Thankful for the Thorns | McGowan Images Blog


Thankful for the Thorns

I’d say about half of my Facebook friends are participating in the “Thirty Days of Thanksgiving”, and I love reading every day about the things people are most grateful for. I’m doing something similar on Instagram… sharing a picture every day of something I’m grateful for.

But one thing I’ve noticed, is that for a lot of people, it becomes a list. There’s nothing wrong with being grateful for the small things… in fact, that’s HUGELY important. We should be thankful for our homes, for warm beds at night, for food in our bellies. We should never stop being grateful for our spouses and children.

At the same time, though, those are easy things to be grateful for. Those are the roses in life. When you’re counting your blessings, those are the first things on the list.

Today, I want to encourage you to think about things you never thought you’d be grateful for. In the Bible, we’re shown over and over again that God gives us struggles in life to ultimately better us as people, and as believers. Paul was grateful for the “thorn in his side” that tormented him his entire life. And I know in my own life, there are so many things I never wanted that I am now so SO grateful for.

Being a pregnant teenager is a thorn. It’s a hard thing. It’s an unenviable position. But having Jack, well, it saved my life. And now I’m Mom to one of the most incredible little boys in the world. BAM. Grateful for that thorn.

Struggles and fights and doubt in the first year of marriage… those are thorns. Those are the worst pain I’ve felt. I didn’t know how I’d ever be grateful for timely assistance available at Bengal Law website for that. But here we are, years later, stronger than we ever would have been without that. BAM. Thankful for that struggle.

Not being able to build the house we wanted. Man, that sucked so hard. There were lots of tears, lots of disappointment, lots of self-doubt. But here we are 18 months later, living stacked on top of each other in our tiny little farmhouse, and taking our kids on epic vacations instead. Because sometimes God has to devastate you to get your priorities in line. And I’d rather have rich experiences than a large home any day of the week. BAM. Grateful for that disappointment.

What about you? Are there times in your life that you thought served no purpose? Is there pain that you just KNEW you’d never be thankful for? And now, a little removed from the situation, can you see where God was leading you all along, and really truly be grateful for that thorn?

Tell me about it. Share it here in the comments. I’ll draw three commenter names out of a hat, and those people will win gorgeous graphic art from the Texas Lovely Etsy store (each print a $15 value). Bethe’s art is all over our house, and she’s now made it impossible for me to go into a new season without ordering new prints… such a talented lady! Here are two of her prints (and one of her pillows) before we framed them… as well for notecards she gave us that I’m now SUPER stoked to send out! 🙂

I’ll announce the winners next week. Until then, try to make it a point to be grateful for your life. The whole thing! The hills and the valleys, the smooth beaches and the rocky cliffs. Every experience has value, and God is using ALL of them to make us who He wants us to be!

  1. Samantha says:

    I thought my life was over when my first marriage ended in divorce. I now realize that I had to go through that so I could meet my husband and have the happy life that I have now.

  2. Kendall says:

    Mine is pretty easy this year. 4 weeks ago a pretty big thorn was stabbed into our sides. My father was diagnosed with bladder tumors, lung blisters, and type 2 diabetes. To say I was brought down to my knees is an understatement. I cried for hours until my husband told me to stop looking at it as a bad thing. My family has never been one of the close knit groups. My parents are divorced, we don’t have any aunts and uncles near by, my sister is 3000 miles away. It’s hard to be close. But in the last 4 weeks, I have realized that my parents aren’t the invincible super heroes I thought they were. Now, rather than once or twice a month, I call my mom and dad almost daily just to chat. This thorn has made me thankful for the fact that they are still here on this Earth with me and that I can reach out to them all the time just to say hello. I think we as people take that connection for granted. I know I never will again.

  3. Jessica S says:

    Last Thanksgiving my mom was given the news that she would not beat her cancer. That it had overcome her. She still continued to fight. I’m grateful that she taught me how to be a survivor. She taught me to appreciate the little things. We will miss not having her this Thanksgiving, but we know she’ll be with us in spirit and that we’re all all the better for having known her.

