Right before I graduated from college, a classmate wrote an article for our school paper. He called it “Roses and Thorns” and listed some of the best and worst parts of his four years at our university. Roses were the things he’d loved, the experiences he’d treasure, the friends he’d miss. Thorns, on the other hand, were the regrets, the mistakes and the disappointments that countered those blessings.

For years, I kept that article – clipped and yellowed after time – on my fridge. Traveling with us from apartment to duplex to house, it reminded me that life isn’t all roses or all thorns. No, life is full of both, and acknowledging (and even appreciating) both makes for real, beautiful living.

——————–

I’ve been working at my church for the past year. Going back to work after two years as a stay-at-home mom was a relief for many reasons – and I loved it. I loved being on “the inside” and seeing the inner workings of the church my family calls home, and more importantly, I loved the people I worked with.

What I didn’t love quite as much were the actual tasks I did on a daily basis. Not all of them. But some of them, I could’ve done without – and a few I flat-out dreaded. For a long while, though, that didn’t matter. I was working with people I adored for a mission I believed in wholeheartedly. When I stayed focused on those things, my actual job description simply wasn’t that important.

Then another opportunity came my way. And while it looked identical to my job at the church in the people-I-adore and mission-I-believe-in departments, it brought with it work-from-home flexibility and [my favorite part] work that fit into my skill set and gifts. I’ll spare you my lengthy and angsty mental debate. Long story short, I changed jobs a few weeks ago.

Despite knowing that I was making the right move, my last days at the church were full of tears. This is silly! I told myself, over and over. After all, I wasn’t leaving the church. I’d still be highly involved, leading a small group with my husband and serving in Kids City every Sunday morning. And just because I didn’t work with the amazing people on staff didn’t mean we would stop being friends.

But I knew, too, that things wouldn’t be the same. Relationships would change, and the new person would sit at my desk now and probably rearrange my pens and paper clips a different way.

I would miss my job. A lot.

——————–

One of the things I miss most about working at my church is our weekly staff meetings. What made those two hours on Wednesday mornings so special for me was partly just seeing everyone on our staff gathered in one place, laughing and sharing and updating each other on their ministry areas. But what I miss most, what energized and inspired me and held me over for the following week was sharing our wins and challenges.

No matter what else was on the agenda for the week, our pastor started each meeting by asking each of us where we were winning and what challenges we were facing. Our answers could be personal or professional (although in ministry, the line between the two is often blurred), and we could share as much or as little as we wanted. Most weeks, everyone shared something. And often, we stopped in the middle of the conversation to pray for each other.

Knowing my friends’ and colleagues’ wins and challenges meant I knew about them, and likewise, telling them about the victories and struggles in my own life let them get to know me. Those minutes spent whispering and shouting, laughing and crying, clapping loudly and sitting quietly opened doors and let us into each other’s hearts.

Hearing about the roses and thorns in my friends’ day-to-day lives gave me a fuller picture than if we’d only celebrated the highs or lamented the lows.

Sometimes it’s hard to share our struggles; none of us wants to be seen as weak or needy. Likewise, it can be difficult to say our wins out loud, too, for fear we seem prideful or even shallow, depending on what we choose to be grateful for. But sharing those things, the ones that lodge in our throats and live in the center of our hearts? THAT is how we truly build trust and relationships and community. No life is all roses or all thorns, but we’ve all got at least a little bit of both. And knowing about both means I see the real, whole you, living your real, whole life.

Today I thought we could share a little bit of ourselves here in this safe place where we all long to know and be known. I’ll start with my roses and thorns, then will you share yours in the comments?

Roses: My daughter is excited about kindergarten, swim lessons and her new devotional book. A blog post I wrote recently got a lot (for me) comments. And I’ve finally dug my house out from under the clutter and chaos that had been ruling the roost for the past three months.

Thorns: I’m trying to lose weight and It. Is. Hard. I’m nervous about balancing my time and priorities now that I’m working from home. And I’ve gotten out of the habit of a morning quiet time, and it’s wearing on me to go without quality time in the Word.

Your turn! What do the roses and thorns in your life look like?
Where are you winning? Where are you struggling?

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  • Pingback: Why We Need Both Roses & Thorns — Giving Up on Perfect()

  • Meg

    Roses for me today: I’m moving to a pretty house that has more space for our family and a wonderful yard. Friends and family are helping.

    Thorns: I’m moving to a new house that needs to be cleaned, prepped. My back aches, my allergies are acting up from the dust. I don’t have THAT many people helping…

    One step at a time. All is good with God.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Yes, all IS good with Him! Praise God for a new house and yard…and prayers for allergy relief. (Good grief, I understand that. Spring is so pretty…if only I could see it through all my sneezing!)

