The expression most uttered when facing difficult circumstances is “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”. From my experiences, not all lemonades have the flavor that is palatable for the taste buds. In the medical community lemons are sometimes referred to as the disinfectant for the body, and research is finding that hot water with lemons each morning is a great source for staying healthy. However, let’s face it lemons without the right sweetening source is “sour” and distasteful. It takes the right mixture of lemons with just enough sweeteners to get that just right flavor of sweet lemonade.

What Biblical character gets conjured up in your mind when you hear words like affliction, suffering and loss? The one who first pops into my mind is Job. The Bible says God gave Satan permission to inflict sour lemons on Job (Job 1:8); the question God posed to Satan was “Have you considered and reflected on my servant Job? Can you imagine this with me, as Satan roamed about, God stopped him in his tracks and poses this intentional question about one He considered to be blameless and upright (Job 1:1). The narrative goes on and on for 42 chapters starting with losses and afflictions (lemons) and culminating with double fold blessings (sweet lemonades).

The Bible also mentions Paul, another lemon recipient by saying “Because of the surpassing greatness and extraordinary nature of the revelations [which I received from God], for this reason, to keep me from thinking of myself as important, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan, to torment and harass me—to keep me from exalting myself!” (2 Corinthians 12:7) (Lemons) Though not mentioned as such, most commentaries observe this as some kind of sickness pronounced on the man of God. The end result comes in verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for you [My loving kindness and my mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” (Sweet lemonade)

What do your lemons look like? Are they in the form of afflictions, suffering, losses, or sickness? Maybe you answered all the above. The reaction we invoke has a lot to do with what is produced in our lives. The first reaction is usually shock (sour detestable lemons). However, if God says His grace is sufficient and offers mercy and loving kindness as companions for us, our reaction should be a sense of peace (sweet lemonade). The problem lies in not being able to embrace our companions given to us by the Lover of our souls. He says “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), but we let impatience and doubt replace His loving kindness and mercy as our companions. We allow those sour lemons to inflict severe blows into our taste buds causing us to flinch in despair (sour lemonade).

There is a chapter 42 waiting for all God’s children, a place of double for our trouble like Job. The emotional turmoil, however, blinds us from the sweet savor of our loving Father. All we can taste is the sour lemons of defeat when God is offering the sweeteners of blessings, joy, hope, patience, kindness, restoration and deliverance. Our job is to strategically combine these ingredients to produce Sweet Lemonade. If you are facing devastating circumstances in this season of your life, be encouraged all is not lost. God has a perfect plan and it’s not to hurt or harm (lemons), but to give hope and a blessed future (Sweet Lemonade). Jeremiah 29:11

The Marriage Rollercoaster: HELP: I WANNA GET OFF!!!

I recall years ago going on trips to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York. Back then that was a big deal, especially the anticipation of what was considered the most exciting roller coaster ride of that time, “The Cyclone”. For some reason anticipating tumbling from the top of a huge hill at record speed made the heart race, and actually doing it caused even more heart palpitations. I remember as that huge machine went creaking slowly up, what seemed like, an insurmountable hill. There was a deluge of thoughts that ran through my mind, from “Oh Lord this was a mistake”, or “Why did I let them talk me into this” or What if this thing gets to the top and I go flying off” or literally whispering prayers of repentance, just in case. Needless to say, this was always the anticipated and also dreaded ride of my life, but at the end I would utter a sigh of relief knowing ALL WAS WELL!!!

Over the years, the marriage union has been taking a severe bashing, as marriages go up and down a roller coaster ride. Marriage is under siege and the idea is to eradicate the family and bring complete destruction. Most research indicates that the marriage roller coaster ride is violently going up and down and the family is taking a beating on every relationship turf, starting with marriage. As a result of the ride, the Christian therapist bent on finding healing answers, stands on the sidelines waiting for couples to get off, take a deep breath, and put their hands in the air as they make their way down hill screaming HELP!!!

As one of those therapists waiting on the sidelines, when those seeking my help decide to schedule an appointment with me, my first question is usually “how can I help you”? That simple, yet riveting question, has managed to reap a colossal array of responses, one of which is usually “how can I save my marriage? I think my husband/wife hates me.” This response is most times followed by whimpering and sobbing from being on the ride of their lives for so long, as they try to figure out what they did wrong and why they ever got on the ride in the first place. The response to this ongoing ride is mind boggling, sometimes even for the therapist, bent on helping to repair the emotional and verbal bumps and bruises already suffered. While the desire is always to see the glass half full, some scars are very deep.

The hurt, discouragement and rejection that is felt during this life changing ride leaves one’s heart in a fright that is second to none. However, all should not be lost knowing there is an answer on the horizon that brings comfort and healing on every downward slope. It is up to the therapist to prescribe tools that bring comfort and release, especially when the ride seems unending. There is a remedy for this Gaslighting (form of emotional abuse) that has the potential to cripple one’s dreams, desires and hopes.

