My devotion “Thorns and Petals” is running over at Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today. You’ll find the verses I promised below along with a special announcement.
In my devotion, I talked briefly about the pain of being a child in a family torn apart by divorce. When my Dad left our family, he not only didn’t live with us anymore, he slowly stopped participating in our lives all together.
It’s been over 20 years since I’ve seen my Dad. That’s hard on a girl’s heart.
But just like today’s devotion mentioned, I came to the place in my life where I realized I could focus on the hurt his absence caused or on other things in my life. Beautiful things.
Where my Dad fell so short, God has filled in many gaps. I’ve come to realize 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.
That’s the way I felt recently when I had a speaking engagement in a small town in North Carolina. After sharing my story that Friday night, I walked to the lobby to greet the conference attendees. After a few minutes I saw a woman out of the corner of my eye using a walker to make her way toward me. She moved slowly but very deliberately.
When she got right in front of me, a feeling of warm familiarity spread from my head to the tips of my toes. Before my brain even realized who this person was, my heart blurted out, “Aunt Lou Allie.”
A sweet connection to my little girl world. A beautiful memory of love somehow lost all these years in the flood of hurt and rejection.
We shared a tearful reunion and a few minutes remembering a slice of my little girl world I’d long forgotten.
I think Aunt Lou Allie stayed up half the night after that preparing to see me the next day. She walked into the conference with a smile like sunshine dancing across her face. In her hands she held a white envelope full of pictures.
Evidence that despite the painful rejection of my Dad, there had once been love. A love I might have never known if it weren’t for this chance encounter with my aunt.
Aunt Lou Allie died one month later.
Our encounter had been just in time. For me. For her. For both of us.
So here’s where I make the choice to give God the credit and look at this whole reconnection as a rose handed to me by God Himself. Yes, the thorn of my Dad’s absence is still there. But it is completely my choice whether to focus on the rose or the thorn.
Thorns appear in several places throughout the Bible. In Genesis, thorns were part of the consequence to sin entering the world (Gen. 3:17-18). Then in Judges we are reminded we must get rid of anything in our life that seeks to distract us from God or it will forever be a thorn in our side (Judges 2:2-4).
But probably the most moving Scriptures about thorns can be found in John 19: 1-3. This is where the soldiers placed the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. And He took those thorns to the cross.
My thorns. Your thorns. And in the midst of the thorns Jesus gave us the greatest rose of all.
This Friday I’ll be sharing part of the redeemed life God has given me on the Oprah Show. For more information, go here and click on “Friday’s show.”