Seeing Beauty Instead of Pain

My aunt grew roses for years. She’s the one I lived with for almost a year when I was in middle school and my family was falling apart. I remember her telling me not to run through her rose garden. After all, she had what seemed like hundreds of other acres that unfolded in wide open fields. I could run there.

But I didn’t want to.

I only wanted to run through the rose garden. I wanted to spread my arms wide open and run between the rows brushing my fingertips across all the velvety blooms. I wanted some of the blooms to burst and shower petals all around. Then I could gather the petals and spread them along my path.

As if I could carve a new place in this world lined with beauty and void of adult words like divorce, rejection and hate … I wanted my world to be soft, pink and lovely. I didn’t want to think about my dad leaving our family. My heart couldn’t process how he not only didn’t live with us anymore, but he was also slowly pulling back from participating in our lives all together.

So, I took a running start with my arms outstretched only to be shocked with searing pain within the first few steps.

Thorns. Big, mean, vicious thorns. Thorns that ripped my flesh and opened up the flood of tears I’d been so determined to hold back. Suddenly, I hated that bush. I wanted to chop it down and beat it into the ground. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to destroy something that produced such beauty.

I stood back from the source of my pain and wondered, Should I call it a bush of thorns or a bush of flowers? Really, it could go either way.

Suddenly I wasn’t just staring at a bush. I was staring at my life. My life. Such a bed of roses.
Would I see the hurt or would I see the beauty?

Luke 8:14 says, “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” The seed being referred to here is the Word of God. Isn’t it interesting that people who are choked by life’s circumstances and never mature are referred to as having thorns in the soil of their soul?

Yes, life sometimes hands us thorns but we have the choice to park our mind on the thorn or on the beauty it can eventually produce in us, if only we’ll cling tightly to God’s Word. How a person thinks is how they will eventually become.

If we dwell on the negative in life, we’ll become negative and God’s Word will have a hard time taking root in our souls. If, however, we acknowledge the negative but choose instead to look for the good that can come from it, God’s Word will take root in our souls and produce a lush crop of beauty.

It all comes down to choice. That day in my aunt’s garden, I chose to be aware of the thorns but park my mind on the beautiful roses.

And over the years, I have come to the place in my life where I realize I can focus on the hurt my dad’s absence caused or choose to focus on other things in my life. Beautiful things.

It’s been more than 25 years since I’ve seen my dad. That’s hard on a girl’s heart. But where he fell so short, God has filled in many gaps. I don’t have to be the child of a broken parent the rest of my life, I can be a child of God. Loved. Truly loved.

And that is a beautiful truth I can let flourish in my heart.

Are rejections from your past stealing from the joy in your life today? I understand. That’s why I wrote my new book, Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely. My deepest desire is to help you discover the soul-steadying truth that no person’s rejection can ever exempt you from God’s love for you. If you pre-order your copy today, you’ll receive free resources that won’t be available once the book releases on August 9th. Pre-order by clicking here.

And if you’re not quite sure if Uninvited is for you, take the assessment by clicking here.


You’re Invited!

I wish I was at your door right now with your favorite coffee drink and a lovely, embossed invitation that looks like it came straight off of Pinterest.

But since my crafting skills could use a little work, consider today’s blog a special invite just for you…

On August 9th I’m releasing my new book, Uninvited, and I wondered if you might want to come to Charlotte and join me for a free, live webcast and release party?

We’ll worship together, I’ll share a new message, and we’ll have a fun party after the webcast. I just know we’ll have the best time. Here are the details:

Who: You, me, the Proverbs 31 Ministries team and anyone you’d like to invite!
What: The Uninvited Release Day Party and Live Webcast
When: August 9th
Where: 11701 Elevation Point Drive, Charlotte NC

Click here to reserve your spot for this free event. We will send you an email with more details about the release day activities and fun things you and your friends can do while here in Charlotte.

And if you can’t quite make it to Charlotte on August 9th, no worries. You can still tune into the webcast online and invite your friends to watch with you!

Click here to put your name on the reminder list and we’ll keep you in the loop about how to watch the free webcast.

So whether I see you in person or through a computer screen, please know I am thankful for you. Your prayers, love, and support mean the world to me.


Download Your Free 10-Day Prayer Journal

Have you ever felt the sting of rejection or grieved the deep loss of a relationship that was there one day and gone the next?

I want you to know I understand. I also know the difficulty of being in the place where you’re no longer standing in that moment of being rejected, but you’re not on the other side of it either.

I call it the desperate in-between. It’s a place where your heart still feels incredibly raw. A place you may fear being stuck in forever.

But I want to be the friend who whispers to your heart today that healing is possible. You aren’t going to be stuck in this place of pain and rejection. I believe you are going to be strengthened by it and healed from it. In Jesus’ name!

That’s why I put together pre-written prayers based on the powerful truths found in Psalm 91 just for you called “Praying Through the Desperate Times.” With this prayer journal, you’ll be equipped to:

• Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady your soul and restore your confidence in the midst of rejection.
• Experience deeply personal healing by declaring specific Scriptural promises over your life.
• Overcome feeling helpless about your heartbreak by infusing God’s hope and power into the situation.

You can download your FREE copy of this 10-day prayer journal through July 10th by clicking here.

I don’t know what specific thing you’re going through right now. But I do hope with every part of me you’ll use these ten simple prayers. His words bring life. And praying His Word will help us feel less desperate and more whole.