Thorn Bushes Have Roses

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Isn’t that beautiful?

Life is hard. Life can be cruel and ugly. But life is also beautiful and sweet. I’ve learned I have two choices. I can either let what life hands me defeat me and spread more ugliness or I can sift through the junk and find the sweetness. There’s always sweetness. It may be buried deep in the ugly but it is there. I don’t want to hand ugliness to my boys to carry forward. I want to break negative generational family cycles. So that keeps me digging…well that and I want to keep my sanity. But sanity is debatable.

We make really stupid choices sometimes. We do really dumb things. Sometimes it’s hard for us to forgive ourselves or others for those things. How can we so easily accept God’s grace and forgiveness when we don’t extend grace and forgiveness to others? Be grateful for God’s grace and forgiveness AND extend it to others as well. Otherwise – you’re speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

My sweet friend Dewayne posted this on Facebook today…”I said to the Lord this morning, Lord I have done so much wrong in my life. And he said to me, Dewayne, I have done so much right. And my rights are so much bigger than your wrongs. And I am yours and you are mine. So moral of the story…no matter what you have done, what you’re doing or what you’re going through – his love is greater, bigger and more powerful than any obstacle in front of you. Choose Jesus and you win.” Isn’t Dewayne smart? He’s also kind and loving. And if you knew his story…this would be even more powerful. Dewayne’s thorn bush is full of beautiful roses.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

I’ve also learned – what we look for is what we’ll find. The days I have spent cranky and focusing on the junk…I find myself completely surrounded by negativity. But the opposite holds true as well. When I spend my day focusing on the positive…I am overcome by the beauty in each day.

It’s easy to be grateful for the good stuff in your life when you have plenty of money to buy the things your heart desires…fancy things, exotic travels, nice cars, gorgeous homes and you have a healthy family. But can you still be grateful when you are struggling and can’t afford to pay your bills? What about when someone you love is sick or has been diagnosed with a devastating disease…or has an injury with a long recovery period…or when someone you love has been ripped out of your life? Are you able to show gratitude then? Are you able to be grateful when it rains, snows or when you hit every red light? Anyone can be grateful when things are going their way. The true test is when things aren’t going your way…are you still able to find the sweet stuff?   It’s okay to be sad, to grieve or be frustrated or angry when bad things happen. But the important thing is – don’t get stuck in the negativity. Don’t let the ugliness rob you of your joy or ability to find the beauty.

There is always a lesson. Sometimes is slaps you on the forehead and other times you have to really dig for it but it’s always there. Watch for it. Search for it. Be grateful for it. It’s super valuable.

Sometimes it can be like digging for diamonds. It takes a while. It hardly seems worth it, days spent up to your knees in mud, digging, washing, searching the gravel for diamonds. But when you find that beauty, that valuable lesson…it’s worth more than you ever dreamed.

Life lessons – embrace them. Let them polish you and bring out your shine.

If you feel like life your life circumstances have left you mistreated, cheated and robbed – how long will you allow your past to keep you locked up? Make a decision today to find the sweetness in every single day. You will notice the more you seek it– the more sweetness you will find.

I don’t always understand the bad things that have happened in my life. But I have faith that God will take those bad things and create goodness from them. Some of that goodness has already been revealed to me. I may not ever understand some things that occur in this old world but when I get to heaven…I have a whole list of questions. So until that day…when something bad happens or when I’m living through a difficult time. I go on treasure hunts looking for the jewels. I always find them. But if I go looking for poop – I can find that too. I prefer the jewels.

Think back to the negative things that have happened over your life. Can you recognize the good that came from those things? Are you able to see how you lived a little deeper, were a little more kind, compassionate, more caring and more forgiving? Those are the most valuable lessons of all.

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” – Maya Angelou

Finding the Sweet Side of Crazy!



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