When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Photo by Santiago Manuel De la Colina on Pexels.com

“Optimism refuses to believe that the road ends without options.”

-Robert H. Schuller

Sometimes life takes you on a journey you would have never imagine for your life. The picture that you once painted in your mind seems tainted with a reality that you can’t quite comprehend. The pain, hurt, grief, fear, frustration, heart break can leave you questioning, “Why me?”  Because this is really not how the story is suppose to be. Like lemons, you may be tempted to get bitter but deep inside you know you serve a God who has a tendency to make things better, despite what things may currently look like. He is the author and the finisher so every story He writes is beautiful and good, you just have to remember that this is only a chapter. 

This is only a chapter and my focus has to stay on the controllable. I don’t know how long the chapter will be, or how many obstacles I will have to overcome but I trust God who is writing the story. This has been my story and mindset for this past week. Life threw me a curve ball that I wasn’t expecting. After three in a half years of searching for answers and visiting so many doctors and specialist we finally got an answer but, it wasn’t at all what we were expecting. What do you do when life sends you something unexpected? When you feel shaken to the core? Do give up all hope that the future can be better or do you remain optimistic?

My first born daughter was diagnosed with “Atypical Neuroaxonal Dystrophy.” Which is a rare genetic disorder associated with the PLA2G6 gene. It causes a type of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation characterized by psychomotor delay and regression. There is currently no cure and not much information mostly research. When I received the call about the diagnosis on Monday I was left speechless. I really didn’t know what to say and I had so many questions. “What does this mean?” “How is our lives going to change?” ” What is this going to do to my baby?” So many questions that no one really has the definite answers to. This brought on so many different emotions for me but even with all the emotions I still felt peace. It’s not a type of peace that can really be explained because apart from God I would have felt despair but it’s the type of peace that I know that only God gives.

I felt the type of peace that says this is not the end, this is only the beginning to something different and something new. It was like life gave me lemons but my faith caused me to see something different and make lemonade with it. I don’t know exactly what the future holds but I’m so optimistic and hopeful that as I take things day by day God will give us the wisdom to navigate through this. It’s impossible to be optimistic without faith, especially when things are uncertain. Because of how rare this disorder is, and because of how small the sample size is I truly believe that my big girl story will be different and provide a different type of hope to families with similar experiences.

One of the things I wrote about last week was focusing on the controllable, and I truly believe God put that in my heart because He was preparing me for the news I was going to experience later that day. That’s one of the things I love about God, He always prepares you in advance for what’s ahead, and He never leaves you alone and broken through your experience. He’s given you His word to cling to and His presence to comfort and refresh you along the way. In the natural this situation looks hopeless, but in order to truly get through this I have to rely and depend on someone who is so much greater and bigger than me, who created everything and who knows all things. There are so many situations that life will throw your way that’s impossible for you to make it through by your own strength and power.

I started my blog, “Intentional Hope,” years ago as a way to encourage people to be intentional and grow through every season of life. But there is another part that is so much bigger which is hope. Continual growth will always give you a reason to hope but you can’t have hope apart from Jesus. Hope requires someone so much bigger and greater than yourself. This whole year has cause me to cling to my faith and hope in Jesus more than ever and it has truly been what has helped me through so much of what I experienced this year and even things I’ve experienced in the past.

Life has given me lemons but I refuse to be a victim and not use what God has given me to create something better. I know that everything I go through serves a purpose and that there is a bigger picture to this story. I’m optimistic that great things are ahead, and instead of asking myself, “Why is this happening to me?” I’m learning to ask the question, “What is this trying to teach me?” “What controllable things can I focus on that will help us get through this?” This doesn’t mean that I deny the reality of what’s happening or that there won’t be times where I cry, have low moments, experienced sadness, frustration, etc. I know I will feel all those things throughout this journey, but I have hope that things will get better because I have Jesus who always gives me a reason to hope.

Life seems so different now but everyday I’m learning to focus on the things that I can control in this situation such as keeping her active and exercising everyday to help build her muscles. Teaching her basic life skills and continuing to educate and engage her socially and so much more. This is going to be a journey but its definitely worth fighting for. I want to encourage you that no matter what life throws at you, don’t give up! Things may look hopeless and you may experience doubt but trust that God is truly with you and that He will give you the grace to go through whatever you are going through. I’m reminding myself that this is only a chapter and the story is still being written and by focusing on the controllable I have the power to say this is not how the story will end. I hope my story encourages you to keep going. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. There is always something greater being produced on the other side of your situation.

Thanks for reading!

What’s a difficult situation you’ve experienced that changed you for the better? I would love to hear your story. Comment below.

Psalms 27:13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.

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