Using Sour Lemons

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer – doesn’t a nice, cold lemonade sound super right now? Or how ‘bout just sucking on a lemon? I’ll bet that doesn’t quite have the same appeal to you, does it? Maybe because it’s not really the same thing. While some people may enjoy the sharp tartness of a plain lemon, it’s usually the added ingredients that cause many more people to enjoy the beverage. It’s the same thing with the sharp and perhaps bitter experiences that life hands us from time to time. Two personal examples come to mind.

I have a friend who has recently gone through treatment for cancer. Before the experience, I would have to say we were not much more than acquaintances. We met while a mutual friend was walking through her own cancer journey, which, I’m still sad to say, won the upper hand. But in Candy’s case, she has thus far been declared in remission, and still believes that God has completely healed her in this life. It has been a difficult journey, however, and one that could have taken its toll on her family in many ways, except for those “added ingredients” that she mixed in. My friend’s faith kept her steady and strong through it all. She lived out the verse “In your weakness My strength is revealed”. She took any and every opportunity to encourage her friends in their sorrow, exhort other patients in the hospital, and find the “God moments” in every day. It took work, effort and intention to turn the sour experience of cancer into the sweet victory that she celebrated – and still celebrates today.

I know that the “when life gives you lemons” cliché can get really worn out. But I also know that it is the truth in it which is the reason it gets so over used! We all have our share of unfair stuff, bad hands dealt to us, short-end-of-the-stick happenings. But it all comes down to how we’re going to deal with them. We can’t prevent them from happening, but we can determine that they’re not going to get the best of us.

A colleague of mine, Wendy, is a great example of that. A homeschooling mom with 4 children, her abusive husband left them all one day with no means of support. She had already begun a home business to supplement her husband’s irregular income, but she could have fallen apart at this domestic disaster. Instead, desiring to keep the children’s lives as stable as possible, she redoubled her efforts to make her business work. As a result, they were all able to stay in (and pay off!) the home the kids were born in, and her business now provides training and support to thousands of work-at-home moms (and she maintains a soft-spot to help out single moms). I am amazed at her absolute refusal to be bitter. Although divorce is not what she would have chosen for her life, she focuses instead on the good that has come of it.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that as you take a break this summer from your usual routine, let me encourage you to take a break as well from allowing any sour experiences to embitter your life. Attitude is everything (ok, at least a good part of it, anyway!), and our attitudes can bring out the best lemonade out of the sourest lemons! I’m not there yet, either, but it’s a recipe that we all need to repeat every day.  Left on their own, “lemons” may only be bitter – but with some added thought and effort on our part, they can bring refreshment and quality to our lives.


Pat Fenner offers encouragement to homeschoolers at Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com. For monthly doses of encouragement, inspiration and ideas, sign up for her free newsletter “Sparks for the Flame”.

avatar Pat Fenner (23 Posts)

Pat and her husband Paul have been homeschooling for 15 years. They have 5 children: 2 in college and 11-, 9- and 6-yr olds at home. Besides homeschooling, Pat publishes Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com, where she offers creative homeschooling solutions; they also own and run a neighborhood coffee shop.


Top Authors
avatar
23 posts
avatar
15 posts
avatar
12 posts
avatar
12 posts