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan@ Walking Well With God

    Roses: Finally realizing my lifelong dream of writing and sharing the words God whispers in my ear :)

    Thorns: Battling my weight and developing better self-control in eating. Purging my house of clutter that has built up over so many years.

    Thankful, that through Christ’s blood, God sees only the roses :) God is good!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      God IS good, Bev! How exciting that you’re stepping out in faith to follow your dream of writing!! Prayers for getting rid of all kinds of excess…for you and me both. :)

  • http://thenester.com The Nester

    this is fantastic.

    when my girlfriends and I get together we call it “good bad and ugly” and we all go around and share. and that’s pretty much the entire purpose of our getting together.

    roses: my sister is coming in town this weekend, we get to go on a family (just the 5 of us) vacation soon and we haven’t done that in SUCH a long time. our boys are in a season of really getting along, being creative together and that is SO much fun

    thorns: my house is a disorganized disaster with dog hair sprinkled on top. I HATE dog hair. we are excited about something in our future and are waiting for the next step and NOTHING, neither my husband nor I have any clear or unclear idea of what that will be, and we really felt like by this time this year we would.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Ohhh, the waiting game. I hate that one. Almost as much as I hate cat hair. So what I’m saying here is I get your thorns. :) So thankful to hear your roses, too, though – yay for family time and pleasant family time at that!

  • Amy

    roses – Spring has finally sprung in Michigan. I’ve actually exercised like I said I would for 2 days in a row and I am excited about the possibilities of summer right around the corner.

    Thorns- I have more work on my desk than I can do and lots more at home. God is urging me to be a better friend but I am too focused on the things that have to be done.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Woohoo!! Way to go on the exercise!! I feel like I almost always have more “to-dos” than I could possibly accomplish, and God often has to remind me that what needs to get done (according to His plans, not mine) will get done. Praying that same peace for you…

  • http://navystitching.blogspot.com Danica

    Roses: We have moved in to our new house and it’s mostly unpacked. We are expecting a new bundle of joy at the end of the month and just celebrated our 7th anniversary.

    Thorns: Dealing with the pain that has come with being 9 months pregnant as well as my husband being away with work for a couple more weeks. Trying to finish getting our home put together before he gets home.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Danica!! Congratulations on a new house and a new baby!!! How exciting! Praying that you and your baby remain safe and healthy as you near the end of your pregnancy, and that you find comfort and peace of mind even while your husband is away with work…

  • Barb

    Roses: Friends and family that support and love me. A church that is alive with God’s love. Blessings beyond counting. A missions trip to Ukraine.

    Thorns: Chronic health issues that I can’t seem to get ahead of. Discouragement that comes with that.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Barb, I love the way you have too many blessings to count despite chronic health problems. Praying for relief and healing soon…and peace in the meantime…

  • Brianna M.

    Roses: Two very entertaining cats that keep our house filled with laughter. My sister and her boyfriend are staying this weekend and we will get some time to reconnect. I have the summer to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.

    Thorns: Our finances are very tight and I wrestle every day with trusting God that He will in fact provide. My sister is coming and I worry about what she will think of my apartment, of me. The balance of productivity and relaxation- how much is enough or too little?

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Oh, have a wonderful time with your sister! I bet all she will think about is how happy she is to connect with you!

  • http://aheavenlyjourney.net Melissa

    Roses: I’m getting back into shape. I have a great new haircut, which how happy it makes me could be perceived as shallow, but I believe in celebrating the beauty God gave us. My husband and I are choosing to let the hard things make us stronger instead of driving us apart. And my children? Oh my children. They are the biggest rose of all. They are so precious. I love them so much. I am so grateful to God for them every day – yes, even on the difficult days, I pause, take a deep breath, and whisper “Thank you for these gifts, Lord” and then plow ahead through the challenges.

    Thorns: My husband has been dealing with chronic pain for weeks. It has really affected our day-to-day lives. I miss the man he is when he’s not in pain. He misses it too. We are doing our best to not take our frustrations out on each other but it’s hard. I’m also lonely. My best friend since I was ten years old decided over a year ago she didn’t want to speak to anyone any more, and nobody else has filled that void in my life. I’m longing for a soul sister.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      What a beautiful bouquet of roses you have, Melissa!! Praying, too, for your husband’s healing and your strength and reconciliation with your friend.

