Come to the Garden: A Novel

Come to the Garden: A Novel

by Jennifer Wilder Morgan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501131332
Publisher: Howard Books
Publication date: 02/23/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 833,350
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Wilder Morgan graduated from Kent State University and is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity. She resides in Houston, Texas, where she served in The Methodist Hospital’s lay ministry. She is a member of The Woodlands United Methodist Church.

Read an Excerpt

Come to the Garden

  • Something mysterious is afoot in my garden—something I want to share.

    As a young girl, I loved to listen to the nursery rhyme that contains the phrase “How does your garden grow?” All my life I have been fascinated by the simple beauty of the garden, a sacred space where life is planted, nurtured, harvested, and resurrected.

    I have cultivated many gardens in my lifetime. Their roots grow deep and stretch for thousands of miles. My first garden was a tiny flowerpot in the kitchen window of a small apartment in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Detroit, where I was born and where my father completed his medical residency. Then, in Cleveland, where I was raised, attended school, worked, and married, I took delight in harvesting armfuls of hydrangeas and fragrant lilacs from my spring and summer gardens. And finally, in Houston, where I live now, my backyard gardens are graced with spectacular displays of azalea and gardenia blooms.

    All of these treasured gardens have been nurtured by the seasons of life—fertilized by trials and watered with the tears of joys and sorrows. It was here in Houston that I learned how to grow a new and very special kind of garden—a place of hope and healing. It began, of all places, in a hospital room.

    In a chance encounter, I was given an opportunity to volunteer in a lay ministry at The Methodist (now Houston Methodist) Hospital in Houston’s renowned Medical Center area. This ministry would enable me to put to use hospital skills I had cultivated while living and working in Ohio, along with the compassion born of my faith.

    As a lay minister, my responsibility was to visit critically ill patients—to pray with them, to visit with them, and, most important, to listen to them. Each time I walked into a patient’s room, I created a loving, compassionate, and nonjudgmental space—a safe place that allowed hurting people to share their hearts and stories with me. On the surface, listening appears to be a passive activity, but in reality I found the act of listening to be a powerful force that creates an active exchange. As hearts are unburdened, a space is created for healing and hope to flow back in.

    I visited with patients of all faiths, and as they felt permitted to share intimate details of their lives without fear of judgment or ridicule, defenses came down and they talked with me about their encounters with the Divine—their most private, personal confirmations of God’s presence in their lives. These emotional testimonies included a full spectrum of encounters: experiencing the awe of God in nature, music, art, literature, and Scripture; angelic interventions and near-death experiences; and encounters with some of the most mysterious of the spiritual gifts, including prophetic visions and the gift of tongues. Week after week, I sat in rapt attention as people told me of angelic bedside visitors, visions of loved ones who had already passed into the heavenly realm, and messages of comfort spoken in dreams in the middle of the night.

    This four-year ministry was drenched in redemptive tears, and I was witness to the profound healing that occurs when people are permitted to embrace what they have experienced and to courageously share their stories of encounters with the Divine. One such story moved me so deeply that it literally changed the course of my life.

    As I sat next to his bed, “John” told me of his struggle with heart disease that led to an eventual heart transplant. Before his transplant, he experienced several heart attacks, and during his last one, he died. He described in detail how he was carried upward, away from his body in the emergency room, and could see everything occurring as the medical team tried to resuscitate him. He even described the pretty butterfly hair clip that one of the nurses was wearing around her ponytail (which she later confirmed to be true). Then John described being carried up through the ceiling and into a different realm, where he was completely embraced in a warm mist that radiated love in its purest form. As he leaned back to soak in this loving embrace, a voice began to speak. In a very personal conversation, John came to know the Creator, the lover of his soul, whom he had denied and pushed away his entire life. John accepted the love being offered to him and was told he would be sent back to his earthly life.

    As he finished his story, John leaned over and looked deeply into my eyes. “Honey,” he said, “it is now my life’s work to tell others about the incredible love that God offers to each of us, and to encourage them not to wait until the hour of our deaths to accept and share it. We all have important jobs to do for the Kingdom while we live here on earth.”

    John’s powerful testimony convicted me deeply. I, too, have experienced profound encounters with the Divine throughout my life, but I had been fearful of sharing them with others—fearful of being labeled as “one of those.” John’s courage to share his story finally freed my heart to fully embrace the truth of my own encounters. What a healing moment that was for me!

