When the Lemons Are Moldy

Typing directly into wordpress hasn’t happened in a couple of years, but I’ve become a bit uptight and thought I’d share straight from the hip today. Hopefully you’re dressed down because this post isn’t going to be edited or tidied up.

When LIfe (1)

When life throws punches, we’re cheered by the goodness of spectators, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” Everything from the cheerful bright yellow color to the refreshing crisp-clean scent and sunshine revolving around lemons should make us feel optimistic and cheerful.

A dozen women in the house, I sat last night at a table with a third of them playing an old card game, canasta. The women filled the spectrum of close friends to new acquaintances. It was the end of the night when I heard an acquaintance mention the modern car seat that did everything but breastfeed the baby; the point where wine words slip freely, only I hadn’t had much when I spouted over-the-top congratulations I instantly wished I could retract.

When life gives you lemons (1)

I do this, get excited over babies, no, over the miracle of God knitting together each and every one of us. Imagine that, you, me, all the people you see delicately assembled in the most perfect way by the Creator Himself! Strikingly, positively bewildering when I pause on that single thought.

But what happens when the lemons are moldy? Because even lemons can’t withstand a cold frost,

nor a heart when the spectator’s well intentioned words fall miserably short?

When the words miscarriage dripped off her lips, I wanted to crawl beneath the table fortunate enough to have tablecloth to spare. Collectively my life bestie and I had our share of baby losses; you might think I would know what to say or do.

I didn’t.

But you’ve been here before too…

When a coworker gets laid off…

When a neighbor’s home is foreclosed on.

When the couple you look to as an example calls it quits.

When the tests reveal an illness doctors can’t cure.

When a spouse vanishes emotionally.

When bills exceed the month’s income.

When your child’s heart is broken and words won’t fix it.

 You’ve been there before in your own way. 

In moments like these, when the antidote is out of grasp, people grow uncomfortable, though it could just be me. I want that green fuzz to be repurposed for something glamorous, the stench of mold to be the single balancing note in a beautiful scent. But in my hands it’s not. My words will fall short, my efforts are no more than a flimsy bandage on a trauma patient.

So how do we respond when life serves a pink slip?


Ironically I’m wearing the above shirt as I write this…most often, less IS more.

Less is more.

Accepting my efforts will fall short, my words will not heal, my anger will not vindicate begins to absolve me of self and postures me towards surrender to the One who can and will  fill-in every real (and perceived) gap.

When I lost the second baby my heart was shaken to the outermost fibers of the roots to my heart. I holed-up, I wept. I wept for the baby I first lost, the baby I just lost and the smiles of siblings never to be seen. I wept tears of unbelief and disbelief how could, why would God allow this?

Having tasted moldy lemons years prior, I could trust because I had experienced God’s faithfulness. Through the doubt and questioning, the heartache and tears, God anchored me with memories of His previous remodeling projects. The before and afters are pretty good, but the process, the demo necessary to prep my heart for future construction, tedious and painful.

But sometimes we need more.

The no-longer-mother-to-be shared the deep wounds of her recent loss…

It was a no-show event.

Close friends she has walked through the valleys with and their small group from church were absent. Even her husband was absent the day of the loss, curious if he could get the car washed before returning home. (If there was a font that was hollow and could reach the depth of hell, I’d use it here for absent.)

Too much of self is toxic. We tend to think God can do it without me, but what if we all said that?

Our intentions to care for others are stunted by fearful self-absorbed hearts: What if? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I hurt her more? What if she doesn’t want to talk about it? What if…..?

The what if trains speeds out-of-control derailing the opportunity for God to borrow our physical bodies to simply state, I see you and hear your cries. You are important to me. Even though it doesn’t look like it, I promise I’m taking the best care of you and it’s going to be all right. I love you precious one. 

When life gives lemons, and they’re moldy, you aren’t on the hook for the remedy. Surrender to God’s remodeling project and be wowed by the work He’ll do!

I’d love to hear from you! What is God remodeling in your life right now? Comment below or on Facebook!




6 responses to “When the Lemons Are Moldy

  1. Pingback: » When the Lemons Are Moldy·

  2. Julie, what you have written here is so important I cannot do it justice in a short reply. I had not recognized God’s silent construction in my life, disappointment after failure after disaster because when I bounced back — although I recognized the miracles and gave Him thanks for them — I had no idea where He was leading me. “God anchored me with memories of His previous remodeling projects.” That allows Him to lead us, in C.S. Lewis’s phrase, “further out and further in.” Cosmic metaphors apply to the loneliness of such a walk, which is why Lewis wrote a science fiction trilogy in which the character Ransom is transported to Mars and to Venus to fulfill for Earth the purpose implied in his name. We social females are sometimes appalled to find ourselves alone, whether solitary during a miscarriage or isolated by our extraordinary spiritual knowledge in a crowded church auditorium or embarrassed by a hasty, spontaneous response. We are not alone. And despite appearances to the contrary, God holds us in the palm of His hand.

    • Laurna, Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts! Incredibly true that women in general like companionship often feeling lost when alone. There is such a beauty of being “alone” in the storm with God, though I find comfort knowing support is a call, text, short drive away:)
      And don’t we completely lose sight of the great plan God is always weaving? I’m reminded of Joseph being sold into slavery, and a series of unfortunate events that God used to rescue Israel and Egypt. We may not see this side of heaven His ultimate plan, but there definitely is one!

  3. What a good reminder. So often I’m thinking too much about myself when someone is grieving and fail to act. Grace and love are messy, but you are right–it’s better to show up and risk the mess!

  4. Pingback: Pictures of Joy: Joy 360 Guest Post by Judy Douglass | Peacequility·

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