roses among thorns

dry bouquet with withered roses on stony ground

Early December, early morning and there’s frost on the ground for the first time this season. Not a welcome sight on this anniversary of my Dad’s passing. Looking out at the unexpected icy white lawn did seem fitting for the unexpected loss we felt two years ago as my Dad passed into Heaven.

Sitting down to His Presence, opening the advent devotional and I am greeted with Genesis 3:9 as the Lord came to a freshly sinning Adam with the probing question, “Where are you?”

He seeks us out and asks our hearts, “where are you?” in every season. Frost or not, He comes already knowing but searching out our hearts anyway. Not for His own benefit but ours. Where am I?

The end of a hard year in so many ways, the end of two hard years, and really if I am being honest, it has been five years of a rollercoaster I would have preferred to do without. But isn’t that the nature of life?

Braided with the heartache, loss and pain are joys that are so deeply intermingled that to separate out the pain is to remove some if the gifts. Right there in the thorns is where we find the most fragrant roses.

So where am I? I am grieved but grateful, sad but joy-filled, pained but hopeful. Life is hard but life is so good because the Life Giver is our very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Where does the Lord find you at the end of this year, in early December? What gifts can you give thanks for that rubs up against painful places? Look hard, He is right here. Presently our Emmanuel.

Photo by Maria Orlova on

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4 thoughts on “roses among thorns

  1. Anniversary dates are hard, aren’t they? I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. I, like you have a complex mix of emotions at the end of this year. Very thankful that God does seek us out. Blessings to you, Mariel.

  2. You’ve captured very poignantly the reality of life…the coexistence of pain and joy. Sending prayers for peace on this anniversary. I’m so sorry for your loss Mariel, but thank you for your perspective.

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