  • http://abigail613.wordpress.com Abigail Snyder

    Roses: The beautiful, warm, sunny weather outside. My bicycle. My motorcycle. Falling back into a routine of commuting by bicycle, getting home late, showering, eating, and reading my Bible before bed.

    Thorns: Working out. I’m just not doing it. I leave for work early in the morning and leave late at night and its just not leaving me time or energy to exercise like I know I should. Relationships. Again, I’m just not doing it. Work has drained my energy and time. When I do have time to hang out with people, I’m exhausted and grumpy from work. Saving money. I work and work and work and have nothing to show for it except stuff that I think I need… it seems like I spent almost as much as I earn, and that was NOT the point of getting a second job.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      The warm weather does wonders for my outlook – yay for spring!! I love that your rose of riding your bike meets the need for exercise in your thorns, but I pray for more balance to your life like you’re longing for!

  • Amanda McKenzie

    Roses: I’m planning my wedding :) It’s an extremely exciting time! Also, Spring is finally here; which is so wonderful.

    Thorns: I’m planning my wedding haha. While it is a very exciting time, it can also be very stressful time (especially for someone who is slightly OCD haha!). But I’m trying to see past the stress and enjoy this season because I know it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Congratulations, Amanda!! Praying you enjoy this time planning your wedding ceremony and preparing for a lifetime with your soon-to-be husband!

  • http://fridaynightgirl.wordpress.com fridaynightgirl

    Roses: I am 15 weeks into a healthy 3rd pregnancy (we’re hoping for a boy). Both of our two girls are growing and happy and healthy; and my sweet husband is such a blessing to me. Our marriage is filled with laughter.

    Thorns: This week, I’ve been sicker with a stomach bug than I’ve been YEARS. While I’ve been so sick, my sweet husband has picked up girls from school, fed them and handled up on evenings so I could rest. Now that I’m beginning to return to the land of the living, I realize how much didn’t get done while I was out of commission. This morning, I looked around my house with dishes overflowing from the sink; toys and shoes and laundry seemingly on every surface of the house and a floor (what parts you can see) that I know hasn’t been swept since the last time I did it. It was enough to make me want to crawl back in bed. But I got up and dragged myself through morning drop offs and stumbled into the office and I’m trying to make a day of it; even though I still feel so bad. I don’t get sick very often (and now I am doubly thankful for it!).

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Oh yuck. Being sick is bad enough, but to feel that bad when you’re pregnant?! Well, praise God for your otherwise healthy pregnancy and husband who could help while you were out of commission! Praying for recovering, both physically and with your home!

  • Penny

    This was a wonderful idea….

    Roses: I have four amazing kids as well as my Husband to be very grateful for.Our home and dream garden.I have almost completed my course on Children’s Literature.

    Thorns:Waiting months for my youngest son’s specialist appointment and trying not to get too stressed out about it .Keeping focused as new thorns get thrown into daily life.

    Penny

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Boy, that is the truth, isn’t it? New thorns pop up all the time! Thank God for the roses – they give perspective, don’t they? Congratulations on nearing the completion of your course, and praying for answers and direction and peace of mind from your son’s upcoming appointment.

  • Linda Williams

    Roses: My daughter will be going on chemo maintenance for 6 months (every 3 weeks) after doing weekly chemo the past 12 months!

    Thorns: She is moving back from a residential school for the visually impaired & must begin life as an adult…finding “competitive employment” or going to college. If she doesn’t, she’ll be disqualified from programs that assist us financially/medically. We are praying for guidance, providence & a plan.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Wow, Linda! What a miracle, that your daughter is through the weekly chemo and (presumably, based on the progress you mentioned) doing well!! I can’t begin to understand the challenges that face you now, but I pray God will guide you and strengthen you as you face each one.

  • Jan

    Roses: As my husband and I settle in to our 60s, we love each other more than ever. He is my best friend! He is my biggest encourager. And the Psalms are my best connection to the Lord.
    Thorns: I still battle with depression since my two adult children stopped talking to me and cut us out of their lives five years ago. If I could only understand why…but I don’t. My oldest granddaughter had her 10th birthday last week, so I’ve missed half of her life. Not seeing my four grandchildren is the worst part. I also have daily chronic pain. Working on that with the neurologist. I want to be real but I usually hide all this from everyone but my sister. I thank God for her. Right now I don’t have a close friend to be real with. I struggle with this sounding too negative.

    • Bethany

      Jan,
      Something about your post spoke to me. I am so sorry for your pain and so sorry about your grandbabies. I am lifting you up and praying.

      • Jan

        Thank you so much. You made my day!

    • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

      I am so sorry that your two adult children have cut you off. You are definitely not sounding too negative- that is a tremendous burden to bear. Thank you for being brave enough to share that here – do not be afraid to share it with others, for I think you just might find more comraderie in that situation than you realize….

      The more you can be vocal about that and get support of others, the less power it will have in your life and your emotions. God will use others to bind those wounds.

      • Jan

        God bless you, Beth. It feels so wonderful getting encouragement, when what I usually expect is judgment. Thank you!

        • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

          Jan – you are so welcome! I was struck by what you wrote – “I want to be real but I usually hide all this from everyone but my sister.” My mission in life is to see/help women get REAL! Being real brings healing, guaranteed. If you ever could use a long distance friend and someone to vent to, feel free to email me at bcoulton(at)msn(dot)com. I’d be happy to listen!

          • Jan

            Thank you! I will probably email you! God bless you.
            Jan

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Oh, Jan. My heart hurts for you. I’m going to pray for you…

      Dear God, I know the joy grandparents receive from loving their grandbabies and being part of their lives, and it breaks my heart to hear that Jan isn’t able to experience that right now. Lord, I pray that you would heal the rift in her family, that you would soften her children’s hearts and open up lines of communication. God, I pray for healing and forgiveness and a reunion of hearts and lives. I thank you for the work that you are still doing, even when things are so dark and painful. We love you, Lord, and we are thankful for your presence in our lives. Amen.

    • Tami

      Jan,
      I know all to well unfortunately what you are going through. My youngest son and daughter-in-law have not been speaking to the family in over a year. My granddaughter is almost 3, so I too have missed half her life, and they just had another girl last week. I have no idea whether I will ever get to meet her. I too don’t understand why…but everyday I just give it over to God, I trust the Lord that some day in his time I will see them again. I have to believe this, otherwise I would go insane. I too battle with depression off and on. I will lift you up in my prayers.

  • Laura S

    I loved this post.

    roses: a curious 3 nearly 4 year old that I can bake, garden and do science experiments with. a growing and vibrant church community. needing to buy the next size down in jeans. the routine of life and managing myself.

    thorns: the loooooong days- I have the summer variant of seasonal affective disorder and its really tough some days, because bright sunny days for me mean increased anxiety, irritability, compulsivness and a general crazy inside my head; it can be hard when people go on about how lovely it is, when really, I’d rather it be nighttime already. Managing my own temper and mental flow during early summer is a major battle. reading my Bible, it’s been a start/stop activity for awhile- I just want to be more consistent. Modelling Jesus to my boys. Bringing God into my everyday without become a bible-beater. teething, the little one is 14 months old and molars are really unfun at this point, sleep would be awesome.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary Carver

      Well, thank you Lord for smaller jeans, eh?! That’s awesome!! But yes, as we roll into summer, I pray you find peace and strength in longer, brighter days. I pray for rest indoors and in the evenings to replenish your soul and your mind.

  • Danyalle

    I struggle with sharing either. Thanks for the post!
    My roses are my 5 blessings from the LORD, that I get to homeschool them, and my best friend who I have been married to for almost 20 years. As well as the precious friends God has given me.

    My thorns,Pre menopause symptoms. uggg. and I am trying to walk out of a really dark time of struggling with the “church” world due to a major blow up last year.
    Praise the LORD! He is healing me, and I know He is never done with me.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Yes, thank God He’s never “done” with us!! What a lot of blessings and roses – that’s wonderful! Praying, though, for continued healing in your body and your heart…

  • http://hamershappenings.blogspot.com Lisa

    Roses and thorns, bitter and sweet. We can’t understand the sweet without going through the trials of the bitter. Lovely post and such an awesome reminder.

  • Vikki

    Roses: Eating healthier than ever and finding the workout routines and exercise God’s way for me, finally learning that balance. Found that inner peace and healing through my divorce which is just about wrapped up – Praise God! I’ve come to know God as my husband, my ultimate source of provision – Jehovah Jireh as well as Abba Father. It is amazing how He reveals the different aspects of His character and the growth I’ve experienced in our relationship. How He is taking me from a Pharisee to a true Disciple, I’m thankful for His grace, mercy, patience and love. My beautiful daughter, Chloe, 8 yrs old and her desire to help her mom. I see Heaven when I look at her and I’m reminded of just how blessed I am to be entrusted with her care. The ability to be self-employed and the business God Himself has given me, I’m grateful for each and every customer He brings my way and the joy I have in the job I do. I’m a hairdresser and I know that what I do is so much more than just making women pretty, I get to touch them on a spiritual level and share their lives with them – community – and they touch me on a spiritual level in ways I can’t always comprehend. I see God everywhere and in everything and I am most thankful for His continued presence.

