we have been working hard to remove all of the thistles from our pasture this spring (i say we, but i should say C and S). it is an invasive weed that crowds out the grasses and clover that my sheep love. its thorns are too harsh for the tender mouths of my animals and they give it a wide girth when grazing.
but the truth is, despite its heavily armoured exterior, i actually find the flower of the thistle quite beautiful, its brilliant color dotting the field. i have also found other benefits and beauty come from this plant that is considered such a nuisance.
it provides protection to the nests of the song sparrow who serenades me every morning. the nest is nestled in the tall grasses right on the ground and without those thorns, the animals would trample it while grazing the tender grass.
another bird that loves the thistle is the gold finch. it is so fun to watch their bright yellow and black wings as they do acrobats to perch and feed on the thistle gone to seed.
it makes me think of other thistles in my life, the irritants that pop up again and again, no matter what efforts i make to eradicate them from my life, just like weeds. but could there be benefits despite the pain they cause? thorns hurt, but do they also provide something positive in my life?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
everyday gift: the thistles in my life