When the Scorned Becomes the Blessing

My long-time love of gardening began germinating a couple of decades ago. We had moved into a new house with a great space for a flowerbed by the front door, so I ordered a bunch of perennials from a mail-order catalog to help fill it up.

black-eyed susans

Plants were much cheaper back then, which is why I was able to purchase six black-eyed Susan plants for about $12. The heavy clay Arkansas soil must have agreed with them, because in a few years, they had expanded so much they practically took over the entire garden.

That might not have been a bad thing had they been a different color, but I’m not overly fond of yellow-orange. Plus, someone this younger version of me wanted to emulate once referred to black-eyed Susans as a weed, and for some reason, I adopted her attitude instead of agreeing with the opinion of a different friend who considered black-eyed Susans to be her favorite flower.

So I dug them all up and replanted the huge clumps on the bare west side of the house where they would get plenty of sun. Soon, they were so big that I’m pretty sure you could see them from space.

Eventually, I got so sick of looking at them that I gave them all to another friend, who happily transplanted them in her own yard. And I vowed I would never have black-eyed Susans in my flowerbeds again.

I kept my promise at our next new house, but when we moved to Kansas in 2006, the home we bought had some black-eyed Susans gracing its existing flower borders. I didn’t have the heart to get rid of them, and they were more contained in the slightly less hospitable Kansas climate, so I let them be.

Several years later, we moved into our current home, a fixer-upper surrounded by expansive, mostly bare garden areas. Our first summer there was a scorcher. The backyard, which consisted of a large, neglected swimming pool and flagstone patio surrounded on three sides by a huge flower border, was a jungle of weeds and thorny hedge trees.

It was too hot to do anything back there and even if it had been cooler, I had no energy for gardening during that exhausting season of my life. But despite my complete lack of attention, there were a few bright spots of color on the patio, including—you guessed it—a black-eyed Susan plant sprouting out of a drain hole near the pool.

There it was—in a mass jungle of weeds, in the midst of the worst drought in decades— growing happily. And every time I saw it, it made me smile.

The irony wasn’t lost on me. The scorned had become the blessing.

A few summers later, I moved that plant to a more appropriate spot, only to find that the rabbits that frequented my now-thriving flowerbeds enjoyed eating it as much as I enjoyed looking at it. I tried all kinds of rabbit repellents, but nothing deterred these persistent creatures.

Which is why, the following spring, I found myself cutting out a length of chicken wire to go around this vulnerable little black-eyed Susan clump. How could I not protect this thing that had brought me so much joy during such a parched season?

The moral of the story is this: Sometimes, the things we turn our noses up during one season of life are the very things that bring us the most joy later.

Lois Flowers

P.S. Linking up this week with Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Lyli Dunbar at #ThoughtProvokingThursday, Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart and Missional Women.

20 Responses to When the Scorned Becomes the Blessing

  1. Michelle says:

    Happy Easter!!

    visiting from Faith Filled Friday

  2. Oh how easily I am swayed by someone else’s opinion. If only we could appreciate that we all have different likes and that it is good! 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, and that just because someone we admire dislikes something doesn’t mean it’s no good! I’m slowly learning that one too! I hope you have a wonderful Easter, Sarah!

  3. Linda Stoll says:

    Oh, those final words, Lois. So much to reflect on, to be grateful for …

    How many blessings did we miss along the way because they didn’t visit us in the ways we longed for …

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s a good question, Linda. It makes me want to pay more attention, to look at circumstances and situations from more angles than just the obvious. I don’t want to miss the blessings because of my own tunnel vision or self-absorption!

  4. Lois, This was a very simple yet profound post!!

    What an amazing insight you received from a black-eyed susan. Thank you so much for sharing! The post brings hope and encouragement.

    I also chuckled at your sense of humor when you said, “they were so big that I’m pretty sure you could see them from space.” lol.

    It was a pleasure to stop by here tonight. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thank you so much, Karen. I love how God uses the simplest things to show us important truth, don’t you? I’m so glad you took the time to share your thoughts here!

  5. Truth, Lois. It’s amazing how God can take the small and weak and turn it into the big and strong in our lives. He truly can redeem our pasts and turn them into something beautiful – all for His glory. Thanks for taking on this word journey today. xo

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Tiffany, I’m glad that even in those very dry seasons I was able to scribble down observations like this, in hopes that I might write about them later. I would have completely forgotten about them otherwise! Don’t you love being able to look back and reflect on those times when God did just as you describe in your life? 🙂

  6. Will always love how you build a story with your words, Lois… love the lesson here, the working on appreciating something we once scoffed. Great wisdom for today, I’d say.

  7. bethany says:

    Oh how true this is! I can think of several similar things I never used to like…puzzles, for one! They were associated for me with forced time of insults with people that liked to hurt me. So, I hated them.
    Then, in a time of adapting and healing, people I was getting to know who cared for me enjoyed puzzles. And I was blessed by the quiet, peaceful time together.
    Love your more in-depth story and this point! I wonder what other scorned things will be turned to blessings!!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      That’s a beautiful story of redemption, Bethany! My heart aches at the hurt you suffered, and then rejoices at how God can transform the experience of doing something as simple as working a puzzle from something painful into something peaceful. He really does give beauty for ashes …

  8. Lois,
    Oh, I loved your story and this: “Sometimes, the things we turn our noses up during one season of life are the very things that bring us the most joy later.” God redeems, doesn’t He? A blessed Easter to you and your family 🙂

  9. Trudy says:

    I smiled as I read this black-eyed Susan story, Lois. The scorned became a blessing. 🙂 It reminds me how Jesus was scorned and yet He became a blessing to us. It’s quite miraculous that this flower was growing out of a drain hole. Isn’t God amazing? Have a blessed week and a joy-filled Easter! Hugs!

  10. Lois, I smiled to imagine you protecting with chicken wire the plant you’d previously scorned! Sometimes we just don’t appreciate what we have! Thanks for your words today, friend. You made me smile and think about what I might be scorning that God could use to bless me?

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m sure there are lots of things that fit into that category, Betsy … at least in my life! I’m glad you got a smile out of my little story … it makes me smile too!

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