Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Thorn.

The Thorn

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”
He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.”
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.
–Martha Snell Nicholson
This poem was sent to me via email from a reader's mother who has a 4 year old special needs daughter.  She sent me the most heartfelt and caring email.  I've had many lately.  Please know that when you take the time to write, I take the time to read.  I am listening.  I am touched and humbled by the words that you write as an encouragement to me.  I pray daily that I can do the same for you.

Today as I re-read this poem I thought about the month we've had.  It's been a long and draining couple of weeks.  We had a hospitalization, many appointments, some really good news, some really hard news and a whole lot of emotions were sprung raw in me. 

Many times I have cried out to God.
"This is hard, Lord."
  "This is oh so ugly, Jesus."
"This is getting painful now God." 
"This is so unfair, Father."

And time and time again I am reminded of how beautiful and precious it all is.  There are really hard moments.  Moments that are draining and excruciating in every possible way.  But there are really wonderful ones too.  Like first thing in the morning when I lay next to Mabel on the floor and she smiles at me with her big teeth as I kiss and kiss and kiss her. 

Like when I tuck my little guy into bed and all he wants to talk about is Jesus.  And Heaven.  And the cross.  And the grave.  And the resurrection. 
...And then when he cries because he wants to 'be in Heaven'....
I wipe away a real tear and explain that someday we really will all get to be. 

I am amazed at the triumph that is revealed at the end of a really hard day.  Even in the deepest confusion and haze of this reality, there is real proof that God is still at work in our lives, our home, our children.  There is still something so much greater happening here than we can ever fully grasp. 

Some days I am able to fully surrender and accept this precious gift that God has given me in Mabel.  This ability to see life through a whole new set of eyes and enjoy it for the pure, blissful, harmonious product that it really is. 

Other days, however, the thorn on the gifted flower seems to never cease in it's prodding at my heart. 

I have been looking back through my blog over the last couple of days thanks to the new portion at the bottom of each post.  I have been reading my words of excitement during my pregnancy with Mabel and my confidence in the Lord's unique work in Her.  I am still confident in that work; in fact-more than ever.  I am amazed at how even in the early days of her life, God gave me wisdom about the days to come and I can see how He was preparing me.  I am so thankful that I took the time to write about those things so that I can always look back and see His fingerprint on the moments of our life that seem difficult or challenging. 

Some of it is hard for me, knowing that I could never have known what was coming.  Some of it is bittersweet, knowing that I was still in anticipation of a 'normal' life with a 'normal' baby.  But now, this life with Mabel is all I know.  I forget the typical tendencies of toddlers and I am accepting more and more the things that are right for our family.  It's been a process and even now I believe I'm still in it.  I know I'll look back in another year and be amazed at how far we've come.  Emotionally speaking, I believe we are forever going to be shifted from this point forward. 

I cherish that as a true gift, though.  I never wanted to be in a place of slumber in this walk with Jesus or this position of wife or mother.  I never want to be able to look back and say with confidence that "I have arrived."  It's just not so.  We are all fully capable of growing and maturing in new ways just because we are fully alive. 

I can say with utter truth today that I am thankful for this gift adorned with thorns given to me by Jesus.  He saw me fit.  He saw it proper.  He gave me this chance at this life and I am grateful.  He knows me oh so well.  He knew I deserved her and she needed me.  He has entrusted Mabel to me but me to her as well.  This is not a challenge given to me by God to see if I will succeed.  The Lord doesn't play games.  He gives gifts. 

Perfect.  Precious.  Pure.  Holy. 
And I am humbled and blessed beyond words.

Because just like I told you at the beginning of this post-that I am listening when you write and that I am humbled when you take the time to do so...
I am listening when He speaks.  I am humbled when He chooses to reach out and encourage me. 
And by giving me Mabel, that is what He has done. 
Time and time again.

Every rose really does have it's thorn.
But it's prick to the heart is worth the pain when it blooms into something so much greater. 
 It's root is deeper.  It's beauty more majestic.
It's altogether lovely.

Today was a hard day.  But I can truly say at 9:57 pm on April 1st 2012 that I am grateful for the gift today-thorn and all.

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