  4. Libby Barrett says:

    When we were first married we dreamed of getting pregnant. But after 5 years of trying no such luck. It almost tore our marriage apart and sent me into a deep depression. I couldn’t understand why God was allowing us to be infertile. We then became foster parents to a wonderful little 4 month old red headed boy. We then went on a two year journey of fighting to become his adoptive parents. At one point the state said they were going to reunite him with his family. That was the lowest point for us. But after that his bio parents rights were terminated and we were able to adopt him almost two years later. Through this we were also blessed with a friend who could no longer parent her daughter and were able to adopt her also. Then not even 7 months after that we found out I was finally pregnant. I then went on to almost lose our baby and my life with eclampsia. We are so thankful for all those trials because now looking back we have our three wonderful children and a crazy life with three kids under three years old.

  5. Sheryl Hansen says:

    I thought I surely could not ‘go on’ in life when my dad left home when I was a junior in high school, but the Lord walked beside me every hard step of the way … many years to each ‘new chapter’ of my life. I am thankful to now be able to encourage others and be able to relate to their hurt and feelings when they have gone through a similar experience.

  6. Bethe says:

    Our first year of marriage was so challenging – I was sick in bed the first four months with a major illness, we owned two houses (and two mortgages), we buried one of my husband’s favorite relatives. It was a hard, lean year, and not the newlywed year we had dreamed about. But I am so thankful for those challenges because it brought us closer and showed us that love is a lot more than romance – it’s a commitment to dig your heels in and fight for your marriage. I love my husband in a totally different way because of those hard times we walked through together.

  7. Jackie says:

    Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Cervical cancer. 22 years old, extremely healthy and active, it felt like someone kicked my knees out from under me. At this point, Kyle and I had been dating for about a year and he had been there at every doctor’s appointment, biopsy and surgery and never once complained or left my side. He stood beside me as the doctor told us that because of the surgery, getting pregnant might be difficult – or might not happen (small side note- it took my parents 8 years and countless surgeries to get pregnant with me, so infertility or difficulty getting pregnant was always a fear of mine). As much as that thought terrified me, it didn’t phase him. I can recall months of feeling broken, and Kyle would continuously tell me how perfect I was and that he would be there every step of the way. In fact, he proposed exactly two weeks after my surgery. I always knew he was great but after going through that really difficult time together, there wasn’t a doubt that he was my dude forever.

  8. Carrie R says:

    When Scotty cashed out his 401K, quit his job as an accountant, and moved to California to attend film school, that was a huge thorn. We were just dating, but we decided to stay together for the 1.5 years he was out there. We didn’t have a lot of money to see each other, so sometimes we would go 4 months without being together. Worst 1.5 years of my life.
    But I’m so grateful that we made it through the tough time, got engaged and married when he moved back to Texas, and now he can make a living doing what he LOVES, and we know we can weather any tough times in front of us. I never imagined it could be this good.

  9. Rikki Wade says:

    I lost my job when I was 8 months pregnant with my first child. It was scary, but I had an overwhelming sense things were going to be OK. And I needed a job, there was no hiding the belly. Well they told me I could work up until labor and they would carry me through my maternity leave and I just wouldn’t have a job to go back to. So I got to work longer than the others who were laid off, and I had pay and insurance through my maternity leave. I got to stay at home longer with her than I did with my others. It took me 2 months to find a job and I started looking right away when I got home from the hospital. The very day I thought if I don’t get a job, we will lose everything. I got a phone call offering me to start the very next day. God showed me that ultimately He provides, I can trust Him every step of the way. Even when I can’t see the path ahead. He is faithful to bring me through.

  10. Shana says:

    When I was a teenager I had to be home every night by 9:30 to take care if my grandmother while my parents were at work. I hated it then, I never could really enjoy my teenage years. After she passed away, I realized how lucky I was that I got that extra time with her. I was the one that was there for her in the middle of the night, every time she needed something. Thankful for that thorn!!

