By Kathy Thomas
When we were kids, every summer we ran a lemonade stand in front of my friend’s house at the entrance of our neighborhood. We pilfered our mother’s pantries for chocolate chip cookies and pink lemonade, then happily set up shop with our Dixie cups and piggy banks. We sold a lot of lemonade, but probably never made a profit. However, we were always content with simply making enough money to buy more cookies and cups to do it all over again the next day. Life was so simple then.
I had a pretty carefree childhood, full of security, freedom, and ease. As I grew into adulthood, life became complicated and difficult. Even without some major drama unfolding, day to day adulthood can be stressful and frustrating. It’s tempting to complain – a lot.
Eventually, all of us will find ourselves in situations that are irrevocable and unchangeable – circumstances that cannot be undone – only counteracted. We are forced to figure out how to take a worst case scenario and turn it into the best case scenario we can. Sometimes, the only thing we can do in our suffering is to allow God to turn the bitterness in our lives into something sweet. “When life gives you lemons – make lemonade.” I have made it my goal in life to become a master lemonade maker.
Every now and then, God gives me a glimpse into someone else’s life that makes me stop and count my blessings, even in my distress. I have a friend who suffered horribly from breast cancer. She is a young mother who had an allergic reaction to her chemotherapy that almost killed her.
Her experience left her with constant daily pain that some days is so unbearable, she can’t even get out of bed. Most days, she has to walk with a cane, and most nights, she sleeps covered with heating pads that mask the pain just enough to let her sleep. She also struggles with “chemo brain” that causes her to have difficulty with her memory.
To add insult to injury, a lot of people began to avoid her in the midst of her suffering. Some could not accept and believe the gravity of her circumstances, because she was so young. Others didn’t know what to do for her, so they distanced themselves from her.
In spite of it all, she has pressed on through her pain and allowed God to transform the bitterness she has suffered into something sweet. She recently founded a non-profit organization that raises money to pay for mammograms for women who have no insurance or money, in the hope that early detection of breast cancer could spare other women from suffering like she did.
At all of her events, in true breast cancer awareness fashion, she wears pink. All of her decorations are pink. All of her paperwork is pink. Even her hair is pink, sometimes. I tease her and tell her that when life gave her lemons – she made pink lemonade. She has made her “lemonade stand” and delights in every woman she serves. Like our childhood lemonade stand, she ain’t in it for the money! But, she simply finds her joy in serving a little refreshing sweetness in a bitter world.
Can God change your life?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV)
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Kathy Thomas is a former model and homeschooling mother of four, who lives in De Land, Florida with her family on a little ten acre farm they affectionately call the “Funny Farm.” Several years ago, Kathy and her husband, Tim, felt the call to sell out of the country club and move out to the country to release their children into the wild. It seemed liked an impossible journey, but God proved bigger than their obstacles, and now they live in a home they built with their own twelve hands and raise various little herds and flocks of animals.
God has used all of these experiences to teach their family deep, powerful, and yes… sometimes humorous and humbling lessons concerning His kingdom mission, especially when it comes to balancing the harvesting of results with the cultivating of relationships. Kathy shares many of these lessons through speaking, writing, singing, and songwriting.
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