Delightful Mystery Gift

I had a rather complicated surgery on May 1, 2023, which would be right around the time I usually planted my little container “stoop garden”: petunias, geraniums, coleus, begonias, impatiens, a hanging vinca plant, all surrounding the little chair on my front stoop.


I loved to sit there in the mornings, writing my “morning pages,” taking in the beauty of the sunshine, clouds, and flowers.

This year, after the surgery, I was in no shape to plant the garden. No one else could, either, for various reasons.

On top of that, there was a severe drought here in the Midwest until late July or so, and a lot of my neighbors’ gardens weren’t looking like much, either.

I sorely missed my flowers. Something about their colorful, happy, oh-so-different shapes and leaves just makes me happy.

My friend Louise and I were able to visit the one day the Ball Seed Company opened its local gardens to the public. I enjoyed the flowers and plants, but there was also a stab of grief again that I didn’t have my garden this year.

God knew, and God did something wonderful and totally unexpected.

It’s not only the garden that was neglected this year. Our whole landscape has been sadly neglected. Neither my husband nor I was able to keep up with it. I needed to hire a landscaping service, but we weren’t even up to that. Too many other pressing things demanded our immediate and ongoing attention.

So under an ailing pine tree near our driveway, there is a tangle of ground cover. I had a few pots amid the tangle from last year, in which I would put colorful annuals, usually petunias. But not this year.

The petunias GOD planted.

One morning as I returned from my morning walk, I noticed a spot of white amid the tangled greenery. Closer inspection revealed that one of those pots had petunias growing in it! White and pink, perfectly placed in the pot so there would be room to grow.

I was amazed. Apparently the petunias from last year had reseeded and grown, all on their own. I’ve never had petunias reseed and grow on their own.

As I looked even closer, I saw that there were another couple of small petunia plants also in the pot. The next day, one of them yielded a red petunia.

I put the petunia pot next to my chair on the stoop. Now I had one hanging plant on my right (the one my son got me for Mother’s Day), and one pot on my left.






But that’s not all!

The icing on the cake came when I spied a tiny coleus plant coming up next to the concrete stoop. I had weeded there just the week before, but hadn’t seen anything then. Now this tiny, perfect coleus had somehow popped up, nowhere near where I had planted coleus before.

I carefully dug it up and put it in my flower pot.

I also added a couple of other plants I had kept and rooted over the winter: begonias. I thought they would not make it in the new pot, but now they are thriving and about to bloom. I’m curious what colors will show forth.

But wait—there’s still more!!

Just this week, about a month after I’d first spotted my new “garden,” I spied yet another plant growing up next to the stoop. I might have missed it, but for the one tiny flower that bloomed.

This time it’s an impatiens, same color as last year. 

At the top: my latest “surprise” plant!

For the time being, I’m leaving it there. I want to see what happens when I let it “bloom where God planted it.”

This is the “garden” God gave me this year. This is about all I can handle tending.

It is enough. It is a delight. I receive it as a gift from a God who knows me all too well, and tenderly gives me just what I can handle.

I’m thrilled not only with my surprise garden that God planted, not me. But also with how it’s grown in just one month.

The whole experience makes me feel known, loved, tended to, cared for, joyful and hopeful.

An “abundant gift” from the God who knows me, indeed.

One month later: “My, how you’ve grown!”

Would you like to be able to notice and receive more of the gifts God has for you?

Download my free Abundant Gifts Journal and start looking for, and jotting down, the things that feel like “gifts” (such as what you just read), every day. You will be amazed at how much you notice and the healing and shifts that will happen effortlessly in you, when you begin to focus on the gifts I’m convinced God is always strewing on our path . . . if only we will stop to look for them. For inspiration, read the Abundant Gifts blog or my book, Abundant Gifts.



2 Replies to “Delightful Mystery Gift”

  1. As a keen gardener I enjoyed reading your article along with the photos.

    I have a small patch and often spot plants growing that have reseeded, mostly herbs. I love being in nature and being in God’s presence. ??

  2. Janice, I have had herbs reseed, but never plants like a coleus or vinca or impatiens (not sure what that last “surprise” is). Petunias do have seeds, so I can see how that happened. But coleus? I always just rooted them. But God knows how to do it!

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