"Bless the Lord,
O my soul,
and forget not
all his benefits:"
April is a bitter-sweet month for Brian and myself. Or another way of saying it, "it's an opportunity to seek for the roses amidst the thorns!"
April was the month when Brian and I entered the world of chronic illness.
This year marks fourteen years!
When the symptoms first hit, my thinking was, "kiss the boo boo", slap a band-aid on, give me a lollipop and send me on my way!
Oh, how wrong I was!
Our lives drastically changed fourteen years ago, but there are definitely roses amidst the thorns.
When I first wrote this post, this is the exact point where I began to share many of the "thorns". But as the Lord does so often, He "tapped me on the shoulder", and in the sweet Holy Spirit's prompting suggested I totally bypass the "thorns" and concentrate solely upon the "roses"! And I'm so glad He did because as I wrote out all the "thorns", all it served to accomplish was to spiral me downward into a pity party, and I certainly don't need any extra help in that area!
So grab a cup of coffee and join me as I share some of the gorgeous roses which are growing amidst the thorns in my life!
A blooming "rose"! The Lord continues to draw me closer in my personal walk with Him, even more so now that I am dealing with a chronic illness. The past few years have produced some of the greatest spiritual growth in my life as the Lord has been "pulling back layers" and exposing some ungodly attitudes, wrong thinking, misplaced motives and so much more! It has been very painful at times as the Lord cuts deeper, but, oh, so worth it!
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
A "rose" of great love! Since chronic illness entered our lives, the Lord has drawn Brian and I much closer to one another. The divorce stats among marriages with one spouse struggling with a chronic illness is staggering.
Brian and I PRAISE THE LORD with each day that passes, our love and respect for one another grows stronger. But it's not us. It's having Christ at the center of our lives and smack dab in the center of our marriage.
Since the stress of running here, there and everywhere has been removed from our marriage, it's amazing the time we have to just sit, talk and really get to know each other! Oh the sheer delight we both get from going on a truck date to Chick-fil-A! It's all about the simple things!
A "rose" of fellowship! We are so thankful the Lord led us to an amazing church family. The Lord brought us to this church through their live streaming of each and every service. We first began watching due to me not feeling well enough to attend the actual services, which would NEVER have happened if it were not for the chronic illness!
Brian and I
are members of
Astatula Baptist Church
in Astatula, Florida!
If you don't have
a church home
and live in the area,
please feel free
to stop in!
If you are unable
to get out
for the services,
please check out
the live streaming
of every service at
A "rose" of understanding! Over the years, the Lord has provided me with some of the best doctors. Oh, yes, I had my share of "doozies", but I also had, and still do, have doctors that went, and continue, to go above and beyond for me. They and their staff have shown great care and compassion, and to me that's a huge blessing!
A "rose" of friendship! I'm so very thankful for the many people whom I've met since becoming sick. I've not had the joy of meeting them in person, just through facebook or here on this website. You may be thinking, "Barb, is it really possible to have friendships with people you've never met?" Oh, it's not only possible, it's precious! Most of them deal with chronic illness, so we "get each other". Distance may separate us, but that in no way limits our friendship!
A "rose" of compassion! I'm very thankful to the Lord for the unique ministry opportunities He brings right to my front doorstop in which to serve Him and serve others. Even on days when I am laid flat-out in bed, the Lord can still use me, if I am willing!
"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
II Corinthians 3:3-4
A fragrant "rose"! When the Lord brought this website into my life, to say I was ecstatic is quite an understatement! This website is definitely a "rose" that NEVER would have come to fruition if it were not for the "thorn" of chronic illness!
Do I always see the roses amidst the thorns? Oh how I wish I could answer with a hearty, "yes", but that would be a lie!
Last week I had a HUGE flare up with MAJOR vertigo attacks followed by mini spins. All I could see were the "thorns". Just being transparent as always!
However, as things calmed down, the Lord began to show me the "roses" which were blooming bright and beautiful!
My hubby was able to come home from work to calm me down, to hug me, to pray with me, to stay with me. That's a blossoming red "rose"!
A church family and so many dear friends praying for Brian and myself. What a lovely yellow "rose"!
Calling upon the Lord in the midst of it all and knowing He was with us the entire time. Talking with Him into the middle of the night when fear was threatening to overtake me. That's a breath-taking white "rose"!
I don't know if you are struggling with a chronic illness, a difficult marriage, children who are far from the Lord, huge financial burdens, you fill in the blank.
I do know from personal experience how very difficult trials and burdens can be, especially those that linger on for months or years. But I also know if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, no matter the circumstances, He is ALWAYS FAITHFUL!
Remember to not only slow down long enough to stop and smell the roses, but also take the time to count the roses amidst the thorns of life!
As you look for the roses amidst the thorns, you will need to be still and know that He is God!
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May God Bless You,