Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lemonade Girl

So this year brought a lot of change for me. Change I wasn't originally happy with. Just call me the lemonade girl.

One of the stereotypes many people have about women is that we "cry for no reason" or that we find ourselves crying and wonder why. (Just another reason I hate stereotypes!) Well, if millions of women are out there doing that, don't count me among them. If I'm crying, there's a good reason for it and I can tell you exactly why it is.

There are times, I've been so upset I've cried for days. Times I couldn't get out of bed. Times I thought I wanted to die. But I always knew WHY. I could articulate it for you perfectly.

So now that we've established my crying habits...

This year brought change.
At first I was ticked.
Felt cheated.
Hopeless - like nothing was going to help to make it better for a really long time, if ever.
Trapped. So trapped.
Like a woman regressed instead of pro-gressed.

You can see why I wasn't exactly counting the moments at first for 2008 to kick in. I felt that way pretty much from mid-November to mid December and then sought the Lord as to how I could possibly make lemonade. I needed a new recipe. You know what they say -- when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I had plenty of lemons but let's just say the sugar and water and a spoon to stir it were pretty much non-existent in my mind. I felt like God was saying, "And in 2008, I'm calling you to make the lemonade..." Gee thanks, God.

I found myself staring at responsibilities I didn't want, and dreaded getting up in the morning. When my friend Ada asked me how I felt I said, "Well, sort of like a 50 year old woman who finds out she's pregnant after she's raised all her kids. She now has to figure out a way to do all over again, a job she thought she had finished a bunch of years ago...and do it with joy and happiness somehow, for the kid's sake."

The good news is that seeking the Lord and His wisdom not to mention huge doses of grace can help us not only survive - but thrive. And that's exactly what happened with me.

Stormie O'Martian's book, Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On is one of my favorite in the whole world and she talks about this kind of thing quite a bit in the book. In fact, I find myself going back to this book again and again when I go through these kind of storms in my life. Omartian says this: "The wilderness is where we are forced to leave behind the familiar, the comfortable, the past successes, the accomplishments, and the old bag of tricks that always worked before. The wilderness is where God takes us when he wants to get Egypt out of our hearts. He wants to separate us from all that we crave, so that all we crave is Him. When God aims us in a new direction, we have to let go of what we've known, be willing to embrace the unfamiliar, and trust that he will sustain us on the journey."

It wasn't exactly that I was going into the unfamiliar, rather in my case I felt like I was regressing back to a part of my life that had long been over. But for some reason, it's exactly where God wants me. I don't understand it (still don't) but I choose to trust Him.

By the time 2008 was a week or two away I started to get excited. Despite changes I didn't understand, I knew God was bringing something good my way. I began to seek the good in every little and big thing around me. I begin to look for the "pops" as Luci Swindoll calls them - the little pops of joy that come in life as you go along - you have to catch them as they come and enjoy them for all they are worth. I began to embrace the change God was making in my life and not resent it.

As I surrendered to what is His purpose for me at this time in my life, there was a noticeable shift in everything around me. All of us affect so much more than we would ever realize...

Omartian says this, "when traveling in the wilderness, learn to seek the abundance of the moment. Ask God to open your eyes to all the blessings he has for you there. As you see each one, let them become a refreshing spring. Soak them into the dry pores of your soul, drink them into the parched areas of your spirit, praise Him for every one, and feel that solid ground at the center of His will."

So I started making a brand new recipe of lemonade. The first week or so my steps were small and tentative because I really didn't want to be in the kitchen but then I embraced it. And God started to bless my obedience. I've even started smiling and laughing while making the lemonade and actually looking forward to it. It's pretty amazing.

I share this today for those of you who are going through things you don't understand. If you are at that place of change where I found myself at mid-November and you wonder whether you should get out of bed today or tomorow, the answer is yes.

Please get up and turn on a Kirk Franklin CD to "My Life is In Your Hands"or "There's a Blessing in the Storm." Close your eyes and listen and realize, soon you will be able to ride down the street with your windows down singing Avalon's "New Day."

Really, I promise.

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