3 Things to Remember When Your Ministry Feels like Thorns

I love roses!

The year I turned 18 my boyfriend (who eventually became my husband…you’ll understand why) gave me 18 roses for my birthday! I know, right!

Completely shocked and delighted, this romantic gesture, the first of its kind in my life, sealed the deal in my mind that I wanted this guy to stick around….forever!

Those roses were the best and most beautiful I’ve ever received! When they opened up to their full beauty, the fragrance that filled my bedroom was like a wonderful rose garden!

Here lately, I’ve been thinking about how ministry is a lot like a rose!


A few weeks ago, I gathered with some inspiring women in ministry (check out the pics!), and we talked about how ministry can be a lot like a delicate rose.

The beauty of the bloom reminds me of the delightful fruit of ministry- someone accepts Jesus or you see the evidence of answered prayer in someone’s life, or you experience something old being transformed into something new. These results make you feel like your ministry is bursting with color, layers of velvety softness, and petals of perfection.

The fragrance of a rose is like no other! Its intoxicating aroma is like God’s presence in your life and ministry. Once you experience His presence, you are forever changed. You want to pursue the rose of ministry to exist in that glorious fragrance. You also want your ministry to be overflowing with His presence and aroma.

But then, there are the thorns.

Yes, with the beauty and fragrance of a rose also comes the thorns. They are the painful, hurtful parts of ministry- the negative people, the people who suck you dry, never ending duties, fatigue, weariness, and on and on. In order to hold this beautiful rose of ministry- the irresistible fragrance of God’s presence and the beauty of the the work He does through us, we can’t help but hold those roses by the their stems and run the risk of getting hurt by those thorns. ouch!

Anybody know what I’m talking about??

During those times when the thorns feel awfully thick and prickly, it might help to remember a few things about your garden.

Remember your calling-

Think back to when you first felt the call or the invitation to serve in ministry. Do you remember what God spoke to you? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember all the plans and preparations?

Remember your experience with God-

Remember back to when you experienced God so intensely that you would do whatever it took to be with Him again. Was it your salvation or baptism? Was it a retreat or conference? Was it praying and worshipping in your home by yourself?

Recalling your direct experience with God and His invitation to call you into ministry are both powerful reminders of His presence in your life. Those experiences serve to anchor you in God’s power and splendor. You can look back to those experiences and remember your “why” as they fuel your desire to keep pursuing His fragrance in your life.

Remember other people in ministry-

It’s easy to believe you are the only one, but God has roses planted in all sorts of gardens. When you feel alone, reach out and support someone else in their ministry.  They may be in different circumstances or seasons, but you can know that you are not alone. There’s nothing like a little encouragement from someone who understands to give you a burst of energy to keep going.


If you are experiencing some thorns, take time to focus on your beautiful rose. God has given you this amazing gift, each with your own variety, style, and color. He is creating a magnificent garden through each of us!!

As you contemplate your roses, meditate on this verse:

“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and set thou aright the work of our hands upon us; yea, set though aright the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

Can you imagine the beauty and fragrance?


If your garden is feeling dry and in need of renewal, check out this email mini course “3 Signs You Need to ReNew Your Ministry”. It’s a Bible study sent to your email to help you examine the role of ministry in your life and relationship with God. Sign up here.

4 thoughts on “3 Things to Remember When Your Ministry Feels like Thorns”

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