    In a dramatic course-correction that could only have been conceived by God, this quiet little Texas homemaker is now an author. John’s story, along with many others, inspired me to offer this freedom and healing to countless others through the pages of this book, by opening the door to my own private garden.

    As we near the beginning of my story, there is someone I want to introduce to you. She is as mysterious as the garden you are about to enter. While wrestling with how to write this story, I had a dream, and in my dream I heard the voice of my Lord say very succinctly, “Use an angel!”

    I awakened with a start and thought, What a great idea! But how in the world do I do that . . . I don’t know any angels!

    The next morning I snuggled up on the living room couch with my dogs and a steaming cup of coffee, and as I gazed out the tall windows facing the garden, I thought about this possibility of creating an angel to help me. What would he, or she, be like? Would this angel be fierce and warrior-like? A little bit intimidating? Or would it be soft, feminine, and gentle? Would it be a shimmery, invisible kind of figure, or would I be able to see it clearly? Would it talk, or would it just point at things as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come did in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol? Would I be the only one who could see it? Whatever its characteristics were to be, I hoped it would carry with it the wisdom of heaven . . . something I desperately needed in this new venture.

    Soon, the character of an intriguing angel named Margaret began to take shape in the eyes of my heart. I would write a fictional story about her, one where she would help me share and make sense of some of the miraculous encounters with the Divine I have had. Some of her attributes admittedly come from my own personality, and the experiences she helps the character Jenn talk through are also my own, but her wisdom . . . well, that belongs exclusively to God.

    Margaret brings the wisdom of heaven into my garden, creating a sacred space where I find the freedom to embrace and to share my encounters with God. My story, based in orthodox Christianity, is written for people of all faiths and sentiments, including the absence of faith. We are all spiritual beings on a human journey to find love, acceptance, mercy, mutual respect, and a connection to a Creator.

    So, now I invite you to step into my garden, and into this story, with your heart and all of your senses fully engaged. There, among the roses, God’s loving presence is revealed to all who are willing to enter.

    Truly, heaven is closer than you think.

    “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.”


