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Seeing Beauty Instead of Pain

July 22, 2016

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.

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  1. Megan

    Beautiful inspiration for the day. I have recently heard so much bad news (many friends battling cancer, some are losing the
    battle) Also I am dealing with an extremely negative person in my
    life. I needed this at this time.

  2. Katie

    Definitely needed this!!! Preordered the book on, but didn’t see any instructions on how to obtain the gifts. Any thoughts on how to do that? Can’t wait to start reading!!!

  3. Melissa Henderson

    A beautiful message. I love roses. We had one called a “Rio Samba” and it changed colors during the day. God gives us the most special blessings to enjoy. He knows we have hard times and difficult situations, and He gives us things in life to enjoy. Blessings to you. 🙂

  4. Amy Garvel

    This is so true, and a great discussion to have in ministry with youth as well as with my oncology patients. I will say I have found much more joy in my life by choosing to focus on the positive. Coming from a pessimistic family that was difficult. With Gods help, he and the Holy Spirit have guided me and developed those fruits. My life has become much more exciting and full of joy no matter what the circumstance, I will choose Joy!!!!

  5. Lauren

    This is good. Oh so good. Thanks for sharing, Lysa.

  6. Hayley

    There is a broken link that won’t open the page “And if you’re not quite sure if Uninvited is for you, take the assessment by clicking here.

  7. Melissa

    Wow, Lisa. Amen 🙂 Thank you so much for this… A timely answer to prayer… I’ve been up since 3 this morning, doing mommy things on the other side of the house while my babies sleep, wrestling with similar things, asking God to please, please walk me through my heart and help me end the generational pain that the women in my family keep passing down to their children. Beauty despite the thorns:) The Lord I think began to answer me through you, today… So thank you for writing and letting him work through you:) I am so thrilled that you are giving your hurt to Him, truly and fully, as well! *hugs*, my sister in Christ! <3

  8. Lori porter

    Thank you Lysa for this timely book. I am going through some tough struggles including letting my oldest son go. One of the hardest things a mother can go through…I think. I look forward to this study to help me through some deep hurts and deep rejections.

  9. Noemi

    Lisa, i just finish reading your book Im I messing up my kids? This book and you have been a blessing to my life and everyday i ask God to bless you and your family, Im now getting ready for my next book; Becoming more than a bible study girl. Looking forward for more. I’m from Puerto Rico, when will you be coming over? ?

    May God keep blessing you, so you can continue this tough but precious gift that God has given you.

  10. April

    Thank you for this I want this book infact I need this book at this time in my life recently divorced I want to get past this rejection with your words of encouragement can’t wait

  11. Christena

    Thanks for today’s Devotional about the roses and thorns. Now I see the scripture you highlighted in a new way and definitely want to take a different look at the thorns in my life ! <3

  12. Linda McCamey

    After last night’s webcast from She Speaks, I have been thinking a lot about rejection in my life. From so many sources. And it continues today, doesn’t it? I was so ministered to by Lysa’s presentation. I love the story with Abigail and Nabal (pronounced Na- Val!) and David’s response bc of her! My preorder is on the way.
    Thank you!
    PS: I think God is calling me to move to Charlotte to be near ya’ll!
    Just kidding lol!

  13. Jill

    Every time I read the title of your new book, a deep sorrow wells up in my soul and my eyes fill with tears. Even now, I find it hard to believe I can be helped, but I cling to a small hope that through the words God has given you, I will be set free! Thank you for sharing your heart!

  14. Sandee

    I have been in therapy for years over the rejection of my parents (I am an adopted person,) and my birth mother. Just when I thought I had a good handle on it and felt I had truly forgiven, BAM! another blow to add to the rejection and feelings of inadequacy. I am hopeful and prayerful that your book will assist me and my therapist on my path to healing and forgiveness.
    I’m looking forward to meeting you in Nov. 2017 at the conference our church is hosting with you.

  15. Sam

    Thank you for such a great reminder Lysa, of the choice we have to make, sometimes daily. It is so true to say that what we focus on we become! Thank you for lifting my eyes heavenward and see the goodness that comes out of even the worst pain <3

  16. LA

    God’s fingerprints are showing once again. I received this post 13 days ago and only read it this morning, the day before the 2 year anniversary of my dad’s unexpected and completely shocking suicide that triggered a deluge of chaos in my family’s lives. Your words could be my words from my heart as I struggle with focusing on the thorns or the beauty. There is so much beauty that I cannot deny it. Thank you for sharing your heart and touching those hurting ones in the way God designed you.

  17. Kari

    Thank you Lysa for sharing life. Wiping away the tears.

  18. Frankie Gonzalez

    What a beautiful message. I was rejected by my biological father and then my abusive husband. I lived with my ex husband for 23 years before I realized that I didn’t have to live feeling “Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely” Thank you!

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