  11. Kerri H says:

    Getting pregnant out of wedlock, in a new relationship, was the hardest thing i’ve ever done. We had family members that were NOT happy and everything seemed to be crumbling down. However, I completely relate to a child “saving” you. Brye has turned my life around in ways that I didn’t even know were possible- Everybody now accepts our decisions and can’t imagine life any other way! I thank God for letting me be his momma- I thank God for saving my life through a tiny seven pound four ounce body 🙂

  12. LeighAnn Standridge says:

    Chelsea – I went to college with my high school sweetheart, graduated and got married. It all seemed like a little fairy tale at the time. 3 months later when I came home to find my new husband in a relationship with another woman my world fell apart. I thought, why me? Everything was supposed to be “perfect.” I spend the next several months sad and moping around and then one day my mom says to me – “LeighAnn, I love you, but enough is enough, it’s time to pull your boot straps up and move on and stop letting this be your life.” I don’t know what it was, but my mom, my hero – helped me pull those straps on and then I started to discover myself – LeighAnn – a person I truly did not appreciate. I learned to love myself and became a woman of my own. I then met my husband, Chris. Had I not gone through that time in my life – I would not appreciate and love him more and more everyday and know that God gave me a blessing, and that the answer to “why me?” Was simple – because I have bigger plans for you. Thank you for this post. I was crying on my way to work thinking about the loss of my Mimi this year and how hard it will be to celebrate Thanksgiving without her for the first time this year and now I am able to remember the good too. So, thank you!

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  14. Melissa Seabourn says:

    I am so very thankful for the year of 2007. We started the year off in the hospital with our brand new baby boy sick with rsv & pnemonia. Then I got menengitis and was in hospital off and on for 3-4 months. Next we discovered our baby boy needed heart surgery and we finished the year off with hernia surgery in december. Through all of this my husband began coming to church and dedicated his life to Our Lord! I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

  15. Loren B. says:

    For two years my husband and I busted our tails. Jimmy in fire academy and EMT school. Me, working at a bank and being our family’s provider. We knew it would all be worth it in the end, but it was HARD. After graduation, he worked a series a nasty, hard, manual labor jobs while he tried to get on with a department. March of 2011 rolled around and he got a FF job. Finally!!!! All of our hard work was finally paying off! I got to go back to college! We were doing it! We were living the dream. After a month on the new job we were surprised to find out that a THIRD baby would be joining our brood! We were thrilled and terrified at the same time. Three days after finding out that our family would be growing by two tiny, wrinkled feet, J got a DWI. He lost his job. This was the lowest point of our married life. I should have been PISSED (and I’ll admit that for about two hours I was), but I pulled on my big girl panties (let’s not forget that I was in the family way) and I loved him through it. The next day he enrolled in college and went and found another job. We began to live what a marriage should look like. When I am down, he carries me. When he is down, I pick up his slack. He is thriving in college and he devotes so much time to helping other veterans do the same. Times is still hard some months . . . I mean, we’re both students, but I couldn’t feel more rich. I’ve found my lobster and I thank God for that thorn we dealt (okay, are STILL dealing with) because I can feel it in the tingles deep down in my tummy that we’re right where we’re supposed to be. I’m thrilled to see what He has in store for us next!

  16. Melody says:

    I can definitely relate to being thankful for the thorns in my life. Losing my baby that I longed and ached for for years was devastating and heart breaking, but I’m thankful for her life, even as short as it was. My faith was strengthened, my marriage was enhanced, and we were blessed with the miracle of adoption.

  17. Will says:

    Thanks so much for being so honest and real. It is SO easy to put on that ‘I’m perfect’ facade. No one is. No one. That’s why I need a savior. Because I’m a screw up. Unfortunately my (and everyone else’s) default setting is poor, pathetic slob. We have to fight against it, but I am so gracious that WE HAVE A HELPER that can do FAR GREATER than we can ever imagine. We love you guys! Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Caty says:

    Justin and I consider ourselves lucky to truly enjoy spending time together. Things have always flowed really naturally and it’s been pretty easy loving each other in our first year of marriage. When we decided to start trying for a baby and got pregnant right away, we felt blessed beyond understanding.
    The day before our first sonogram, I went to the ER and was told we were losing the baby. We both went through this awful emotional rollercoaster, doing our best not to cast blame on ourselves and each other. We truly saw each other at our worst. It cost us a lot of friendships, because we didn’t know how to deal with what we were feeling, so how would anyone else? It is really easy to take stuff out on those you love the most, and we did that.
    However, we continued praying together and clinging to each other, reminding ourselves of the foundation we had in God and in each other. I can safely say that, even though I don’t believe that God caused that to happen, he took a tragic situation and used it for good. I think that I’ve matured a lot in being much more compassionate with other people and asking myself what might cause a person to act a certain way. I think that Justin and I have learned not to take what we have for granted…and now that I’m a month away from delivering our first baby, I look at my belly and realize that this little miracle would not be making her way to the world had things not happened in the way that they did. I’m very thankful for this year and the way God has used it to chisel my and my husband’s hearts in the best way possible.

