The Lemons of Life.

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.”

 

 

From Easy to Intentional.

“In order to do what he wanted and what I had no problem doing, he had to move over.In other words, he had to make room for me.”

I read these words at 2am this morning, and they hit me right in the face. To be honest, I’ve been struggling lately and reading this was a point-blank reminder that I couldn’t ignore. My relationship with God hasn’t been what it used to be and I’ve been struggling to try to find a way to get it back. This past year has been difficult for me. It’s been both exhilarating as I started by dream job and also devastating as I’ve lost people close to me. It’s also been exhausting. Buying a new house, starting a new job, house projects, volunteering, and now coaching volleyball. There are days I feel like I’m just throwing each task in the air, hoping I’ll be back in time to catch it. Sometimes, my grass doesn’t get mowed when I want it to, and I feel like “that neighbor.” Someone even mowed my jungle for me the other day… And my first thought was pure relief that I wouldn’t have to choose between sleep or mowing my grass that day. Throw in some issues in my personal life, and I’m living a ball of chaos. Most days, I manage the chaos well. However, as I’ve felt my relationship with God dim, I’ve also felt the chaos become heavier and heavier.

“When we are in His presence, we can experience joy that safety and security in Him brings. His presence helps us experience His peace, regardless of circumstances surrounding our lives. God’s presence can bring us to a place of calm, comfort, confidence and rest.” 

I spent all this time trying to get everything done and find God. All I really had to do was make some room for Him – invite Him in. You see, I want that comfort. I MISS that comfort. And in my business and chaos, I’ve tried to fill it with other things and other people. Other people are great, but when I begin to try to substitute God’s presence with them, I only end up lacking and disappointed, which not only affects my relationship with God, but also with the other person.

One big problem is that I took for granted how easy it was to go to church. At first my friend and I went, then I went with my second parents. I also had my second parents friends there that I talked to, and other friends of mine that I would see. I was always off on Sunday and I genuinely loved going to church and growing and learning,  so it was easy to go. Life wasn’t easy, but church was. Until it wasn’t and everything was different. Because it had been so easy, I stopped being intentional. 

I never made a plan for when I started in the field and would be working every other Sunday and was on night shift every other 6 weeks. I wasn’t prepared for the guilt that came at 6:45 am when I got off, knowing I hadn’t made it to church in a couple weeks, but also knowing I was exhausted and barely had the time to get enough sleep before my next shift without going to church.

I wasn’t prepared for the disconnect I felt not going to church every week. For feeling so disconnected from the world every other week and hardly knowing what day it is, only that it’s day 2 after three days off or day 2 of my three days off. Devotions were easy when I had a lunch break or morning break or even before bed to do them. Devotions were hard when lunch breaks were spent scanning the area because you’re a walking target and before bed was literally a stumble after taking gear off and washing the grime of the day away long enough to sleep and do it all over again. Yes, I just wasn’t prepared. Because I had gotten so used to easy, it hadn’t crossed my mind what I would do when everything that and everyone who made it so easy to go to church was suddenly gone and I was just left with me. When my support was gone. My fellowship. The people who made church feel like home. The people I reached out to when I needed support or help. 

My assumption had been that I would just go to church. It wasn’t that I couldn’t go to church on my own or make new friends, it was just that the fellowship I had enjoyed so much that made it so easy to go to church fell away so quickly, and I was so busy with everything else that it all just slipped by the wayside. 

“While we can desire more of God’s presence, knowing He desires the same, we have to make room for Him.” 

My main goal is to maintain consistent time with God each day. That is what I miss the most. I don’t know at what point the business consumed me and I stopped, but I cannot continue without this time. I don’t think it has to be a lot harder to have time with God, but I do have to be more intentional about it. God is everywhere. Not just in church or in my devotion book. I merely need to reach out and make room for Him whether I am in church or driving my beat at 3am.

My second goal is to find what works for God and I church-wise. I know that things happen, and there is no way that I will be able to make it to church every week, but I want to have a general plan so that I’m not going a month without a service. Perhaps, I only go every other week when I’m off, or perhaps I find a Saturday night church where I can go on nights. Maybe two church families is what will work for me. I won’t know until I try.

My third goal is to find fellowship again, whether that be at my current church or switching to a church that works for me. I need to find people to share life with, who understand my own life and I can understand theirs and together we can support each other in this journey. Another thing I didn’t account for well enough was the way that so many of my relationships would change once I joined law enforcement. The way that many people wouldn’t understand and that my new schedule and life wouldn’t fit theirs anymore. And that is okay. It’s sad, but it is okay. I also tried a life group, but my schedule made it impossible to keep that up. So, yeah, maybe my new support with mainly be law enforcement or similar professions. And that’s okay, too. We all just need fellowship and support to encourage one another and make it through this life together.

Overall, I have just reached the point where I cannot continue ignoring the place I am at with God. I miss Him too much and my life just is not whole without a good relationship with him. So these are my ramblings as I process through my thoughts and next steps. I’ve included the devotion I read at the bottom in case you too need the reminder or encouragement.

I truly believe that I will be better off for now working on an intentional walk with God. By being intentional, I will be better prepared. It’s more difficult in the short term, but my relationship will be better and stronger and so will I.

http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/how-to-make-room-for-more-of-god-in-your-life/