peonies and other things

peony 3

Little Bear was born on June 1 in Geneva, Switzerland, and I think I received three bouquets of peonies in the weeks after his birth. The gentle flowers took their time to open up and every stage of the unveiling was glorious. They quickly became my favourite flower.

Last spring I received a delightful surprise in the form of budding peonies in our garden in Stockholm. I’m the sort of gardner who leaves the carcasses of rosemary and mint plants in her wake, so you can imagine that I had no idea we had bushes of peonies. This year I knew I was flying out on May 3 for six weeks in Sri Lanka and Australia, and I eyed the bushes hoping to see buds before our flight. It was sporadically warm but mostly cold in Stockholm. There was nothing, and I knew it: No peonies for me this year.

Last I wrote on this blog, we were in transition, figuring out what the next step was. Well, the transition phase is not done for us, in some ways it is only just beginning. We have made some big decisions, but there will be many more to come in the following weeks. And in the middle of this there are more decisions, the waiting, and our companions through it all, the many, many questions.

Can we miss the good plans God has for us? Have we missed it? What if we pick wrong? What if we hear wrong? How do we know for sure? When do we know that it’s right? What if we disagree with each other? 

peonies 4

peonies 2

We flew back to Stockholm on June 16. When I left in May, leaves sprouted small and green, but now our street looks something like a suburban forest. The trees go wild in the early summer months with the almost 24 hours of light, branches stretch this way and that, sagging heavy with leaves. The grass in our yard, not mowed in three weeks, was up to my knees.

And there in the front was our peony bush with four pink buds on stems reaching up to the sky. Each petal folded up tightly waiting to be unfurled. For the first few days, I thought they were dead buds that were frozen unexpectedly on colder-than-normal May days. But in the past few days, the petals pushed out.

Today, the first flower.

Because this is the truth: He lavishes us with his love, we cannot miss the plans he has for our lives, he is not cruel, arbitrary, capricious or willful. We have a good Father, he has loved us with an everlasting love, yes he draws us, he draws you with his unmerited, unending, unyielding, beautiful kindness. 


[ba-dropcap size=”4″]N[/ba-dropcap]ow it’s your turn: What are the signs of God’s love in your life right now? What are they telling you about who he is and his love for you? In what ways can this help you to trust him?

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