They say that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade…but what about when life gives you thorns? It’s easy to make something good out of a basket of lemons. They taste good, they smell good, and they’re super useful. But what are you supposed to do with a heaping basket of pain and suffering? How can you make something good out of trauma, persecution, or tragedy?
Thorns. They stab and they hurt. They wound and they choke. They can make you cry, bleed, and wish for an end to everything so that you can finally be freed from their wounding grasp.
What are you supposed to do when life gives you thorns?
My life has many thorns. For as long as I can remember there have been thorns in my life too hard for me to bear. When people think about my trials or suffering, they no doubt think about my chronic illnesses. But long before my body began to waste away, there was a stronger, more painful, and more deeply piercing thorn in my life than that. Like the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, I pleaded with God over and over to remove that thorn. And ever since I was a depressed, suicidal, 13-year-old crying on my bathroom floor, I have been begging God to take that thorn away from me. Nearly a decade later, when my health was at its worst, I remember crying out to God, “I can’t bear all of this! But I could endure any trial if only You took away that old thorn!”
But He didn’t. He gave me grace to endure, and as if He was holding my hand He never left me to suffer alone, but He didn’t take it away. Now that I’m married it has significantly lessened, but to this very day that old thorn still remains.
And I’ve never written about it until now.
Walker has been encouraging me to share my story ever since we got married. He told me there was nothing to be afraid of and no reason to hide it, but I just wasn’t ready even though I wanted to be. Sometimes I would get really close to being ready to share my story, but every time I reached that place I’d remember deep hurts that I received from certain people when I tried reaching out for help in the past, and I would change my mind. I wasn’t ready for something like that to happen again. I wasn’t ready for even more pain.
But deep down, or actually not so deep down, I knew I needed to share my story. Not all of it, but enough of it to be able to help other people. Because if this was a thorn that caused destruction throughout my entire life, I knew there had to be someone else in this world suffering in a similar way. Someone who feels as alone as I did and who doesn’t know where they’re supposed to go from here or how they’re going to get there. Someone who has pleaded with God to bring somebody into their life to help them. Somebody who will actually understand what they are going through. And if my story can help that someone…if sharing my journey into healing can give even one person that little bit of extra hope they desperately need…if my story of suffering will help someone suffer less…then how can I not share it?