  19. Paige Ann says:

    I have actually been thinking about this a lot this month seeing all the daily postings of people for what they are thankful. I lost my job in early February 2009 when there were about 399,999 other prople that lost their job as well. I was completely devastated and could not understand why–my company had just paid for my entire MBA program at a private university (I graduated in December) and they were an Oil company and oil was going for $140/barrel (basically making money hand over fist). I was so nervous about my future due to the lack of jobs and the number of people looking. I was spending all day every day looking for a job with know luck for months. A very good friend of mine had given my resume to her boss and they offered me a posistion. It required travel every week, was a step back in pay, a few steps back in technology, an additional 30 mile commute through EVERY toll plaza, but it was an income. So I started in July. After my first week in town I hit the road. My first assignment took me to a small town in Alabama about 2.5 hours away from my parents in Georgia. Once I landed in FL I had a 3 hour drive to my destination. I would use those 3 hours to talk to my Mom. I was also able to stay over the weekend and just drive up to spend the weekend with my family. Then on a Wednesday morning in mid-August (I was already planning to go spend the weekend with my parents) my father called, frantic, saying that my mother had had a massive stroke. I was able to jump in my car, drive to Atlanta to pick up my brother, and then spend the rest of the week with my family. The rest of the time that I was in AL, my company allowed me to take off early on every Wednesday afternoon, drive over to GA see my mom and spend the night with my Dad to give him some company and then drive back the next morning. Additionally, when I was not on an assignment, I could work from home so I was able to be at my parents’ house. That job led to another job where I worked from home everyday and was able to spend more time with my parents helping my dad take care of my mother. At the time I could not see why I had been given this thorn, but I am thankful every day for the gift of all the precious time I was able to spend with my Mom and give back to the two people who had given me all that I needed to be who I am today.

  20. Amber M says:

    I have had quite a few thorns but one that continues to stick out today is the death of a very dear friend of mine a couple of years back. We all went to different colleges but always kept in touch. It was our junior year and I remember being at a friend’s graduation party in Stephenville when I got the call around midnight from another friend saying ‘Sara is gone, she drowned.” I thought, how could this happen to me, to our friends, her parents?? We always spent our summer at the lake together, we all knew how to swim. I was very confused and upset and I can say that it still hurts today. I know this thorn was meant to show me that I shouldn’t take my friendships for granted and expect that my friends will always be there no matter what. We’ve all become even closer and keep in touch even more than before. This thorn has also reminded me of how strong my family is for me and that I also shouldn’t take them for granted. They were all there to make sure that I was okay, especially my mom, and I am so grateful that God continues to show how much he has blessed my life with all of the amazing people I have in it, even if some are gone now.

  21. Chelsea D. says:

    What a way to make your blog-stalkers cry on a Tuesday morning. I am both sad and happy to say that I have many of these disappointments to choose from. I’ll say the thorn that is currently in my side is us waiting to start our family. We want for me to be able to stay home with our children, but like so many couples we have a significant amount of debt (thank you college educations). We made the decision, albeit disappointing and painful, to wait to have children until I can stay home. My uterus hurts for a baby, but I know that the wait will be worth it.

  22. I am learning to be thankful when my life does not go according to *my* plan. My paln was not to marry a vet student, but had I not, I would not have my Abigail and Amelia. My plan was not to move to Bryan and leave my family. But if I hadn’t followed my husband, I never would have met my “jens”. My plan certainly was NOT to defend my husband for years amid rumors of infidelity only to have him leave me 8 weeks after our angel girl was born for his “friend”. Regardless~God knows best and through those circumstances allowed me to see that He had a better plan for our future. If My ex-husband hadn’t been so awful, I never would have gotten the courage to prove him wrong and get my degree. I am learning to love our history and the blessings we’ve received while on this journey. My girls have a Mom who shows them that boys do not define you and a step-mom who loves them like crazy. Two sisters and a brother who think they HUNG THE MOON and enough family members to man not one, but TWO baseballs teams.

