Now, in general, my solution to being given lemons is to make use of them. Use them in a recipe. Use them to clean something, to make the house smell nice, or if nothing else, throw them at something to blow off some steam. Lemons can be a short-term nuisance that benefits you greatly in the long-term. Sometimes, life even gives you a lime, which puts you one step closer to a margarita so who’s really winning then?
However, sometimes, life gives you proverbial lemons that have somehow formed themselves into a lemon-brick wall directly in your path. You know what I’m talking about. You were happily living a full life, pursuing your dreams, hanging out with your friends, living passionately when all of a sudden you run smack into this wall that knocks you down and turns your world topsy-turvy. A wall of lemons. Lemons that cannot be used or traded for a long time. Lemons that stick around and somehow keep squirting you in the eye every time you turn around. Huge lemon-causing tears of sadness, frustration, heartbreak, or just downright anger.
These lemons are not for the faint of heart. These lemons suck. Whether it’s a loved one dying, a caustic parent, a broken relationship, a pink slip at work, etc. These lemons have no conceivable use and yet you can’t even throw them somewhere else (or at someone else). They’re stuck. What good comes from a broken relationship? How can I possibly benefit from being laid off at work. What could I possibly gain from my loved one dying. Nothing. The answer is those situations aren’t going to bring happiness and love into your life. This isn’t some small fight with a boyfriend you can kiss and make up on. This is the long haul. This is a long twisting road of tears and bloodshed. This is a big, superglued together brick wall of lemons and it ain’t going nowhere.
So what do you do? There’s a lot of things you can do. You can ignore it and hope it goes away. You can sit in front of it and cry big lemon-hating tears. But let’s be honest. You’re still getting lemon juice squirting in your eye, so you can’t really ignore it. And when you cry, your face gets puffy and your nose runs and you’re as miserable as ever. And at the end of the day, you still have an army of lemon bricks in your path. At some point, you have to get over that wall. No matter how it hurts. More importantly, you have to look to God to truly get over the wall. In Him, you will gain the strength to climb your wall or maybe even destroy it. Your wall-conqueroring won’t come without scars, I promise. And it will take you a long time to find any good from those lemons. But you’ll be over that lemon wall, stronger from your experience, and on with your life. It doesn’t mean that the pain is suddenly gone, or that you are not allowed to grieve your loss, but you will no longer be stuck.
I can’t say that I’ve learned these things easily or quickly or always done the right thing. I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way, and God is continually teaching me, reeling me back in, and molding me. I’m not the perfect, meek, Christian woman. The good news is I don’t have to be.
My chaotic, messy life can be used just as much for God’s glory than anyone else’s. God not only CAN use all types, but DELIGHTS in using various types of people, not just the predictable ones.
Relying on God doesn’t come easily to me. But I can say that those moments of just me and God, me learning to find comfort, peace, and healing in God’s presence in the midst of my world turned upside down… those are some of the sweetest memories I have. I wouldn’t wish to ever go through those storms again, but I wouldn’t trade those moments.
You won’t actually benefit from that lemon the way we think we should benefit from things. These lemons aren’t like muscle soreness that accompany building stronger muscles. The actual situation may not benefit you. You’ll probably never look back and be happy your husband cheated on you, your friends deserted you, or you lost your child in a miscarriage. That’s not to say these moments cannot place you on a path of good, that these heartbreaks cannot be followed by great joy, because they absolutely can and will be, but the pain itself is not a joy. These dark moments are not pleasant, but God is in the business of making beauty from ashes. In your darkness, as you turn to God, you’ll come to rely more on and trust Him while learning how to accept and move on from the said lemon.
Sometimes, lemons make no sense at all and I wonder why God would allow such a thing. Sometimes, lemons come as the result of other people’s actions. No matter the cause…
From your deepest pains in which you allow God to mold you instead of letting the situations make you bitter and resentful, you’ll learn compassion for others, patience (which is the most frustrating), and among many other things, you’ll learn to depend more on God instead of your circumstances and people who change with the wind.
Lemons are unavoidable in life. Walls are going to smack you right on your butt. But they aren’t the end of your road. Never give up. You have a full life ahead of you, so don’t be defeated! God won’t leave you at your wall, and he “won’t allow pain without causing something new to be born.”