Monday, March 27, 2017

When Life Hands You Lemons . . .

Let's just say that 75% of what was rather confidently scrawled onto this month's calendar never took place.

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I'll be honest with you.

In the waves of disappointment and frustration that flowed during recent weeks, I did more than my fair share of moaning and groaning, my husband and I {usually} patient in allowing each other to verbally wrestle through some befuddling occurrences.

Personally, this season of Lent and time of sparse online interaction has been a very good thing, opening up some substantial moments with the One who has allowed those upheavals and changes, the closed doors and unbidden surprises.




For while I'm sure that the enemy wanted to sow seeds of doubt and fear, God is in the business of turning lemons into lemonade.  So to speak {Genesis 50:20}.  For while much has been unsettling, it hasn't been a wasted experience.  He has revealed some awesome things about His character, His faithful heart, and His exquisite timing that left me smiling and whispering a quiet 'amen' from time to time.

The whole ordeal is serving as a powerful reminder that the writer of Proverbs wasn't kidding when he penned, 'many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails' {Proverbs 19:21}.

I've been reminded once again for the need to fully process our very real emotions and not to shove them into some dark spooky crevice of our souls.  To unpack the messy stuff with someone who's safe and sane and confidently pray together for God's will to become crystal clear.  To journal through weird seasons even as we claim gratitude for all God is inviting us to in the midst of the unsteadiness.













As March rolls to an end, please let me encourage you to toss your pen to the wind and use a pencil to jot down appointments, obligations, and plans ... and be sure that a big eraser is close at hand.  Because life happens and chances are you'll need to delete, adjust, and reconfigure.

Repeatedly.

As Pastor Rick Warren says, 'It will dramatically lower the frustration level in your life if you remember it is not all up to you.'





So, go ahead, friend.  Squeeze those lemons with glee.  Make something sweet and zesty even as you choose to give thanks for God's steady presence in the midst of all that's swirling around you.  I'd be happy, joyful really, to share a glass or two of lemonade with you as we chat about what we're learning in the waiting room.




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sharing lemonade with

47 comments:

  1. Amen, My Friend. I once had a pastor tell me we are only responsible for sowing the seeds---God takes over after that! I will say---I thought at the time, He gives us the wonderful opportunity to be sowers--when He really does not need us at all. I write in ink, but freely cross out and amend. It reminds me of the little control I truly have!
    Blessings, My Friend!

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    1. I like your emphasis on 'freely,' Lulu! Isn't that the absolute best place to be?

      How good is God!

      Delete
  2. I've documented on my blog where I have been the past month or so as I go through this trying time, some of it my own making. I'm excited to see what God has planned for me and how He will make this lemon into lemonade. However, I don't care for lemonade so will a raspberry tea be okay or a Dr. Pepper 10?

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    1. Raspberry tea works for me.

      And, Bill, you've modeled for us how to navigate the tough and unexpected. I hope this week finds your body mending well, friend ...

      Delete
  3. Yes, I've done my fair share of journaling this month. April has a heavy travel schedule for us and me holding my breath a bit too much in anticipation. I try to remind myself of the short version of the first three steps of AA: I can't, He can, think I'll let him. Moment by moment. I'll take some extra sugar in my lemonade, please :)

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    1. AA.

      Yes, please.

      Celebrate Recovery, too.

      http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

      Because everyone needs to do life in the company with others.

      Safe travels, Debby ...

      Delete
  4. I love this, Linda. I'm so glad for what God is revealing to you during this unsteady time ... He is abundantly able, is He not? As for me, I dumped some of my emotional processing out on my blog today, and while it's a little raw and bare, it just felt like the right thing to do. God knows who it was for (besides just me, that is), and He'll do with it what He will. Hugs, friend!

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    1. Sometimes a little raw and bare is exactly the right way to go, isn't it, Lois. Especially when you know you're safe and in good company. I'll be dropping by in a few minutes, ok?

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  5. I sure understand this, Linda, and you are and have been in my prayers.

