It is my honor to introduce you to Shawna whose actions served as inspiration for this blog!
I first met Shawna at a Home & Garden show early March 2011. I was strolling through the exhibits with my family and we happened upon Shawna’s booth which featured handmade flower clips. The beauty of the flowers caught my attention. My daughter who is very much into fashion was right behind me. I remember picking up many flowers that day, gently handling each one, viewing them from all angles, admiring the artistry within each creation, and taking special note of the fabrics I found to be most beautiful. My daughter followed suit and began begging me to buy her one. Being the practical and sometimes frugal person I am, I told my daughter “no” gently but as firmly as I could, took a business card, and promised we could call Shawna if we needed flowers for my daughter’s flower girl debut at a wedding the following month. I smiled, said “thank you” to Shawna, and began walking away. Shortly after we left, Shawna came after us with flower in hand. Clipping the flower on my daughter’s boot, she said “this is for you” with a big smile. My daughter broke out in a grin from ear to ear, as did I. We thanked her for being so kindhearted and promised we would be in touch. I couldn’t believe that a complete stranger would be so kind as to give my daughter this beautiful fabric flower clip…just because she had a big heart for a little girl passing by.
Needless to say, when it came time for flower girl preparations later that month and the bride gave us free reign to find a flower for my daughter’s hair and for the flower girl dress, I embraced the opportunity! I contacted Shawna and she advised me to pick out an assortment of fabrics that would match the dress. I poured over all of the options and landed on four or five fabrics I found to be beautiful and matched the color scheme for the wedding. I met Shawna at a local bagel shop, fabrics in hand along with a picture of the flower girl dress for inspiration. For some reason, I vividly remember the large container of fabric flowers Shawna brought that day as samples. She picked up each delicate flower as if it was a masterpiece worthy of great care, just as I had earlier that month at the Home & Garden show. Ultimately, we agreed I would need Shawna to make two flowers, one large for the flower girl dress and one small one for her hair. We parted ways and Shawna promised flowers in one week.
One week later, Shawna and I met again at the bagel shop. This time Shawna had a box of flowers in hand, a beautiful gold box with silver tissue paper lining. Let me be clear. I expected Shawna to bring TWO flowers that day. Instead, she brought SEVEN. One stunning large flower for the flower girl dress, two flower trios for my daughter’s hair that were beautifully arranged miniature bouquets, one “extra” flower she “just made up quickly,” and three little purple hair clips for a cute added touch. I was absolutely stunned. As Shawna pulled each flower out of the box to show me, I could not believe that not only did she meet my expectations, but she exceeded them far beyond most people have ever been able. I remember experiencing such joy that I felt like I was on the edge of tears the whole time she was presenting me with the flowers. I noted, too, that Shawna was glowing with excitement as she shared with me her creations. It was so clear to me that Shawna had a very special gift and she did not hesitate to use it to bring joy to others’ lives. I left, flowers in hand, feeling blessed beyond belief. A week later, I experienced the joy all over again when the stylist chose one of the flowers for my daughter’s hair, and I pinned a flower on her flower girl dress just hours before she walked down the aisle.
To this day, I have kept the box of flowers in a special place in my closet. I never threw away the box because I want to always be reminded of the special gift Shawna brought to me that day. Those flowers were so much more than fabric pieced together for a flower girl’s hair and dress. They were a reminder that there is always beauty to be discovered in this world, that God has endowed each one of us with special gifts that He longs for us to share with others, and that I need to be much more intentional about seeing and experiencing the joy others bring to my life. If I enter each day having an extremely high set of expectations, I will ALWAYS be disappointed. If I enter each day asking God to give me fresh eyes to see what is often unseen, my expectations will always be exceeded far beyond what I could have imagined.
Today I challenge and encourage you…
Are you living life slowly and intentionally enough so that you can truly see people?
Do you accept the gifts others bring into your life, or do you overlook or disregard these gifts because you are too busy to notice or don’t feel worthy?
What special gifts do you possess? Are you using your gifts to make a difference in others’ lives?
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8