I got an e-mail today that told the story of a woman who had suffered a great loss -- she had miscarried a baby as the result of an accident when someone rear-ended her. She went to a florist to get an arrangement because this was when her baby would have been born. The florist asked her if she was looking for a floral arrangement for Thanksgiving. The lady said "no." She was interrupted by a woman who came in asking for her "usual," and the florist disappeared and returned with rose stems without the buds. She thanked the florist and paid and left. The woman who had lost her baby was dumb-founded. The florist explained that a couple of years prior the previous woman had lost her father to cancer, family business was failing, and she had another disaster or two. The lady couldn't find anything to be thankful for. Another man came along and asked for the "special." When the florist disappeared, the man explained that his wife and he had a marriage falling apart when he brought home this bouquet. They chose a problem for each stem and how God had used that problem to grow them and use them. They learned to thank God for the thorns. The florist returned with his budless, thorny stems, and he left happy with his purchase. The original shopper told the florist she would take the "special." The florist said that she had hoped that she would choose that. The florist gave the flowers and the shopper asked how much it would be. The florist said the first one was free, but next year, if you come back, you can pay then. The florist gave her a business card. It was up to the shopper to find the reasons to be thankful for the thorns.
Last year, my thorns were the issues surrounding my mother's stage 3 breast cancer. We found many reasons along the way to be thankful, and we rejoiced this year when her PET scan and bone scan came back negative for cancer. PRAISE THE LORD! This year God was working on me and my marriage. It reminds me of the song I learned as a child..."He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars the sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be. He's still working on me." When I look to God to fill my needs, He meets them. He doesn't disappoint. He doesn't fail. I am so thankful. He loves me perfectly. He loves me wholly. He loves me without conditions and strings. He has my best interest at heart. I am thankful for a husband who is willing to fight for our marriage, who is open to counsel and marriage retreats. I am thankful for a husband who is a diligent and hard worker and a good provider for our family. I am thankful that God has allowed Patrick to stay with me. Before coming to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, I attended the funeral for the 44 year-old husband of a friend of mine who had survived cancer twice, but died of a sudden heart attack. I am thankful that at night, I can crawl into bed and curl up by my husband to get warm. I am thankful.