Ruth Chou Simons began sharing her artwork while searching for God’s grace laced throughout her everyday life. Her recently released first book, GraceLaced, is a testament to His splendor in every changing season of life. In her book, blog, and Instagram community, Ruth is a friend who gently encourages and reminds me of God’s provision for each moment…a disciple whose talents are generously poured out in faith. In Ruth’s work, I have always found a balance of majesty and modesty—a beautiful and authentic echo of our Creator. It’s a grace to welcome Ruth to the farm’s front porch today…
Some of the toughest trials the Lord has allowed in my life in the last ten years as a mother, pastor’s wife, school founder, and creative businesswoman have not been singularly traumatic events or experiences, but rather ones that have slowly chipped away, overstayed their welcome, or festered into painful wounds.
You know the kind I’m talking about:
The unresolved conflict between friends…
despite so many attempts at reconciliation.
The child whose challenges persist…
with only glimmers of progress that feel like two steps forward and one step back.
The unrelenting financial strain…
and the accumulation of bills that don’t seem to reflect the sacrifices you’ve made.
The gnawing pain of being misunderstood…
even though you know you can’t please everyone.
Some things aren’t resolved in one weekend. Some hurts don’t go away. Some prayers are not quickly answered, and some seasons don’t yield the fruit we had hoped for.
But just because God does not remove the thorn doesn’t mean He’s not using it for our good and for His glory.
“There was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NASB)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past decade, it’s this: We miss the lesson when we pick at the thorn… nurse it… bemoan it… curse it.
The enemy would have us so blinded by the pain of the thorn that we can’t see the beauty of the rose garden.
I’ve been there so many times… so consumed by the discomfort that won’t go away that I can’t experience what fragrance of grace lies just ahead.
Look past the thorn to how Christ is enough in the midst of it.
His grace is sufficient for the thorn He chooses not to remove.
Friend, would we praise Him for His sustaining strength in our lives if it were not for reaching the end of our own strength?
Would we consider Him enough if we did not find ourselves lacking?
Would we know humility if not for the discomfort of obstacles and the pain of intrusions?
Would we, as did Paul, rejoice to boast in weakness if not shown the truth of our Father’s seemingly backward paradigm of greatness—humility?
Today’s thorn stands guard over tomorrow’s rose.
Don’t be surprised when our heavenly Father chooses to allow the wounding of our pride this day.
He does so lovingly, sovereignly, and without mistake… that we might find in Christ’s sufficient grace —
in our unremoved pain—
the rose we long to behold, just beyond the thorn.
Ruth Chou Simons is the creator of the GraceLaced online shoppe, blog, and Instagram community, where she shares scriptural truths daily through her hand-painted artwork and words. She has pursued her calling based on one overwhelming desire: to reflect the majesty of the Creator. Ruth and her husband, Troy, live in New Mexico and are grateful parents to six sons—their greatest adventure.
GraceLaced is a labor of love—a collection of over 800 intentionally crafted pieces of art and 32 heartfelt messages. This devotional will lead you through seasons of rest in who He is, rehearsing the truth he says about you, responding in faith to those truths, and remembering His provision to sustain you. Who we are and who God is never changes. Let this ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS book point you to truth and bring grace for each changing.
[ Our humble thanks to Harvest House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]