I had the great honor of sharing on my second “She Leads” webinar this week and wanted to share my message with you if you weren’t able to join.
I have an 8 year old daughter, so those of you with kids will not be surprised at all to learn that a lot of what inspires me comes from my experiences with her.
Over the last 12 weeks, so much of our life has become simplified – and God is definitely using it to teach me a few things. When I’ve prayed about the last few online messages I’ve been asked to give, “simple and profound” is where God keeps leading.
As leaders we’re only as effective as our willingness to follow where God leads – so I’ve been listening.
One of my daughter’s favorite shows is called Owlegories – it’s this cute cartoon about owls who go on adventures to discover the ways nature can teach them about God. A few weeks ago God used that format to help me give a really fun talk to our middle school students – and you’d be surprised what a taco pinata can teach you!
Today we’re going to look at three things flowers can teach us about God – specifically peonies. They’re one of my favorite flowers and in this season of navigating leading well through change and influencing as we wait, it was a message God knew I needed to hear, too.
1. God’s timing is perfect
Peonies bloom slowly, but when the time is right, they dazzle. God’s plans for your life and your leadership may be revealed a little slower than those around you, but use the waiting to grow deep roots in God’s Word so that when the time is right, you’ll be ready.
Isaiah 40:31 reminds us: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” It is the hard, unseen work that happens deep underground, months before we see the first flower, that sets the peony up for success.
Without those deep roots, that preparation and waiting for their turn to blossom, we wouldn’t get to experience the full glory of God’s creativity on display. The same is true for us – you and I can bloom in the waiting as we do the hard, unseen, unglamorous work that draws us deeper into our relationship with God.
2. God’s made all things to work together
Peonies and ants, according to one site, are like peanut butter & jelly – they’re designed to need each other. If you’ve ever cut fresh flowers and brought them inside you’ve noticed how many little ant friends travel along with them. Or maybe you’ve experienced how essential bees, butterflies, and birds are to the beautiful flowers we like to enjoy.
We are not meant to lead and live alone either. We need other women to work in our lives, helping us to open up, discover the gifts God has given us, and then use those to nourish and bless the next generation.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” As Christians, collaboration instead of competition isn’t something new. Putting others first, honoring one another, living selflessly and humbly is part of who we’re called to be when we choose to follow Jesus.
We need one other to become the best versions of who God made us to be – it’s not through our selfishness that we’ll bloom, but through our generosity as we work alongside one another, using our gifts for God’s glory.
3. Like peonies, the good news about God is better when shared with a friend
Have you ever had someone surprise you with flowers, just because? It’s honestly one of my favorite things, because it means someone was thinking about me – not because they were obligated on my birthday or Valentine’s Day. If I could, I would send you each some flowers today as a reminder of how chosen, cherished, and called you are.
Good things are always better when we share them with someone else, and Romans 1:16 is a perfect reminder when we feel unsure about using our influence to share God with someone in our lives: It says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
When you have something that good, why would you want to keep it to yourself? God sent His only Son to die on the cross for everyone – and it’s our calling to go and share that amazing gift with the people God puts in our lives.
Maybe right now, in the waiting, it feels like you can’t do that the way you’re used to. Someone mentioned on our church live chat yesterday how much he misses being a greeter every Sunday. What he couldn’t see was how I watched him show up, week after week, to check in with friends online, greeting people and using his gift of hospitality in a new way.
Waiting does not need to mean the end of our ministry or our leadership. Sometimes it’s simply the beginning of a creative new way to serve God that we would have never experienced before.
I heard on a podcast recently, every book in the Bible has a story about waiting – and in every case you’ll discover that the waiting is never wasted.
If you know me even a little bit you won’t be at all surprised that I want to end our time with a bonus way that peonies can teach us about God, because it has one of my core messages, “Holy Hustle,” written all over it.
Here you go: If peonies know how to close up at night for protection and to reserve energy, why is it a surprise that God designed us for work AND rest? Could the waiting be God’s invitation for you to fortify your soul by resting and trusting in Him so that you can be ready to shine brilliantly for Him when the time comes?
To wrap up, I want to leave you with a challenge: find something completely ordinary this week and take some time to discover what it can teach you about God. Then, pop over to Instagram and share it with me!