    Thorns: Now that all being said, it is so scary at times to rely solely on the Lord and continue to walk in faith believing Him at His Word and trusting Him to continue to provide. I’d be lying if I said all of the above was easy all the time. I think my thorns are entwined with my roses, the same things I’m most grateful for are the very things that are difficult at times. But here’s what I know and am learning daily, God is right here beside me and He doesn’t expect me to have it all figured out and perfect, but to be beautifully broken so He can shine through me. His grace is sufficient and when I am weak, then He is strong. He is working all things out for my good according to His purpose for me and I surrender it all to Him, for He knows the plans He has for me and they are good!

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Amen! Yes, the roses and thorns are often entwined. Praying for increased faith as God continues to provide and comfort and lead you!

  • Susan

    Great article…thanks for sharing. This is the first time I’ve commented on any of the articles I’ve read on (In)Courage, so you must have touched something in me.

    Roses: I’m learning to understand myself better through therapy, and through reading blogs such as yours. At the beginning of the year, I resolved to practice self-compassion because I have always been my harshest inner critic. Self-compassion is becoming stronger and winning most of the time, as the Lord continues to remind me how much I am loved.

    Thorns: Our household is experiencing some health issues right now. My husband has been experiencing extreme pain with what may be a pinched nerve in his back (or we think maybe his bad disk may be getting worse since his MRI a year ago.) The doc will see him again on Friday since he had a MRI done last night (Tues.) All of his sick and vacation time will be used up at the end of this week. He is the primary source of income in our house, and we are unsure when, or if, he will be able to return to work. Of course, the most important thing is for him to recover. This is very difficult for him physically, mentally and emotionally. And, it is difficult for me to see him in such pain. We know that the Lord has His hand on him though.

    • Stephani

      Kudos, on finding more self compassion! We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves all the time!

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      I echo Stephani in three cheers for self compassion! I need more of that, myself. Prayers, though, for your husband – praying for his relief, healing and recovery, praying for your peace and strength and grace, praying for God’s provision for your family.

  • http://lovegivenaway.blogspot.com Jamie DeLaCruz

    Roses: Meeting my friend Sharon at Starbucks at 7:30 this morning, sitting out in the sunshine after a long. long, long winter, and sharing some time together before work.

    Thorns: Dust, Dust and more Dust in my house. Does it ever go away?

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Oh, Jamie, you made me laugh! No, I don’t believe dust DOES ever go away. Then again, I hate to clean and don’t do it often, so I might be a contributing factor to that particular situation in my own house! ;)

  • Melinda

    Roses: I am blessed! I have a job and a husband who loves me! I am taking some cake decorating classes that are a lot of fun!

    Thorns: Life is really hard trying to balance work and run the house while my husband works 6 days a week to make ends meet. When he is home he is simply wore out. I know this is just a season, but I am hoping it is a quick one. :)

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Oh yes, praying this season of extra work is short and the season of love and fun is enduring. :)

  • Suzanne

    Roses: I am truly blessed by daily quiet time with Jesus, God is faithfully providing all of our needs and I have begun serving as a women’s ministry leader at our church.

    Thorns: I too need to lose weight, 50 lbs. to be precise. I’m struggling with staying on track with exercise and making good shopping choices, this is truly “work” for me. And I also MUST deal with “clutter and chaos that had been ruling the roost for the past three YEARS”. Please say a prayer for me :)

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Suzanne, I pray for the elimination of excess both in weight and clutter – for both of us! (And yay for those roses!!)

      • Suzanne

        Amen, and thank you … prayers for you too!

  • Steph

    Roses: At the first of the year, I secured a full time, m-f job, after spending months stressing about not getting enough hours and working multiple jobs to make up the difference. As a result, I’m not really tied down to too much (other than my family), so the possibilities for greater things are there! Also, working on developing a few crafty interests with the extra time I have on my hands. Excited about what could be, if I just stay motivated.