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    Come to the Garden 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
    Diane_Bass More than 1 year ago
    I read Jennifer Wilder Morgan’s Come to the Garden earlier this month, and I have to say it has changed the way I look at life and interpret my relationship with God.  The book doesn’t take long to read, which is good because once you pick it up you don’t want to put it down.  I hope my “Margaret” will reveal herself to me one of these days.  I have never read anything like Come to the Garden, and I plan to share it with friends and relatives.
    Tom_Stoerzbach More than 1 year ago
    I totally agree with the Readers’ Favorite reviewer, and would even go beyond that -- the book not only lifts your spirits but can change the way you look at your world! Yes, it’s charming, often humorous, and goes down wonderfully with a cup of coffee – but this bright new author tackles big topics! Does God still speak to you and me today? Is the kingdom of heaven far away or as close to us every day as Jesus implied it was? What does God think about the violence and war dividing His children and plaguing His creation?  As a guy, I was riveted by the spiritual warfare dreams like the one where she had prophetic visions of 9/11. And I loved the one where Jesus Himself appeared but was not recognizable at first because He was so … EXCITED to be leading people somewhere that wasn’t clear at first - into His Father’s presence.  This book just FEELS inspired. I especially like that it’s about the questions of faith but is not the least bit preachy. Jennifer Morgan’s writing is as down home and entertaining as Jan Karon, yet it can be as penetrating as Frank Perretti. Will guys like this book as much as gals will? If they’ve ever wondered if God still reveals Himself to us today and what it might be like to talk to one of His angels who loves good coffee -- Yes!
    ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite Encounters with God that may occur in the form of dreams, visions, soft whispers, or awareness of a presence are explored in the fictional work, Come to the Garden: A Novel, by Jennifer Wilder Morgan. Ms. Morgan begins the novel with the main character, Jennifer, recognizing a strong scent of white roses and following the scent outside to her own backyard and garden. The scent belongs to her guardian angel, Margaret, who appears to Jennifer throughout the next several days. During these visits, she imparts sacred teachings and explains Jennifer’s lifelong memories of these divine encounters. These explanations are based within the framework of Christian biblical understanding. Although Jennifer is already a person of strong faith, Margaret assists her in dealing with fears and doubts she has had regarding these encounters. Jennifer Wilder Morgan’s book, Come to the Garden: A Novel, will certainly appeal to Christian readers who desire a deeper understanding of mystical experiences. The story is engaging and pleasant, yet rich in meaning. The author has included numerous scriptural quotations to connect personal experiences of the Divine with biblical beliefs. Ms. Morgan’s writing style is clear, concise, and organized. If a reader would like to return to a certain section or teaching, it would be quite easy to find it. The last chapter of the book, Scripture and Other References, is very well done, thorough, and complete. This is a book that a faith-filled reader will want to keep and refer to again and again over the years as there are many lessons to be learned within its pages.
    ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Cee-Jay Aurinko for Readers' Favorite Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan is a fictitious account of a God-loving woman who finds it difficult to share her extraordinary encounters with Jesus and the heavenly realm with others. It is Jennifer’s birthday, but she is oblivious of that. What she does know is that a strong scent of roses is coming from her kitchen. In her garden on her birthday, Jennifer meets her guardian angel – Margaret. God has given Margaret a special assignment to help Jennifer better understand God’s messages and show her that there is nothing to fear when it comes to sharing God’s greatness. Her journey with Margaret will reveal the many unique ways that God connects with His children and how we, even at our darkest moments, are never alone. Jennifer’s garden is an ideal setting for two friends having a light discussion about whatever is on their minds. The rest of the world and some quick breaks from the garden setting are given to us whenever Jennifer tells one of her stories to Margaret. As an angel, Margaret certainly fits the profile. She is a guide in every sense of the word. Even with all of the knowledge she must have of everything that goes on in heaven, she often quotes verses from the Bible and relays them to Jennifer to get some of her points across. Margaret, as fictitious an angel as she is, is a guide to everyone who reads this book.
    ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite I picked up Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan out of curiosity, in the same way that I picked up For One More Day by Mitch Albom, but my curiosity in both instances has proven to be my best guide. Come to the Garden is a warm and beautiful story that will inspire readers to look farther than their immediate environment to connect with a power far beyond them. The author states that the book is based on facts and written as a personal story. Jenn is a woman with a powerful need to connect with God and with others --- regardless of their faith. She thinks that God has been talking to her in many different ways, but how can she be so sure and how can she understand the signs she receives. On her birthday, an angel, Margaret, appears to her, and walks with her each step of her life’s journey, helping her understand how God has been part of her history. Come to the Garden is an inspirational story that will edify many people who are seeking answers, and who want to understand how God speaks to the human heart. With a voice that is reassuring and gentle, the author shares conversations with her guardian angel and offers spiritual insights and wisdom that allow readers to open their hearts to the mysterious and healing power of God. One feels that the author is versed in scripture. Whether this is fiction or not, it is true that Wilder Morgan has the gift of capturing the hearts of readers and this book will create the spiritual awareness that seekers and dreamers need to connect deeply with their creator. I loved the author’s use of the garden as a powerful symbol of the soul in which God’s word is planted. In the heart of this inspiring tale is the powerful message that God never tires of reaching out to connect with humanity. This book will change the way you think about the world, your history, and your relationship with God.
    VicG More than 1 year ago