    I figure that today hurts a lot, and tomorrow will probably be worse. But I don't have to live in tomorrow yet.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2017/03/your-dying-spouse-289-false-doctrine.html

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    1. Oh yes ... you live this out hour to hour, minute to minute, friend. And oh the lessons you've taught with us.

      Last week, I shared your post on Embracing God's Will on my LinkedIn page where I put all my favorite reads.

      https://www.linkedin.com/in/stolllinda/recent-activity/

      It's gotten quite a bit of attention. No need to wonder why ...

      Blessings on you today, friend. I join the throngs lifting you and Barbara up in prayer.

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  6. I'm so sorry for all the disappointments and frustrations, Linda. I love how God showed you His business is turning lemons into lemonade. It's so amazing how He showed you "awesome things about His character, His faithful heart, and His exquisite timing." I love Rick Warren's quote, too. It truly does decrease the frustration level when we remember God is in control and He works all things out for our good. Thank you so much for sharing this. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Hey Trudy, I'm with you and Rick ... more focus on Jesus, less on my own plans and agendas.

      ;-}

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  7. So true, Linda: "and be sure that a big eraser is close at hand. Because life happens and chances are you'll need to delete, adjust, and reconfigure." Never does a day go exactly as I plan. I should thank God for that. :)

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    1. It was Grandfriends Day at my grandson's school yesterday and on the class work table I spied a HUGE green eraser with the word 'OOPS' printed on it, just perfect for what we're talking about. I'll post it soon ...

      ;-}

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  8. Praying for you and yours at this difficult time, Linda.

    God bless you all.

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    1. God is giving us clarity in this past week. We are so grateful. Murky is hard to live with, isn't it ...

      Learning to trust.

      Delete
  9. I so agree with writing my plans in pencil, Linda. With a big eraser close at hand -- good advice! : )
    Praising God with you for His great faithfulness!

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  10. So well written, as always. A life well lived or learned is not always on schedule or executed as planned. Prayers.

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    1. And those of us who love our schedules and agendas need to learn to keep our hands wide open.

      Clutching hurts.

      Delete
  11. I've long had a practice of writing in my planner in pencil, and I do it for practical reasons, but there's a theological foundation to it as well. The disconnect, of course, is in my head, and taking that eraser in hand to reflect the divine prerogative to change my plans . . . He's still working on me.

    Clinking lemonade glasses with you, today, Linda.

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    1. You're so right ... there's a spiritual component to each and every choice we make. Including how we look at our planners, calendars, and datebooks.

      Your perspective always takes us to the next level, Michele ...

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear, Linda, that you're going through a difficult season. But I love your takeaway and what you challenge us to do when we face these kinds of seasons in life--trust that God is turning them into lemonade. He truly is making the bad that we experience something good in and through us. I always want to keep that in the forefront of my mind. Prayers for you, my friend! Hoping that you taste that lemonade very soon!

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    1. Ah ... that lemonade is oh so sweet.

      So is His love ... and yours, too, my friend.

      Enjoy!

      Delete
  13. Hi Linda,
    I know that March may not have gone as you anticipated but it brought you back to the blog, and it's so nice to see you again! :)

    Lemons are such a beautiful fruit with a bad reputation, don't you think, since just by adding a little sugar, everything becomes a bit delicious, just like our lives . . .and hoping that April brings you some sweetness to add to your March lemons so you can have a nice tall glass of lemonade! :) xoxo

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    1. You always bring a winsome, lovely joy wherever you travel, Valerie. I'm sure grateful that you land here often, spreading the warmth 'round these parts ...

      ;-}

      Welcome home from Italy!

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  14. Yes! I wished that one word summed up all I'm feeling after reading this. If you knew how my heart cried "me too" as reading this and how I wished we were sharing lemonade by the water, you would know that God loves to show me more of my journey through you. We are running parallel lives in many ways and I can't help but think we really need to get together. It would make all kinds of happy!

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    1. Mary ... now I know why I wrote this post.

      God has been good to let us walk this path together. In many ways, recent years have been quite similar, haven't they.

      And yes, if I'm ever out your way, I will be in touch. Absolutely.