What or who is the answer that brings lasting hope?

Where can the couple find lasting peace when all they see is chaos? 

Should the couple be seeking happiness or joy and where does this lie?

How can one find comfort in a devastatingly uncomfortable situation?

The voice of hope, peace, joy and comfort, beckons to the man/woman questioning why his/her husband/wife hates him/her, letting him/her know there is an everlasting love that can be realized even when all hell has broken loose in the once loving home, that was at ease on the upward slope. Despite the anguish that this ride sometimes causes, there is healing to be embraced as the victims, release themselves and victoriously scream as they get to the bottom of the ride ALL IS STILL WELL!!! “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds” Psalm 147:3

Priceless Daughters of the King: Part 1

Proverbs 31:10 exhorts: “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies”. As one reads through this most memorable proverb, the writer makes a declaration about the woman of virtue, who God aspires that all His daughters strive to become. Her characteristics are that of being trustworthy, hard working, prudent, excellent, respectful, strong, professional, helpful, classy, regal, humorous, kind, energetic, virtuous and absolutely “priceless”. The author of this awe-inspiring scripture explains that this woman is worth more than rubies. Though the celebrated saying announces diamonds to be “a girl’s best friend,” rubies and sapphires are mentioned more often as priceless jewels in the Bible. Therefore, this woman of virtue is viewed as precious and expensive to those who recognize her likable qualities.

This daughter of the King of kings adorns herself with inward beauty and grace that can only exude as a result of her relationship with the Lover of her soul. According to one source “Great heat and pressure were required to transform the source materials in rubies into the hard mineral that they become”. Hence, this description of those most blessed to be called God’s daughters requires that they endure great heat and pressure, to become the precious jewels God intends.

Let’s talk about her clothing as revealed in Proverbs 31:

31:17 = “She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”

31:22 = “her clothing is fine linen and purple.”

31:25 = “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”

One could venture to say, like the song writer some years ago, “I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR”, and speculate whether they could accomplish her persona and fit into her mold. My sisters in Christ I venture to say we can, but only by the grace bestowed on us by our Father. When we enter into a genuine relationship with Him, we are branded as His called and glorious inheritance (Ephesians 1:18).

However, there is a price to be paid and it happens in the crucible of combat. If you’ve ever wondered why the trials seem so severe, or why the enemy is always on your tail? The answer lies in your becoming the priceless ruby God intends. One jewel expert said “One of the most remarkable things about the formation of rubies is that geologists are not sure how it happens. Without question, however, the very existence of rubies is something of a minor geological miracle”. Experts also said “Rubies are a red variety of transparent corundum” and corundum is a rare find. As daughters of the King, we too are rare finds and must carry ourselves as such. We are continuously fashioned on the Potter’s wheel, which at times can be a painful process. To Be Continued…

Priceless Daughters of the King: Part 2

To continue our acknowledgment of who the priceless daughter is, we go center stage with the narrative of one of the King’s priceless gems. As we venture into her life, we are greeted by a happy wife. Her name means attractive, pleasant, and beautiful. When famine came upon the land her husband made the decision to move to Moab. Though this seemed like the perfect place to settle, it was also the place where Naomi suffered significant losses on her journey to becoming priceless, eventually changing her name to Mara (bitter). She suffered the loss of her husband and two sons who were her most prized possessions. These major losses, though they seemed like stumbling blocks, would render her the vessel God would use to win her daughter-in-law Ruth to His kingdom. Ruth’s son would inevitably become part of the lineage of the Messiah Himself. From the beginning, she was a priceless ruby in the making. (Ruth 1-4)

The question is presented to you today: How are you being made in the crucible of events God is utilizing to present you priceless to those watching your journey? Have you suffered major losses? Has illness tried to strip you of your pleasure? Do you feel alone and afraid? Do the negative circumstances seem to outweigh the positive ones? Does your weeping seem to be enduring for more than a night? Do you feel that God has forgotten you? Do the stumbling blocks of life seem overbearing? Do your past wrongs seem like they are dictating your future? Does the price of becoming priceless seem too high to pay? If any or even all these questions have infiltrated your journey, I encourage you today “DON’T QUIT”. No matter how difficult it may seem, you are in the process of becoming a priceless gem in the hands of the Master.

The priceless woman is not priceless because she has acquired power for herself or because she is capable. She is priceless because she has learned, in the fire of being made, how to serve the Lord with all her heart. She has embraced her suffering with strength and dignity. She recognizes she is transparent corundum, a rare find, a woman destined for success and victory. She will say with the psalmist:

 “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God? They cannot be numbered”! (Psalm 139:13-17)

The clothing depicted in Proverbs 31 equips us to be priceless daughters of the King. We must unite in our pilgrimage to become virtuous women, invaluable rubies who cannot be fathomed and whose depth cannot be measured.