    Thorns: In the process, of changing jobs and going through an emotionally draining and difficult time, the man I love chose to end our relationship. Months later I still haven’t grasped exactly what went wrong, only that regardless of all the great and honest things shared, he’s choosing to let me go, rather than let us work through life’s ups and downs together. Trying to find peace with all that has happened and the strength to move forward with Joy has been very hard to do, especially with so much changing in my life at once. I miss him everyday. I miss the job I loved and the beautiful people I encountered everyday at it, as well. And although, this new place is good, and the opportunities in front of me are far and great, I can’t seem to pinpoint what the Lord would have me focus on. In need of a little direction & some heart mending! Trying to appreciate everyday the wonderful things and the time I’ve been given, even when things feel a-rye.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Oh, Steph, change is hard – even when it’s good and especially when it’s not our choice or preference. Praying for that direction you’re seeking and either reconciliation with your friend or healing of your broken heart. Or maybe both. I guess I’ll pray for God’s will and comfort, no matter what :)

  • http://www.bethcoulton.com Beth

    My most blooming rose- I have lost 20 lbs over the past year and for one of the first times in my life, I feel”ready” for spring and summer and like I do not need or want to hide in my big baggy winter clothes anymore. This is a huge God-thing in my life, as I’m 51 and have been battling weight issues ever since being a child. God finally showed me I needed to change my mind, which changed my choices, which resulted in me losing weight. It was a simple cause and effect equation, and he healed me from eating emotionally. I still have a bit to go but I’m on my way. Another rose- a husband who has made, with God’s help, amazing changes over the past year and a half and we now have a happier, healthier home! He has worked very diligently to make this come about – Praise God!

    Thorns- a 25 year old son who has moved away to a city and is deliriously happy there, and we are happy for him, but since he moved he has stopped going to church. This aches my husband’s and my heart. Another son who is a freshman that, given his druthers, would probably choose not to attend church either, but goes so as not to rock the family boat (bless his heart). These things weigh heavy as we wish our boys were more spiritually minded and walking closer with God – they are believers, but currently “nomads” (as opposed to prodigals) and somewhat wandering. We would appreciate your prayers for them. (There’s an extra rose in here – an in-the-middle daughter who loves the Lord and loves our church!)

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Yay!! As an emotional eater who’s struggled her entire life, please hear me clapping and cheering for you from here!! What a huge blessing and accomplishment! I pray for your sons’ return to their first Love, a renewing of their spirits and their minds, and a dedication to follow Jesus in a life- and world-changing way.

  • Sheila

    This is a beautiful reminder, to keep our hands open for ALL that He gives–the roses and the thorns.

    My Roses: Lilacs filling the air inside and out! Morning hugs from teenagers. Health, and the strength to stay away from sugar. The best job in the world-helping mothers birth their babies.

    My thorns: Allergies and headaches due to the beautiful lilacs & everything blooming! Fighting the temptation to see my child’s grades, as a reflection of my “performance” as a mom. Not “feeling” like I’m measuring up to all of life’s demands, but “knowing” I am enough.. but still wanting to “feel” it.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Sheila, I love that – morning hugs from teenagers. That might be one of my favorite “roses” shared today! I feel you about the allergies, so I pray that God would keep us mindful of His beauty despite the physical pain…and that He would relieve that pain asap! :)

  • maria

    Great post – I will have to use this during our family meetings! Or for any future bible study groups/prayer groups!!

    Roses for me are being aware of the fact that I need to enjoy my kids now while I have them living with me! Knowing God is sovereign and loves me is a gift that gets me thru each day!

    Thorns are that I am struggling with health issues that I don’t know where they are stemming from. Please a little prayer! And a current difficult work load in the home that is really weighing on me right now is another, but I am grateful for His grace and strength in these things. He uses all these for good, right!?

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Yes, absolutely – He DOES use all things for good! Praying that you would find relief and healing, as well as answers and direction, from your health issues today…

  • Sandra

    My first time to comment on a post…

    Roses….finding (in)courage yesterday….it was such a God given blessing. There are women out there who truly care about other women.
    My wonderful husband standing and sitting with me last night for a couple of hours as I revealed my unhappiness and loneliness with my work (volunteer) situation. I feel so much clearer and freer this morning…this has been building up for a while but now I see God’s hand in the whole situation.

    Thorns…..working in what currently feels like a really unhealthy place emotionally and spiritually…but knowing God is at work in me and others makes it bearable.

    Thorns…not having other women who can share my Roses and Thorns.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Sandra, I’m so thankful you found incourage and also for your husband’s support. What a relief to let go of that burden and know he will share it with you! I thank God that He is working in your life and ask that He protect you from the ugliness of your workplace and help you be a light in the darkness. Praying, too, that He places women in your path who can share their lives with you and build relationships that honor Him and bless you.