      Sweet blessings of peace and rest to you this evening, friend ...

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  15. Hi Linda! I'm sorry for your troubles and eraser moments...never expected or usually wanted either. I know that you will grow strong and tall because of each one though, God has a way to prodding his favorites to move on ahead in faith and hope. Drink that lemonade, add lemon to your water, and smile knowing that wisdom is soon yours.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Eraser moments!

      *smile*

      And yes, He holds hope out for us when we feel a bit hopeless. And we pass that hope on to others who need to know they're not alone.

      That's what this is really all about, isn't it ...

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  16. Linda,
    Thank you for your gentle wisdom here and for showing us how to point our eyes back to God even as we can be honest with God about what is hard in our lives. I'm sorry it has been a hard time this past month. Praying God continues to uphold you and your family and give you grace as you make sweet lemonade. ((hugs))

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    1. Yes and amen! It's always about choosing to turn out eyes back to the One who loves us best of all, who has our best interests at heart, who leads us through the valleys, and invites us to a richer relationship with Him each step of the way.

      What a wonderful Savior!

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  17. I'm sorry you've had disappointment and frustration to deal with this month, Linda. It's not easy when our plans fall through, but it is encouraging to turn to God and remember that he has a good plan and he can make something good out of it even when things are difficult. Praying that God will show you the way forward.

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    1. You've hit the nail on the head, Lesley. He is showing us the way forward. If things are too easy, we tend to slide into trusting in our own plans.

      He knows what we need, doesn't He ...

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  18. Lemonade with plenty of sugar added ;) It has been a chaotic month here, too, friend. Toasting a glass to you and being thankful together that we do not go anywhere that God has not already stood. Amen? Blessings.

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    1. Wow, this is profound, June -->'we do not go anywhere that God has not already stood.'

      What a way to start the day. I tuck your words somewhere deep and take them with me.

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  19. Great words here, my friend, and it always warms my heart to find you in my Inbox no matter what you have going on. Disappointments can sometimes be more of a challenge than others. So glad to hear how faithful the Lord has been in His time with you!! Love and hugs, Pam

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    1. I'm happy to keep your inbox toasty, friend! And oh so true that some seasons find those not-all-that-catastrophic-disappointments to be more of a challenge than others.

      Maybe it's when they seem to stack up high.

      Yes, yes ...

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  20. To journal through weird seasons...I love that Linda. It is so real. And thank you for being so real, too. You have helped me to realize I can let myself have the seasons of unsteadiness and not fight agains them!

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    1. Sometimes 'weird' says it all, doesn't it ...

      ;-}

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  21. ((HUG)) I'm sorry it's been that kind of season for you. Prayers for you, friend. Love the perspective you focus on -- His goodness and faithfulness. I, too, am glad He wastes nothing...helps me to trust Him more with all the messy seasons. ((hug)) Prayers of peace, blessing, favor and hope over your household, sweet friend. ((xoxo))

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    1. And you said this and I love it, Brenda --> 'helps me to trust Him more with all the messy seasons.'

      You nailed it!

      Delete
  22. the need to fully process our very real emotions and not to shove them into some dark spooky crevice of our souls. Now that is pure wisdom. I tend to not shove things away too much anymore, learning how to speak in love and with a kind voice makes it easier to share my heart. I have had some depression that comes with having bypass heart surgery so I found myself too cranky, grateful for a patience husband. I have to remind myself this too will pass. Good post to read today. Thanks

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    1. Oh Betty, I'm praying for you even as we speak, asking God for healing for your body and encouragement for those emotions, too. Your body has undergone a huge upheaval, it makes sense that depression is lurking around a bit.

      Please let your doctor know, ok? My prayers are going to be continuing for you ...

      Warmest blessings.

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  23. Pastor has a great point. That really is where the frustration happens. I put my schedules on an excel file so it's easy to move around and delete some. Because it won't always happen as planned.

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    1. Excel, huh? You're a techie genius, friend!

      Sure beats scrawling in pencil. I'm so impressed ...

      Delete

'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda