Time to Make Lemonade

This year has been challenging to say the least. So far, I have experienced the heartache of losing two beloved family members, the pain of a difficult ministry crisis, and the stress of an unexpected job transition. Add to that the recent financial strain of replacing our home air conditioning unit in the stifling August heat, and you have a recipe for bitterness. Life has been hurling lemons at me left and right, and I have been struggling to keep my mind focused on “things above.” Perhaps you’ve been there, too. Maybe you’ve felt like you had a target painted on your chest with a giant lemon-shooting bazooka gun aimed and ready to knock you off your feet. I realize that others have experienced more pain that I could ever begin to comprehend, and I don’t intend to minimize those circumstances. I have discovered, however, through personal experience, how easy it is to become bogged down in self-pity when you find yourself in the middle of one of life’s most disappointing moments. I’ve been in a season of life lately in which I felt like lemons were being propelled at me in rapid-fire succession. The saltiness of tears evoked by earthly struggles has made me crave the sweetness of things above. God’s work in my life has led me to believe that it is time to pick up those lemons, lift up my eyes to Him, and make some lemonade.

Sweetness flows into my life from multiple streams. The first is the truth of the Bible. As I meditate on God’s Word, I am reminded of who He is. God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and merciful, among many other things. He promises to faithfully love me and never leave me whether I’m on the highest mountaintop or in the deepest valley. I have also experienced the sweetness of fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ as they held me close during times of sorrow, lifted me up during moments of despair, and spoke life to me in periods of disappointment. I can’t help but taste sweetness as I observe the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation that surrounds me. I watch the way my Heavenly Father supplies even the smallest sparrow’s every need. He refreshes the earth with rain, and then places a rainbow in the sky to remind me that He is a promise keeper. At the end of each day He paints the sky with the magnificent colors of the sunset, and I am reminded of His awe-inspiring majesty.

Negativity abounds in the world today, and we often look around us and within ourselves for answers, rather than up to the One who holds all things together. My desire is to spend more time each day setting my mind on the “things above” as Paul instructs in Colossians 3:2.  As I write and reflect, perhaps I can also encourage others to maintain a heavenly perspective. Life is filled with bitter trials, and we are not promised a full measure of sweetness until we reach heaven one day. As long as I’m on this side of eternity and equipped with strength that only God provides, I intend to run the race set before me, gather the lemons spread out along the path, and squeeze out every bit of bitterness into a cup that’s already overflowing with sweet blessings. I don’t know of a better recipe for making lemonade.

16 thoughts on “Time to Make Lemonade

  1. This is great encouragement. I am dealing with drama and gossip at work, and one of our pastors taught a great sermon on temptation that really helped me. I saw that I was becoming a gossiping complainer too when I allowed myself to dwell there, and I began praying for my way of escape from temptation instead of for the others to behave. Well, school is about back in sesssion, and I just found out my superiors have removed the problem and replaced it with godly people. I didn’t have to do a thing but ask the Lord. I will pray for you as well, my friend. The Lord is good. You speak the truth.

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  2. Karen, you have such depth of insight and a great gift given by God to express what has been placed on your heart. Thank you for sharing these thoughts today. God knew what I and others needed today. I’m so thankful I can call you my daughter.

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  3. You have handled everything with dignity and grace! What a beautiful example and sweet spirit you have been to so many people this year throughout all these trials! Love you and your family so much, and I am blessed to have each of you in my life!

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  4. I know what you mean and am thankful for your wise and encouraging words. I have a new appreciation for lemonade and think it should be our family logo. What do you think???

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