So, here you are. You’ve gone through all of the steps to make your lemonade & construct your lemonade stand by grieving, forgiving, accepting, and moving on. Now you have reached the point where you set up shop, practice good customer service, and make those sales.
“Huh? What are you even talking about? Stop with the metaphors or at least explain them!”
(If achieving this step is just too much work, consider seeking counseling. There is no shame in asking someone for a little help. Also, depression is a very serious illness that can happen to anyone. It is not something that you can “just snap out of”. Seek help if you need it, please.)
So, what do you do now? Sit back, relax, and drink some lemonade!!!
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spiritis in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“ Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”
Ephesians 5:8-14 NKJV
Okay, so you’ve done all that you can in the kitchen for now. It is time to grab a hammer, some nails, a couple planks of wood and head outside.
Moving on can be one of the most difficult tasks. Leaving behind something that has been consuming you for some time can be a lot of work. So, why must we move on? Why can’t we just stay where we are? Because if you sit and dwell on what has happened, you will never be happy. It is not God’s will for us to be sad or angry. There is a season for that, yes, but it does come to an end. That is why it is a season, it changes.
Now is the season where things become warm, metaphorically. You began this struggle in the late Autumn. During the Winter you grieved. Late Winter and Spring you forgave and accepted. Now, it is Summer… and people are thirsty and in need of your lemonade. Soon they may be in the late Autumn and will need to remember how wonderful Summertime was and what that Lemonade you made them tasted like.
Will you ever go back to the kitchen? Oh yes. You’re going to have to go back to get sweetener, supplies, and once in awhile you’re going to have to take in more lemons to squeeze them out. But for now, you’re building your stand and preparing for the next step which I’ll be talking about next week when we conclude this series: Setting up shop and customer service.
As tempting as it is to go back inside because the sun is so bright and the air too warm, remember God got you this far… He’ll take you even farther! And if you want to go farther, you can’t live in the past… Put on a smile and a pair of work gloves (Read your Bible and have faith), because it’s time for you to construct (pray for) your shop front (attitude)!
1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV
So, now that you have gone through the processes of grieving and forgiving, it is time to accept.
Definition of ACCEPTtransitive verb
This, obviously, does not always come easily. Our flesh tells us to live in denial. Pretend it never happened. If we don’t acknowledge something, then we can pretend everything is hunky dory and just go on. Unfortunately… it doesn’t work that way. Especially with women. We bottle things way deep down inside only for it to come back up later. Sure, we can live in our make believe little world where bad things and bad days never happen for a time. However, you will inevitably have to face what you are avoiding eventually. Better sooner than later!
What do I mean by telling you to accept what happened? I mean for you to tell yourself, “This happened, and that is just the way it is. God loves me regardless and I will rely on him for mercy and blessings for all of my days.” instead of screaming and throwing a tantrum, “It’s not fair! Why is God allowing this? Why didn’t he do things differently? I want my way and I want it NOW! Waaaahhhh!” (Okay, I got a little dramatic there, but you get the picture.) I never said this would be simple… It may even be brutal. But without it, your lemonade will be bland.
Am I saying to let this event define who you are? Not at all. Will it change you? Possibly. But that could be a good thing depending on the situation. Being that we are covering many different possibilities with a general blanket here it kind of makes this part hard to touch on. Once again, in order for your lemonade to turn out sweet and tasty, you’re going to have to give up a lot of time in prayer. We are supposed to be letting God lead us on how to make his recipe, not ours. Okay, time to wash our hands and prepare for the next step….
Personal note: Before going on any further with this series, I do want to let you know I have been through some very upsetting, traumatic experiences. I’m not some bozo just sitting here saying “Chin up” without an experience myself. I know that EVERYTHING I am telling you is easier said than done. Like I said, depend a lot on prayer and our Savior… He’s the only way to truly make it through!
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV
Last week I wrote on grieving. Sometimes, once we have completed that step we realize we need to forgive in order to be able to move on.
Forgiveness is rarely easy to just hand out. It can be a struggle to let go of anger and hurt that is rightfully felt. Especially if the forgiveness needs to be given to someone who does not care, denies their fault, is unknown, clueless of their action, or did something unbearably horrible.
Something equally difficult is forgiving ourselves. It is often said that we are our own worst critics. Isn’t that the truth? I don’t know anyone who is as hard on me as I am on myself.
Regardless, we are required to forgive if we want to be forgiven. What all does this entail? Well, let’s look at the definition from Webster’s:
Definition of FORGIVE
transitive verb1a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgive an insult> b: to grant relief from payment of <forgive a debt>2: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) :pardon <forgive one’s enemies>
Do you have to be friends with the person and act like nothing ever happened? Absolutely not! But forgive and move on? Yes.
Easier said than done, right? It usually takes quite a chunk of prayer time to be able to achieve this step. As with all things in life, pray for God to help you. Pray for guidance. Pray for forgiveness from Him. But I guarantee that once you do reach that point, you will feel so much better. Then, you can move right along with making that lemonade!
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;4 time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV
For some reason, many people (not just men) are afraid to admit that they are not experiencing any emotion other than joy. Especially Christians. Some feel that it is sinful, or makes them not as good as the next person. However, as the scripture above points out, (Turn, Turn, Turn… Ha, you know it’s stuck in your head now too…) there is a time for everything.
To mourn and grieve is very important to the healing process. Without embracing the truth, acknowledging it, dealing with it, and accepting that something happened you may not ever truly move on. Sure, you can be all happy/smiley and say “Praise the Lord!” after everything everyone says, but that doesn’t mean you’re happy. The body, heart, mind, and soul need to grieve in a healthy matter for a healthy amount of time. It should not be rushed or dragged out.
Unfortunately, really horrible bad things happen in this world: Death, natural and unnatural. Rape. Miscarriage. Child abuse. Illness. Job loss. Divorce. Infidelity. Break ups. Infertility. Muggings. Robberies. Car accidents. Etc, etc, etc… After any of these situations, it is normal to grieve and expected. It is even normal to “mildly grieve” over much smaller less upsetting situations. Anyone who’s had a bad hair cut knows what I’m talking about. (I forgive Karen & Emily for butchering my hair when I was 16, really… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t mourn it for a few days.)
Yes, as Christians we should have joy. Yes, we should see the positive and not the negative. But we are also commanded that there IS a time to mourn. That means it’s accepted. Should you not allow this process, you may miss out on a complete healing.
Just remember, it’s called GOOD GRIEF for a reason. And that prayer is NEVER a bad thing. The more the better!
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade…”
What does this mean exactly? Basically, to take something sour & bitter and turn it into something sweet. A negative into a positive. As Christians, we deal with this on a different level as we are to spread God’s love to a dying world.
In every day situations, this may be easy to do. But what about when the unthinkable happens? Something so traumatic, that finding the pros is completely impossible when there are so many cons lined up against you? It becomes difficult to find the good with the bad, and to show love and be positive to others when we feel so full of hurt/anger/sadness and negativity.
I’ll be the first to say, this is not my favorite subject to write about. It has taken me a long time to learn this lesson myself. But when God says “write”, by golly, you better write.
So, from here we will begin a Tuesday series. I hope you’ll follow along and read what the Lord has told me to write and be blessed.