    All of this was NOT part of my plan…but I am very thankful that it was part of God’s plan! 🙂

  23. MaryAnn A. says:

    Are you reading my mind, Chelsea? I have been teaching (at Church) and thinking this a LOT for the last few weeks. The “crises” in my life are often what yield the most “fruit.” At the tender age of 39, with a 12 year old, an 8 year old and a 4 year old, I had two back-to-back heart attacks, even though I had no risk factors for heart disease. Apparently, I have a very rare heart condition that can kill me, literally, at any moment without warning.

    Before it occurred, I wondered why I was on the planet. I thought I was failing at EVERYTHING I was doing. I had no purpose for my life. In those 8 days in the hospital (when yes, I saw myself in the hospital bed while “floating” overhead) I had a LOT of time to think. God came into that moment and gave me unbelievable peace, even though I might die right then and there. It almost makes me wish that all could go through this, so that they could know this peace, too! (ALMOST!) My family and I were surrounded (almost overwhelmingly so) with tremendous love and caring from our extended families and the wonderful people at our church and in our community. And finally, I felt that maybe a little something about me was doing okay, thanks to that love and caring.

    I, honestly, was ready to go with God, except for one little matter. I wasn’t convinced that Kyle understood what grace and salvation meant at his young age. And I didn’t want Bruce to have to worry about raising 3 kids on his own. I asked God if he could give me some more time and I promised to make His agenda my agenda.

    My life has taken a LOT of crazy turns; but then, God never promised me a straight path when I made that promise to him. But the best turn it took was walking beside a fountain at dusk on my husband’s arm as I watched my daughter marry Rob Kuhns, exactly 13 years after my heart attack. I look soo much better in a purple evening gown, as opposed to a hospital gown. 🙂 God is sooooooo good!

  24. Lorinda Bodiford says:

    My favorite verse is Romans 8:28 and I’ve claimed this many times in my life. I love that moment when I see how God redeemed struggles and bad situations that have come into my life. When I was 12 (remember the middle school years?), a horrible rumor went through the school about me and my best girl friend. As an adult, rumors and gossip are bad enough, but they’re devastating to a young girl. The only friend I had that year was the girl who shared the rumor, and other “unpopular” kids. In fact, the rumor caused our friendship to dissipate. Add to that the fact that I wasn’t accepted in the youth group at our church and you can get the picture. I remember thinking, “I wish I had the courage to kill myself.” Remembering it now brings tears to my eyes. HOWEVER…..God redeemed that and brought “beauty from ashes.” God has brought forgiveness into my heart and I no longer even remember the names of the kids who started the rumor. (That took me until I was 40 years old!) I am a public school teacher and God has used those past issues to reach other “unpopular” and downtrodden kids. I have a passionate, nurturing personality and I have first hand knowledge of what it feels like to be “unpopular”. I know the hurt that comes with that and God has used that to reach many downtrodden kids. God does work all to the good and to His glory!

  25. I married my wonderful husband 5 years ago. We have had a beautiful life together, everything has gone as planned. We lived in a small apartment our first few years, bought a house, have jobs we both enjoy (most of the time), we have gone on trips, and have truly been blessed. The “thorn” I’m thankful for right now is trying to get pregnant. I feel like we have been trying for, forever (I’ve been off the pill for almost two years), but we said when we first got married that we would wait five years before we started trying. So, technically, we are right on track. I’m thankful that we are being tested in this trial, that it hasn’t happened right away because I’m reminded DAILY of God’s grace, and how His timing is perfect! I cling to the hope and the faith that our baby will be a rock star, and will be the BIGGEST blessing in our life!

  26. Amber B. says:

    This year I am doing the 30 days of Thanks and Chelsea you’re right…it is all the simple happy things that I’ve been saying I’m thankful for. However this year and the end of last year was not so much a lot to be thankful for and I still sometimes have those days. My thorn has been the struggle bw my husband and I to keep our marriage strong. I’m very thankful for my son, but having a child made our lives completely different and not so great. We have had to work very hard (some days not even knowing if it would end in divorce) and then to find out we were pregnant again this year was a very unplanned event which made I know my struggles much harder. I have days where I just want to pull my hair out and I’m not sure I can handle 2 children and I know God only gives us what we can handle, but I’ve had days where I really haven’t believed that God really knew what he was doing by giving me another child. I’m thankful that I’m willing to keep on trucking and trying to keep those great vows we said to each other going because no one said it would be easy. Thanks for this reminder, it was a painful reminder, but still a good one!