    Jennifer Wilder Morgan in her new book, “Come to the Garden” published by Howard Books introduces us to Jenn and Margaret, an angel From the Back Cover: A novel based on true experiences, Come to the Garden is a story about a woman’s journey with a mysterious angel that encourages readers to believe heaven is closer than they think. Years ago, author Jennifer Wilder Morgan served as a hospital volunteer, visiting critically ill patients–praying with them and listening to their stories. As she created a safe space for those of all faiths and backgrounds, patients began confiding in Morgan about the mysterious ways God speaks to them–from encounters with angels to reassurances from loved ones who’ve passed on. She witnessed the profound healing that occurs when people are permitted to talk about these experiences, and as a result, Morgan was inspired to share her own personal encounters with God in a novel. In Come to the Garden, the main character Jenn wakes up on her birthday to find an angel introducing herself as Margaret in the backyard garden. Lately Jenn has been struggling to make sense of the mysterious ways God has been speaking to her and is trying to understand what he wants her to know. The angel takes Jenn back through her memories and life experiences, revealing how God has been connecting with her all along. Under the angel’s guidance, Jenn finally understands the messages God has been speaking to her, in her dreams, divine promptings, and unexplained coincidences. It becomes clear that God is a faithful and persistent pursuer of the human heart. Framed as a series of conversations between Jenn and her guardian angel, this unconventional and charming narrative will strike deep into the hearts of anyone seeking a greater understanding of God. Based firmly in scripture, Come to the Garden is an inspirational fictional story about the surprising ways God works in our lives and affirms that heaven is truly closer than we think. In the Book of Daniel when Daniel prays, we are told an angel is sent with the answer immediately and that the two of them talk. This angel’s name is Gabriel. I mention all this because “Come to the Garden” is based on “true events”. Ms. Morgan had her own encounters with an angel and, based on these encounters, Ms. Morgan was able to build this book. So, while this book is a fiction story, it was written with the purpose of letting us know that God is at work in our lives and that He uses His angels to bring us messages and to protect us in all kinds of ways. I think that this book is a lot of fun. The characters are so easy to identify with and relate to. The events that Ms. Morgan takes us through in this book are there to help others experience the same kind of Godly love she knows. I think you will really enjoy this book and I look forward to more from this talented author. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
    Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
    We can always look back at our life in times of struggle and hardship and find growth there. There is a clarity that comes with time we might miss if we aren't too careful to pay attention. Life experiences are often the best teacher. However we can fail to learn from them as well and wonder where God was in the midst of those times as well. In the inspirational book, Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan, she incorporates the fictional story of an interaction between Jennifer and her guardian angel Margaret who she encounters one morning in her garden. Margaret shows Jenn through a retelling of events, dreams and visions she has had over her life, how God has been using those experiences to teach her more about the great love that God has for her as His daughter. While some situations clearly point these things out, others remained cloaked in a bit of mystery that Margaret walks Jenn through. Not everything that happens in our life can seem relevant until we can often gain some much needed godly perspective in them. For me, this novel took me to those spiritually dry places in my own walk with God when I failed to see how He was using those times for me to grow in ways I couldn't have any other way. Only in that hindsight can we see with the clarity that God can provide when we seek Him with all our heart. Now being in my garden definitely will bring to mind this book and the ideas behind what goes on in our life. We might not always gain the insight this side of heaven, but knowing that God never leaves us in any situation despite how dark things look is a definite spiritual boost. I received Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation, aside from a free copy of this book for my fair and honest evaluation. Now perhaps I know why I am always drawn to the quiet of a beautiful garden. Perhaps my own angelic encounter awaits one day, but for now I am willing to trust God in all things. For me, this one was a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
    amybooksy More than 1 year ago
    Come to the Garden is a novel based on true experiences the author encountered with an angel. A good, inspiring, and uplifting read. 4 stars. I received this book from Howard Books in exchange for my honest review, which was given.
    lolly-pops More than 1 year ago
    COME TO THE GARDEN is more memoir than fiction. Based on fictionalized real accounts the author tells about meeting her guardian angel and discussing her whole life with her - which made it a little too memoir-ish for me (I'm not a fan of memoirs.) I believe in guardian angels and I believe God connects with us and that things happen to us for a reason. COME TO THE GARDEN is a good reminder of that. I'm glad Ms. Morgan was among the blessed who met angels, knew it, and was brave enough to tell of it. If you like memoirs, meeting angel stories, and need confirmation that God cares about us, then COME TO THE GARDEN would be a good read.
    ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
    Reviewed by Patricia Day for Readers' Favorite Jennifer Wilder Morgan’s book "Come to the Garden" is a uniquely pleasant story. For many years, Jennifer has experienced visions in her dreams. Some she has understood, some have been prophetic, while others remained somewhat mysterious. One day she meets a spiritual creature who claims she is her guardian angel. God has sent her to enlighten Jennifer on the whole meaning of her dream visions, and to give her complete understanding. Margaret, the angel, meets with Jennifer on a daily basis and during her visitations Jennifer receives guidance as well as enlightenment regarding earthly events. 9/11 artifacts become a feature showing her how God desires all people to respect and love one another. A poignant moment where the Bible fused into a metal beam might cause you to wonder, as I did, why the religious groups of the world are so diverse in their beliefs. In fact, like me, you might shake your head as Jennifer’s one particular dream is shared and then explained by Margaret, her visiting angel. Experiencing these visions has been a blessing to Jennifer, and her faith has benefited greatly by what she has seen, in her dream world as well as prophetically. Sharing Jennifer’s life and how her faith has grown will surely encourage you. The angel is fiction, whereas Jennifer’s visions really do happen to her still. I liked the book. It is a story with a difference, and that drew me to read it. The conversation between the two ladies is light reading and humorous as well as encouraging. If you are in need of a lift in your spirits, try this book.