  • http://sheribennett.blogspot.com sheri

    Oh, I’ve lived and loved living among the roses AND the thorns for many years now. It took me awhile to truly appreciate the thorns though…

    My most beautiful, elegant rose is my 16 mth old granddaughter. She is the light of my life. Other heartswelling spots of beauty are the ministries within the church and the joy I find in serving the beautifully broken women of HOPE and the beautiful women of the streets from NIGHTLIGHT and the wise & wonderful fellowship with WoW (Women of Worth), and it almost goes without saying, my wonderful all grown-up kids who seem to find unique ways to love me in spite of our imperfections.

    And my blessed thorns: MS/autoimmune disease–something I don’t share openly nearly as much as it actually affects me day to day with the spasms and bone-drilling nerve pain. But when the illness puts me flat on my back or the pain seems unbearable, I realize just how much I need Jesus AND community. That’s a big thing for this chronic “I’ll-do-it-myself-er.” The thorn that tears my heart the most though is watching my beautiful women fall and being unable to catch them, but in the bramble of thorns, I learn to trust that Jesus WILL catch them if they let Him. He has given me the honor of standing in the gap through prayer.

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Sheri. God is using you, despite your pain – maybe because of your pain! He might be using you in a different way than you expected or hoped for, but He is. I pray for relief and healing for you, friend, but also that He would use you to minister to your friends in just the way that they – and you – need.

  • Diana

    Roses: have plans to catch up with an important girlfriend in my life, inspired by (in)RL! Feeling very close and connected to my boyfriend of nearly two years – first long-term relationship – he’s my best friend and a huge support to me. Started a weekly yoga class a couple weeks ago to ensure I’m getting at least some exercise each week. Eating well and not getting sick the last two bouts of cold/flu that I’ve encountered, so my immune system is doing extraordinarily well for me!

    Thorns: feeling like I’m getting further behind with work each day instead of catching up or even just keeping on top of things. I’m not fitting it all in at work and don’t have much time or energy to put in much extra at home most days. So instead of feeling like “I’ve worked hard – I’m getting closer!” at night, I usually feel like “I’m going to have to do more, it’s really starting to pile up and soon it’s going to be insurmountable.” This is one small part of why I’ve been doing a lot of praying about my job as a teacher already this year and whether God has something, like you, in mind for me that’s better aligned with my skill set.

    And I really want to carve out the time to be more intentional with pre-engagement conversation with my boyfriend. Like, now…I’m starting to get really frustrated that it keeps getting put off. But with the work pressure, I feel very defeatist like there’s no way to fit it in. So the weeks/months just keep ticking by!

    • http://www.givinguponperfect.com Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect

      Yay!! So glad to hear that inRL inspired you to connect with a friend!! Praying for God’s direction and peace as you juggle responsibilities and move forward with your boyfriend.

  • Adina

    Roses: My beautiful daughter, my baby, is graduating from highschool later this month! Despite faltering finances the Lord has provided a prom dress for this weekend and several other special items that will allow her to feel she is not deprived. I have a first grandbaby due in 9 weeks and the first shower was Saturday. This baby will be an absolute fashion diva!!

    Thorns: I’m trying desperately to forget yet another lost love. I’ve been single for almost 7 yrs now. I know the Lord has someone for me, but it grows more and more difficult to open up my heart to another, even when the Lord tells me clearly to do so. I’m having dificulty understanding why He would have me do so, when I’m going to be hurt again. I don’t believe in divorce, but was forced to protect my family from my husband of 17 yrs, their father, who is now serving a 40 yr sentence. I’m growing very weary . . .

    Sadly, I find myself having to sit and think, think quite hard in fact, to remember the roses. I know that’s pitiful, especially when I know how fantastic they really are.

  • http://journeyofafaithfulfollower@wordpress.com Danielle

    Roses: my children and husband. My main rose is God. Being in his Word and reading and learning from scripture is a rose. I have many roses which make a wonderful bouquet.

    Thorns: My struggle is having chronic pain and dealing with that on a daily basis. Internally I am struggling with who I am in the eyes of God. I am also struggling internally with my religious denomination. Do I want to be defined by a denomination? I am also struggling with the idea that I am being taken advantage of and that my spiritual gifts and talents may be appreciated elsewhere.

    As you can see I am struggling. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • http://monicamurphy@blog.com Monica

    Roses – God is faithful everyday to continue to transform me into His likeness. I am healing from pain of my distant and recent past. Everyday I have multiple blessings to wake up to including family, friends, an amazing church, God’s beautiful creation all around me, a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in and so much more! A Creator who loves me for who I am. Physical health to allow me to do one of my favorite things which is dance! He is changing me from the inside out, not by changing my circumstances, but by changing me! I am right where God wants me!