  27. Ambo says:

    Hard for me to put into context but the thorn I am thankful for is the car wreck my mom was in when I was 6 months old….now, now…don’t read that first line and think horrible thoughts of me. I am thankful for it BECAUSE everyone that knew her back then said that the wreck completely changed her personality and she moved away. My brother and myself were raised by our grandparents for the most part of our childhood from then on, we still saw our mom but she lived and hour away. BUT when she did move back we have gotten so much closer over the years, who knows where we would have turned up if that wreck hadn’t happened; I would have probably gone to a different school in a different town, had different friends and maybe not ever met my husband.
    Thank you for this post McG’s–you guys know that I love you and this is an amazing opportunity for us all to take a step back and reevaluate.
    Much love,

  28. Amanda says:

    I am so grateful for the setbacks we experienced in the last year. Getting our offer on a house in Murphy rejected sucked, but only until Andy lost his job a week later and we realized we’d have been stuck in a house we couldn’t afford. When Andy got his new job and was shipped off to Pampa two weeks after our wedding, I decided to keep my job in Plano. It was so hard and I cried so much, but that decision actually kept us from buying a house out there. If we had, Andy never would have gotten the opportunity to transfer to Oklahoma, which means I would likely not have found a job, and we would not be settling down and starting our family in a wonderful home and town.

  29. AF says:

    I lost my job in Feb 09. My husband lost his in June 09. In late 2008, the Lord prepared our hearts to go into apartment ministry. We moved to the apartment in May 09. I got a job three months later and my husband found a job two weeks after he was laid off. I lost my job again November 2011 and just got an offer for a new job yesterday. Being in the apartment ministry has been the best thing that ever happened to us so far. As we prepare to step down from it at the end of this month, I can look back and clearly see God’s hands working in our lives and holding us up when things weren’t good.

  30. cynthia reeves says:

    I am thankful for so much. For the simple reason, I shouldn’t be alive. However, something I am even more thankful for is my fiancee. He works so that I may attend Nursing school which has been a long-time dream in the making. This just isn’t any situation where a man loves a woman. This is a man who unconditionally gives of himself, works a job he loves that has become physically difficult for him, pays all the bills, provides for myself and my daughter, all the while struggling with an aggressive disease:Multiple Sclerosis. And most of all, he never complains. No matter what, his ultimate concern is that I finish school, as well as he is paying for every bit of it. I have truly been blessed and I am forever grateful to have been given such a precious gift from God!

  31. Dani C says:

    Two years ago Michael got a DWI and had to do jail time for it. As angry as I was at him there were two two positives out of it, his doing that jail time and us being apart made us both realize that we could not live another day with each other forever in our lives. The other was a huge life lesson that he learned from it and the new positive outlook he has on life! All of these posts have been amazing and have made me think about all of the other heartache in life that has made me a better person amd have something to be greatful for!!!

  32. April says:

    Almost 2 years ago my hair started falling out and even though I still had long hair it was drastically thinning. At the time it seemed like the bigges problem ever….my hair was the one thing I loved more than anything about my body. I was so upset and I would have suck bad days bc I couldn’t figure out why it was happening. Finally I went to the dr and found out I had thyroid problems…easy fix with surgery. So I buckled down and had my thyroid removed….during the process the dr found cancer….cancer that was not seem my any test and not found in my biopsy. I battled some radioactive iodine to get rid of it and a few more months of my hair still falling out but now I am almost 1 1/2 cancer FREE and I am finally getting my thicker hair back. I hated very min fo my knowing, the surgery, the recovery….all of it. But I could not be more grateful that something was caught before my body was seriously damaged. (Kinda felt good to say all that…..thanks Chelsea!)

