As the old saying goes....
WHEN LIFE GIVE YOU LEMONS, MAKE LEMONADE
What a corny little saying. Although I find myself saying it a lot, it is a rather annoying saying.
When one finds themselves with a plate full of lemons, the last thing one wants to do it turn around and make lemonade. Really! I have found in the past that when I have been dished out a plate full of "unfairness" I would rather wallow in self pity than to turn around and pretend to be Little Miss Happy Hannah.
After studying the book of James though, it has become so clear that God uses us daily - in good situations and bad. He uses circumstances in ways that are beyond our comprehension. In ways that we cannot see or understand, he orchestrates events to fall into place with accordance to His plan. Our tests and our trials are not meant to bring us down but rather to build us up and bring us closer to Him. I have been tested in the past and quite frankly never rose to the challenge. I never used past mistakes, past pain, or past unfairness to draw myself closer to Christ. In fact, if anything, they pushed me farther. I have learned through the years that is not my calling. It has taken some time and some maturity for me to come to these conclusions but alas here I am.
Dave and I have definitely been trialed this year. Of course, like any married couple, we have been trialed before in the last 8.5 years that we have been married. We were trialed as a couple when we chose to uproot and move to New Mexico, not knowing a single soul. We were trialed during the first year of our marriage when we were forced to pay the government for taxes and pay for a ridiculous leg surgery on a dog we had just adopted - all while not making a whole lot of money. We were trialed as a couple when we gave birth to our first born while David was attending grad school. We were again trialed in 2007 when Paloma was born/Dave defended his thesis/we sold our house/moved across country to a whole new state to begin our new life together. The trials continued as Dave's job evolved and began requiring a whole lot more travel. Travel is not necessarily bad, but it does prove challenging when you are the mother of two young children, no support systems, living in a whole new state. I relied on David and his work was pulling him from me. I could go on about the numerous ways that we have been tested as a couple. God has been gracious with us and gotten us through these challenges.
And then......Dec 2010 rolled along and once again, Dave and I found ourselves under attack. Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. And just when you think life is good, you realize - well, that you have been handed a plate of lemons. There they are. Staring right at you. They are sour, and will burn your wounds if cut open. The acid will seep into the cuts in your hand, and you will feel pain. And that is where we were. Again, challenged. This time was different though. Although we found ourselves in a wrestling match with Satan, we decided to step back, take a second to breathe, and cut those lemons open and make some lemonade. The process was long and agonizing. Our wounds hurt as the juice from the lemons dripped in. The taste in our mouth was sour. It was not a fun process by any means BUT.....the end result is great.
Rather than turning and running from God, in this situation we drew closer. Using this particular trial, we allowed Christ to take our hearts and mold them into the people He desired us to be. We really had no other option but to turn toward Christ, cling to Him, and trust that since he brought us to the situation, he would bring us through the situation. And we believe that whole heartily. What doesn't kill us will make us stronger - another corny saying - but oh so true.
So here we are today. I stand in amazement of the wonderful man that God provided for me. I stand in amazement of the two beautiful children that I have been given. I stand in amazement of the life that I have been given. I deserve none of it. I am a sinful, selfish, self-centered person. By God's grace I am forgiven for my wrongs and my slate is wiped clean daily. Praise God. Though I/we may have suffered pain,disappointment and resentment, we hope to be living examples of what Christ can do in your life. My prayer is that through time our story can be shared and others can witness first hand the miracle that God can do in two very broken lives.