When Life Gives You Lemons
When my son was a toddler, he didn’t like abrupt change. He would cry when I dropped him off at daycare and he would cry when I picked him up. He would soon get over it, but the process of change was rarely smooth.
I guess I see where he gets it… I am doing the same thing with each change through COVID-19. As my routine and my rights were being taken from me, I find myself wrestling against the transition. I go through phases: unbelief, indignation and anger, resistance, grief, acceptance, adjustment, and finally acceptance and positivity.
My trip to Scotland has been canceled
That was a tough one. We had talked about it all throughout last year and bought our tickets in January. My cousin and I, plus a friend were going to go to Scotland. My cousin and I are artists. Our friend is a writer. We looked forward to some inspired down-time where we could create in this beautiful location. It was a girl trip, yes, but also a poignant tribute to my cousin’s husband, who went to heaven in 2018. They had been to Scotland several times and she had many sweet memories there. I was honored when she invited me to come along with her on this trip… to hear her stories about her and her husband there, and to be a part of her healing process. We looked forward to hiking through Pitlochry, taking in the beautiful Scotland scenery, food, and a pub or two, and spending 4 nights on the Isle of Mull, where we would take a boat ride and I would be able to see my favorite bird, the puffin.
So many times in the past couple months, I have asked the question
Not only has Scotland been erased from my itinerary, but so have Loveland summer festivals, church gatherings, graduations, and celebrations. Where do we find ourselves where we meet in groups of ten or less, unless it’s a virtual meeting, and where we must don a mask everywhere we go? What will summer be like? For me and my family? For our neighbors? For the children?
I miss smiles
One of the wonderful things about Loveland, Colorado, is that people look you in the eye and smile.
But there’s something weird about wearing a mask. When people wear a face mask, they also avoid eye contact. Connection is lost.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. What will our habits look like when we finally remove our masks? Will we smile? Is our human nature and desire for connection powerful enough to return to smiles and looking at one another in the eye?
Intentionality is Key
I have many things I want to accomplish. You do too. This may be the first time in our lives where we’ve had disruption on such a gigantic scale. But it is not the first time this has happened in history. Generations before us have been disrupted by plagues, famines and wars.
Distress and troubles can be compared to birth pains.
“Just like a woman giving birth experiences intense labor pains in delivering her baby, yet after the child is born she quickly forgets what she went through because of the overwhelming joy of knowing that a new baby has been born into the world.”
-Jesus Christ, in John 16:21
What is being birthed in you and through you in this season? It’s a distilling process, a squeezing.
When you are between a rock and a hard place, hold onto the Rock.
If you have hit rock bottom, stand on the Rock.
“I cried out to you in my distress, the delivering God, and from your temple-throne you heard my troubled cry. My sobs came right into your heart and you turned your face to rescue me.”
“You’re as real to me as the bedrock beneath my feet,
like a castle on a cliff, by forever firm fortress,
my mountain of hiding, my pathway of escape,
my tower of rescue where none can reach me.
My secret strength and shield around me,
you are salvation’s ray of brightness shining on the hillside,
always the champion of my cause.
All I need to do is to call to you, singing to you,
the praiseworthy God. When I do, I’m safe and sound in you.”
- King David, Psalm 118
In John 16, Jesus reminded the disciples - and us - many things he taught us during his ministry on earth. Jesus warned us that we would have troubles. He promised that he would be the peace in the midst of our troubles:
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
- Jesus Christ, in John 16:33
I’m being squeezed like a lemon
When a lemon is squeezed, only lemon juice and pulp comes out. It is still tart. When I am squeezed with isolation, masks, and canceled trips, my human nature is to emit all the sour juice of my disappointment in this season.
But when my feet stand on the Rock, I am filled with trust and hope and confidence. Not in myself, but in the pure, sweet nectar of Jesus Christ. I need him every day, all day. Only he can change my mourning into dancing, my bitterness into sweetness.
It takes a lot of sugar to make lemonade out of lemons. It takes a lot of Jesus to make lemonade out of me. I am so grateful that he is always enough, he is always true, and he is always with me.
When life gives you lemons…