  33. Colt says:

    It is funny that often times while reading my facebook, I have that same thought. For those of us that are believers are able to hope on the purpose and plan that is greater than ourselves, for those of you who are not I pray that one day you find, and can rest in the same hope the rest of us have. Six years ago, while at college, I received a phone call telling me that I needed to get to Fort Worth as soon as I could. My brother had been involved in a car accident. For most people this would just be a sibling in an accident, for me it was different. Even though my brother was eight years older than me we were close. When people referred to one of us they often referred to both. He always welcomed me by his side and often times asked for it, after all I went on his first date with him. Coming from a split family he also took the role of a father figure in my life. At the time of his loss, to say our family was in shock, is an understatement because unknown to me he play a large role in many of my family members lives as well. When he passed like most people I wondered why. Approaching his birthday six years later im still not sure why but I know the things that I have overcame in my life in that time were due to lesson learned by him, and know that I can rest in the hope that the lessons will continue and those can be passed on to my children and grandchildren. Thanks for posting this and being a reminder to all of your followers that there are things to be learned by the storms in our lives.

  34. Amy M. says:

    I am very familiar with being grateful for thorns in my side. I didn’t have the best childhood and for the most part of my younger years I wasn’t sure if God was even watching over me. From the age of 2 to 10 I was molested daily by men from my step dads side of the family which made me hate men and not trust love. I was thankful that at the age of 10 I was taken from my mother and my aunt and uncle got custody of me, but I still didn’t trust love from anyone not even God and I grew up thinking that God had turned his back on me and didn’t care. At the age of 24 I found out that I was pregnant and the guy that I had been dating for 2 years jumped shipped when I refused to get an abortion. I was devestated and throughout my pregnancy recieved backlash from my family for having a child out of wedlock it was to the point of me almost givng my daughter up for adoption. I was 24 and didn’t understand the true meaning of love and what my relationship with God truly meant. When I was 6 months pregnant God showed me for the first time why I should be thankful for those thorns in my side. I experienced the spirit of God and for the first time in my life truly saw is never-ending love and grace. My daughter saved my life and strengthened my relationship with Christ and has shown me what unconditional love truly is and I am so thankful for the thorns in my side that have helped mold me into the person that I am today.

  35. […] if you haven’t participated in the “Thankful for the Thorns” contest we blogged last week, you’ve still got time. I won’t draw winners ’til this […]

  36. Bri S. says:

    Thorns – I know them well…
    I have had a lot of thorns to get where I am today. Winston Churchill said “If you are going through Hell, keep going” and that is exactly what I did. There was a very dark period of my life where I did not understand the reasons why I had to go through what I was going through. Looking back, I realize that specific time has made me who I am today. I am able to be a better friend, daughter, wife, sister all because I deeply understand what is important and what is just frivolous details.
    I am so grateful for that period because now I have no doubt where I want to be, who I want to be with and what to strive for.
    “March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.” – Kahlil Gibran
    I’m still marching but I can see more flowers than thorns now…

  37. KaylaS says:

    Two weeks ago I lost a 23 yer old cousin. He was vibrant, loving, and as great of a Christian young man you would ever in counter. He was one if those that lit up the room with his contagious smile when he walked in. Now I can’t say I’m thankful that he’s gone because in my mind he had so much more he should have gotten to do. But that’s just my mind and not my lords. You see it’s not the years you live but the life within the years you have. Justin lived! And he touched a multitude of people. Over 700 came to his viewing and over 200 to his funeral. That shows me that although he was young he had a huge impact on many people, and it showed his parents and sisters and brother that undoubtedly. So I’m thankful for the life in his years and I’m thankful for the time we had him and I’m most thankful for the impact he had on others. Life well lived Justin!

  38. KaylaS says:

    Two weeks ago I lost a 23 yer old cousin. He was vibrant, loving, and as great of a Christian young man you would ever in counter. He was one if those that lit up the room with his contagious smile when he walked in. Now I can’t say I’m thankful that he’s gone because in my mind he had so much more he should have gotten to do. But that’s just my mind and not my lords. You see it’s not the years you live but the life within the years you have. Justin lived! And he touched a multitude of people. Over 700 came to his viewing and over 200 to his funeral. That shows me that although he was young he had a huge impact on many people, and it showed his parents and sisters and brother that undoubtedly. So I’m thankful for the life in his years and I’m thankful for the time we had him and I’m most thankful for the impact he had on others. Life well lived Justin!

  39. […] was nervous last week when I posted the “Thankful for the Thorns” blog post. And really, I always am a little nervous when I write like that here… I mean, […]

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