I just love lemonade. It’s a little bit tart, it’s sweet, and I truly believe there’s nothing better on a hot day -or any day for that matter! It’s my beverage of choice next to La Croix or a crisp glass of Savignon Blanc. 😉 Why am I telling you this? Well, because I think we are friends now, and I believe you should know my favorite drinks. Just kidding.
I’ve only made lemonade from scratch one time. I was squeezing the lemons, completely forgetting about my day old paper cut. One of the lemons soaked into the cut, and it was pure misery. I managed to stop the stinging after running my finger under running water, letting it breathe, and wrapping the cut with a bandage. I thought to myself “Is this going to be worth it? Why am I going through the trouble of it all?” My roommate had just walked in the door, so I asked her to help me finish squeezing the lemons. And when we worked together, the result was sweet lemonade and a sweet memory!
A lot of life is like that! I’m serious. I could have saved myself a little misery had I just waited until my friend came home to begin squeezing lemons. The more personal account I’m about to give you is proof that when you let other people into your pain, the results will surprise you!
Recently, my family and I have hit a sour patch of lemons. The last 18 months have been a rough, rough road. Just a few months before the birth of our youngest child, my husband was laid off from his job in the oil & gas industry. I can’t say that it was complete shock, but it certainly laid the groundwork for future challenges we were not prepared for. Rather than find another corporate position in his field, we felt lead to pursue a life of self-employment. This meant no security, something I had never experienced. It meant longer hours, something I wasn’t prepared for. It meant strained finances and patience, something already in short supply.
With three young kids, no solid group of friends, and the stress of starting a new business, the first few months were miserable. Pure, sour lemon juice. We realized that we were making a mistake by not surrounding ourselves with a support group, a tribe of friends, that could walk with us on this journey. So we began to seek out a village, somewhere to belong, and by God’s grace we found one!
Early on, we opened up about our struggles. We shared our pain. We took the lemons we had and laid them on the table. And the response we received was so humbling and sweet. These new friends poured water on our wounds, let our hurts breathe, and wrapped us in affirming, loving, and truthful words. We received grace upon grace from almost strangers, and now they are some of the dearest friends we have.
Another blessing of sharing our burdens was witnessing others open up about theirs. It’s incredible to see how contagious vulnerability is! Our openness has given us opportunities: opportunities to serve, to share our story, and to stand up with those squeezing their own lemons. Our pain hasn’t been wasted. Our troubles have not been in vain. God gave us these lemons! Only He knows the results of their squeezing. But I am betting that the result will be the sweetest lemonade we’ve ever tasted.
Keeping this in mind, don’t squeeze your lemons alone. The Lord desires us to be in community, to “share each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2). I promise it will be worth it!
Who do you have to help you squeeze the lemons in your life?