Last week, my granddaughter strung together her first couple of words. Yesterday, my grandson took his first step.

These were special moments and extraordinary accomplishments on my grandchildren’s journey toward maturation. But these moments were the culmination of weeks and months of efforts. My granddaughter didn’t suddenly begin to speak, just as my grandson didn’t suddenly learn to walk.

Acquiring language is a complex process. From the moment they are born, babies start to learn this skill. First, they organize sensory information, disentangling sounds and categorizing them. Then they learn to recognize the meaning in all that noise. And from now until she enters school, my granddaughter will be learning the meaning of about eight new words a day to master a mind-boggling 11,000 words.

Similarly, my grandson didn’t learn how to walk in one day. From the moment he was born, his legs and muscles were growing stronger and more disciplined. First, he learned how to sit up, then to co-ordinate his arms and legs by crawling. Finally, he pulled himself up and gained the necessary balance to take that momentous step forward.

And yet, when we look at young children, we often don’t recognize all that is going on within, enabling them to acquire these skills.

Because growth and change are continuous, even without us realizing it.

Ever wake up after a long winter and sense that spring is in the air? Before long, the barren trees that greeted you all winter will be laden with bright-green leaves, with the scent of budding flowers tantalizing the air.

When was the moment that spring had sprung? While we may not have noticed, throughout the barren desolate winter, deep within the frozen soil, the necessary rejuvenation was already taking place.

G‑d appeared to Moses and promised to take His children out of the tyranny of Egypt. But after Moses delivered a message of hope and freedom, the suffering of the Jewish slaves in Egypt only became worse. Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh to demand in the name of G‑d that Pharaoh free the Israelites, but he repeatedly refused. Even after G‑d sent a miraculous series of plagues upon Egypt, “the heart of Pharaoh was hardened and he would not let the children of Israel go.”

But while externally the Jewish people’s hardships were intensifying, the potential for their freedom was there all the while. Despite the desperation of their situation, after hundreds of years in exile, the Jewish people would soon march triumphantly out of Egypt.

And perhaps this is the message of this week’s portion. Even in moments when we feel frozen-over, impoverished, and stripped of our strength, we need to remember the growth and positive change taking place deep within.

Our situation may look bleak right now, but we can break free from our own restraints by realizing and accessing our hidden reservoirs buried within.