What a Thorn Patch Teaches About Marriage

Anybody who grew up barefoot on a Kansas farm knows about stickers. A flat lying torture-in-waiting plant with seeds like tiny wooden barbs. They spread viciously, looking for tender skin to walk on them. Impossible to let fester, they took a lot of courage to pull out. I hated stickers growing up. 

Word had it that some great great ancestor brought them from the old country because of their tiny flowers. If true, he needed both his head and feet examined. 

I learned really young to wear shoes outside. It would have been foolish of me to repeat the process of pain over and over again on the soft underbelly of my feet.  

So why, I wonder do I do the same thing with sin in our marriage? 

You would think, with age and experience, I’d learn to not walk over the same sticky situations which produce the same results time and time again. 

This is one of the reasons I choose this man God chose for me, not once but daily. He puts up with me. He is the gentle sticker picker-outer. 

What a picture of the steadfast love of Christ. 

He “chose us in him before the foundation of the world…” Ephesians 1:4 (ESV)

I will never comprehend why Jesus chose me or why He offers abundant grace and forgiveness for my here-I-go-again lack of faith, anger, envy, fear or whatever else raises its ugly head into our relationship. 

Yet Jesus picked me out, separated me for eternity.  

On the day I said, “I do,” I couldn’t see all the choosing ahead waiting. In the wild overwhelming glory of being picked to spend my future as the wife of the man I loved, I couldn’t even fathom the ongoing commitment of choice.

My choosing comes at times with joy but sometimes laced with grit, conviction and determination. It compels me to do what is right when I don’t feel like it. It forces me to get rid of the sticker. 

When I walk through the thorny patch yet another time, while it is still puncturing the softest spots of my heart, those are the moments Jesus reminds me of His choosing. It is this absolute undeserved chosen-truth which draws me again and again to humble recognition of where I stand in Christ. 

My gentle sticker-picker-outer reminds me of the Chooser Who proclaims me His chosen. I choose with thanksgiving. 

6 Replies

  1. Geoff Watson Reply

    Love is a choice. it is not earned or deserved. It’s the way of the fruit of the Spirit. I like the way you emphasize the personal choice day by day -through joy and through pain. It’s easy to understand- but how difficult to do.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Geoff. It is a difficult thing to choose daily but again how much more consistent I could be if I’d remember how He has first chosen me. Appreciate the comment!

  2. Emily | To Unearth Reply

    I am like you in that I am just amazed at how much of Christ’s love and forgiveness I see in my husband when he chooses to love and forgive me in my own moments of walking in the thorn patch yet again. What an awesome God we serve that He would give us beautiful and loving reminders of His character in this way!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Emily! I am relieved to hear I’m not alone in the thorn patch! And grateful for the reminder of an awesome God.

  3. Julie Lavender Reply

    I’m always in awe when I think about God choosing me, Sylvia! It’s a humbling and marvelous thought!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Julie for your comment. His choosing is something that has become more meaningful to me recently. As you said, it’s a marvelous thought!