    Thorns – Still grieving from pain of many losses. God has put me in a challenging position with someone I used to work with that I would rather not be in, I know He is doing it to grow me, however….growing pains are just that…painful. I feel distant, alone and left out.

  • http://christinahomemaker.blogspot.com/ christina

    roses: I haven’t felt depressed the last couple of days, I got to spend extra time with my mom this week, I’ve gotten lots of extra cuddle time from my little ones, I got new tea in the mail today.

    thorns: We have all been sick for over a week, I am severely sleep deprived, the laundry and dishes are piling up, and I am not doing so well at my resolve to lay off of coffee.

  • Elaine

    Roses: I finished my first cd project of original songs and this past month completed a cd release at a jazz club with loved ones present. it was a life dream; i enjoyed working on it; and it encourages me to this day and others like it too! – I also feel like God wants to love me right now and give me rest from all the work.

    Thorns: I feel extremely needy and desire to enjoy rest and need God’s help; its fiscal year end at work – a busy time of year – ; I ask for help to stay in God’s rhythm for this season and to receive well and rejuvinate from all that i’ve put out and just for the daily part he is calling me to carry- i need help doing it; i want to be and stay balanced and walk in joy!!!

  • http://cindyinpa.blogspot.com/ Cindy in PA

    Roses: When I feel negative, sad, or angry, I am repeating Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” God’s truth turns my thoughts and feelings around. Amen.

    Thorns: My daughter is thinking about moving out of state with her daughter and husband, and in my mind this would be a mistake. (See above to how I put God’s truth into my soul. And pray that I continue to keep my mouth shut unless asked for advice.)

  • http://preciouspagesbypaula.blogspot.com/ Paula McLane Jennings

    Roses: I am out of the hospital and completed the out-patient program and finally got my diagnosis – B12 deficiency. I have started to get my shots and I hope to be feeling better soon. I spent a few hours today working on the disasterous house.

    Thorns: I crashed my car on the way home from the hospital. They want $7000 to fix it. I am in so much debt that bankruptcy is the only answer. My house is a mess and my two sons, ages 20 and 14 yest me to death but do nothing to help.

  • Gwen

    Roses: my girls were both here on Sunday and others too and it was okay and all went well. Plus the roses have been blooming so pretty all over.

    Thorns. After two fun visits with Mom (95) I got a call this afternoon that she was feeling funny and her BP skyrocketed so by ambulance she has gone to a hospital in another town due to insurance changes. I miss her. My brain can’t take it in.

  • Tiffany

    Roses: my favorite season is here and it’s beach time ( I live 20mins from the beach) getting ready to move to a new apartment
    my relationship with my sister is getting better.
    Thorns: starting consistent exercise routine; realizing I’ve lived under the pressure of performance of the “good girl” and learning to receive Gods grace in a deeper way; getting distracted from God

  • Rachael

    Roses- I have a wonderful husband and two wonderful teenage boys

    Thorns – My husband sister and my brother and his wife. I have fallen out with my brother and his wife and being able to see my new niece and be part of her life. As for my husbands sister after 15yrs of having a good relationship with her in 2011 she suddenly turned against me and over the course of that year she disliked me more and more . At the end of 2011 during a time when i was depressed and upset over other things that were happening in my life I made a comment to do with my sister in law in a prayer request which she took the wrong way . I apologised to her in every way possible but she hates me and will never forgive me and has cut me out of her life and I am banned from her property. My husband felt it was to difficult for him to have a relationship with his sister with the way things are between his sister and I and so has nothing to do with her. So because of one small mistake I made my husband and I and our sons have lost my husbands sister and her husband for good. We miss them alot and wish she could let go of her grudge and forgive me so we can be a family again.

  • http://www.missindeedy.com Missy

    Mary – I think my current situation is mirroring yours in so many ways. This resonated with me.
    Roses – Feeling loved. Forgiveness. New beginnings.
    Thorns – Leaving loved ones behind. Forgiveness. Loving the hard to love.

  • Beth Williams

    Roses: Almost out of debt, hubby and I good jobs & health, good weather

    Thorns: Not doing what I thought I’d be doing in job & hating it–& disliking some people;

    What I truly want is a job, like yours, that uses my skills and abilities–with people who acknowledge me, my skills, and hard work.

    Loved the post!

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  • Marinalva Sickler

    Roses: a grandson who lives with me for 8 years, He’s precious. I have a wonderful church that helps me to cope with being a widow and all the other losses.

    Thorns: Weeds in my backyard, Car Smog. Mortgage to pay and probating on my property, Abnormal suffering for lack of good time.

    I cry for God’s help! Thanks for reminding me that roses and thorns are together.