Being Thankful For Our Thorns

It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories…

My cousins and siblings and I singing the Pilgrim hymn “We Gather Together” at the top of our lungs… and not just in our classrooms, where we were learning it for the annual elementary school Thanksgiving Feast, but in the car both to and from school, and in the backyard as we played together. Everywhere we went.

It had such a beautiful little melody. And the words were simple enough:

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

The gathering together part was lovely – and my little heart loved singing praises to His Name. That “He forgets not His own” was one of those truths that seemed so obvious then.

Of course God never forgets us, never forsakes us, never relaxes His hold on us. He’s GOD. God is good. And God is love.

I remember being vaguely aware that “chasten” was an old-fashioned word for discipline. I’m sure my teachers (who were also my aunts) and my parents would have explained to us that sometimes out of love for us, God disciplines us for our good. (That’s the kind of thing they taught us, even back then.)

But my seven year-old self could not have really understood the kind of pain and suffering implied in the discipline that is “chastening.” The hardship, the heartache.Being Thankful for Our Thorns

I do now. So did the first Pilgrims. Thinking of the persecution they suffered – and what they suffered to escape it – seems especially poignant this year, when so many of our brothers and sisters around the world are suffering persecution for their faith.

God allows the hard things to teach us, to strengthen us, to purify us, to refine us.

To make us into the image of His Son.

We learn so much about Him and about ourselves through the process. Both when our

SARASOTA_Christin Ditchfield_NOV14_FBa

Date: November 29, 2014
Time: 06:00-08:00 p.m.
Event: Sarasota LifeWay Christian Store Meet & Greet
Venue: Sarasota Lifeway Christian Store
Location: Sarasota, FL
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

Recapture the Wonder with a Thankful Heart ~ Includes Free Printable

Recapture the Wonder with a Thankful Heart Free Printable

Because I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death – because I have suffered loss and grief and pain — I don’t ever forget how trite the words can sound. But I can’t let that keep me from speaking the Truth. Because even though I haven’t always been in a place where […]

A Thankful Heart ~ Free Printables

A Thankful Heart Free Printables

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies… but the thankful heart… will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” ~ Henry Ward Beecher It’s been a hard year. I don’t think there’s any way around that. There have been so many horrific things happening in the world around us. So many crises and epidemics. Tragedy. Abuse. […]

Leaving It In His Hands

Leaving It In His Hands

“Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:36 AMP Sometimes we have to be willing to let the dream die. The hope, the expectation. The long-cherished, carefully thought out, best laid, much prayed-over plan. We have […]

What’s Choking the ‘Life’ Out of You?


What’s keeping you from being effective? Productive? Fruitful? Healthy and mature in your relationship with Christ? All this month, we’re talking about harvest… looking at the Scriptures that speak to this theme. In the four Gospels, Jesus told the Parable of the Sower. The seed – which was the life-changing, life-giving Word of God – […]

Harvest: Does He Have a Job For You!

Harvest Does He have a job for you

It’s still high summer here in the Sunshine State. Weather forecasters are calling for temperatures in the low 90s all week. For the past week or so, I’ve been watching my Facebook newsfeed start to fill with pictures of pumpkin patches and fall festivals and friends celebrating the return of “sweater weather” – which arrives […]

One Battle At A Time

One Battle at a Time

I can be an all-or-nothing kind of girl – a bit of a perfectionist.  In my heart of hearts, I’d like everything in my life to always be perfectly well-ordered, organized, disciplined, beautiful … and at the same time full of joyous spontaneity, creativity, and freedom. You don’t have to raise your hand if you […]

Are You Headed Up the Wrong Mountain?

girl standing at the edge of rock

When I look back over the last twenty or twenty-five years of my life, I see myself fighting a lot of the same battles over and over again. That can be pretty discouraging. Where’s the victory in Jesus? I mean, I’ve definitely experienced it sometimes. In some areas. And in other areas for some seasons, […]