing book recommendations on a blog, people would often email her to express interest in the book. Many times, Rosser would thank them with a copy of the book.
“If they were interested and would read it, I wanted to get it into their hands.”
Now, on the Depth Podcast, Rosser interviews authors and often gives away a copy of their book to members of her audience. It’s her way of spreading encouraging content to those who need it.
She also talks with her guests about the events that helped them develop deeper roots.
“I love talking to other people who have walked through something hard, yet that very experience of heartbreak catapults them to their greatest growth,” she said.
Realizing that the world needs more connection, Rosser knew it could only come about if someone started the conversation.
“Connection requires vulnerability… and it takes someone to go first,” she shares. “I decided, I’m just going to go first.”
Rosser grew deep through heartbreak—and now, she is reaching toward the sky as a pillar of hope—a reminder that the storm only lasts for a little while.
November 2021 Issue