"Dede's Walk With God"

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts
with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name."
Psalm 100:4

Thanksgiving Blessings
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as
she pushed against a November gust and the florist
shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze.
Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a
minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this
Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She
grieved over her loss. As if that weren't enough her
husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her
sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying
she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend
infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given
path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with
others who suffer. "Had she lost a child? - No-- she has
no idea what I am feeling, " Sandra shuttered.
Thanksgiving? "Thankful for what?" she wondered. For
a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when
hr rear-ended her? For an air bag that saved her life
but took that of her child?
"Good afternoon, can I help you?" The flower shop
clerks approach startled her. "Sorry," said Jenny,
"I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you."
"I...I need an arrangement." "For Thanksgiving?"
Sandra nodded. "Do you want beautiful but ordinary,
or would you like to challenge the day with a customer
favourite I call the Thanksgiving Special?"
Jenny saw Sandra's curiosity and continued. "I'm
convinced that flowers tell stories; that each arrangement
insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for
something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?"
"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted. "Sorry, but in the last
five months, everything that could go wrong has." Sandra
regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said,
"I have the perfect arrangement for you."
The door's small bell suddenly rang. "Barbara, hi!" Jenny
said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked
toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying
a massive arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed
thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly
snipped, no flowers. "Want this in a box?" Jenny asked.
Sandra watched for Barbara's response. Was this a joke?
Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for
laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers
atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did.
"Yes, please. It's exquisite," said Barbara. "You'd think
after three years of getting the special, I'd not be so
moved by it's significance, but it's happening again. My
family will love this one. Thanks." Sandra stared.
"Why so normal a conversation about so strange an
arrangement? she wondered.
"Ah, said Sandra, pointing. "That lady that just left with
ah..." "Yes?" "Well, she has no flowers!" "Right, I
cut off the flowers." "Off?" "Off. Yep. That's the Special.
I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."
"But  why do people pay for that?" In spite of herself she
chuckled." "Do you really want to know?" "I couldn't leave
the shop without knowing. I'd think about nothing else!"
"That might be good," said Jenny. "Well," she continued,
"Barbara came in the shop three years ago feeling very
much like you feel today. She thought she had very little
to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer,
the family business was failing, her son was into drugs,
and she faced major surgery."
"Ouch! said Sandra. That same year, I lost my husband.
I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for
the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children,
no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to
allow any travel."
"What did you do?" "I learned to be thankful for thorns."
Sandra's eyebrows lifted. "Thorns?" "I'm a Christian, Sandra.
I've always thanked God for good things in life and I never
thought to ask him why things happened to me? But,
when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn
the dark times are important.
I always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life but it took thorns
to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible
says that God comforts us when we're afflicted and from His
consolation we learn to comfort others."
Sandra gasped. "A friend read that passage to me and I was
furious! I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've
lost a baby and I'm angry with God." She started too ask Jenny
to "go on" when the doors bell diverted their attention.
"Hey, Phil!" shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered
the shop. She  softly touched Sandra's arm and moved to
welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug.
"I'm here for twenty long-stemmed stems!" Phil
laughed heartily. "I figured as much," said Jenny. "I've
got them ready." She lifted the tissue wrapped arrangement
from the refrigerated cabinet. "Beautiful," said Phil.
"My wife will love them."
Sandra could not resist asking. "These are for your wife?"
Phil saw that Sandra's curiosity matched his when he first
heard of a Thorn Bouquet. "Do you mind me asking, "Why
thorns?" In fact, I'm glad you asked," he said. "Four
years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty
years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through,
problem by  rotten problem.
We rescued our marriage- our love, really. Last year
at Thanksgiving I stopped in here for flowers. I must
have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny
told me for a long time she kept a vase of rose
stems-stems!- as a reminder of what she learned
from "thorny" times.
That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife
and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny
situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us.
I'm pretty sure this stem review is becoming a tradition."
Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to
Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!" I don't know
if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra
said to Jenny. "Well, my experience says that thorns make
roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care
more during trouble than at any other time.
Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we
might know His love. Do not resent thorns." Tears rolled
down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident
she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take twelve
long stemmed thorns, please."
"I hoped you would," Jenny said. "I'll have them ready in
a minute. Then every time you see them, remember to
appreciate both good and hard times. We grow through both."
"Thank you. What do I owe you?" "Nothing. Nothing but a
pledge to work toward healing your heart. The  first year's
arrangement is always on me." Jenny handed a card to Sandra.
"I'll attach a card like this to your arrangement but maybe
you'd like to read it first. Go ahead, read it."
"My God, I have never thanked Thee  for my thorn! I have
thanked Thee a thousand time for my roses, but never once
for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear,
teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have
climbed to Thee by the path of pain. how mw that my
tears have made my rainbow. ~George Matheson~"
Jenny said, "Happy Thanksgiving Sandra," handing her the
Special. "I look forward to our knowing each other better."
Sandra smiled, She turned, opened the door...
and walked toward hope.
~Author Unknown~
"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter
what happens, always be thankful, for this is
God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18






The Masters Bouquet
by Kitty Wells
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