When Life Gives You Lemons

We have all heard the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But what if life just keeps throwing you lemon after lemon after lemon, so that everything seems to turn sour? After getting through my young son’s illness, giving birth to our 5th child and recovering from the C-section, it seemed like life was finally getting “back to normal”, when we got hit with the dreaded virus. 

I fell ill right after saying goodbye to my grandmother and I couldn’t even go to her funeral. One by one, the kids all got sick and then finally my husband. While the kids and I all recovered within a few days, he did not fare so well. We ended up in the ER and he was diagnosed with pneumonia. 

So here I sit, taking care of five littles and a sick husband, while simultaneously homeschooling, breastfeeding and working from home. As a stay at home dad, he normally takes care of all the cooking, cleaning, dishes and laundry so we’ll just throw that in too as the icing on the cake. 

Yes, I feel a bit overwhelmed and stretched thin, yet as I did before when my son was sick, I call on my Lord and Savior to BE my strength. Not to give me strength, but to BE my strength. And I am not overcome. The kids pitch in to help out a little more, the baby sits in her high chair a little longer and somehow, life just keeps moving on. 

Now that we have entered into this beautiful season of Lent, I don’t even have to look around for sacrifices and penance. Jesus lovingly gives it to me of His own accord! All I have to do is accept it, embrace it and offer it up for others. 

Today’s First Reading reminds me to “Cry out full-throated and unsparingly, lift up [my] voice like a trumpet blast…seek [God] day after day and desire to know [His] ways.” It reminds me to abandon my cares to Him, forget myself and my woes and think rather of others. The oppressed, the hungry, the homeless, the naked, all those who have it much worse than I do.

I recall talking to a fellow parishioner. She has four boys, lives in a broken down trailer and her husband was deported. Yet she does not complain, but rather gives thanks to God that she has a roof over her head, (barely) enough to pay her bills and she and her children are healthy. She even goes so far as to say that others are worse off than she is. She embodies today’s Psalm “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn”. 

So as we navigate through this first week of Lent, let us recognize our own lemons, i.e. crosses, offer them up to the Lord, and seek to alleviate the crosses of others. “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: ERnest Porzi, https://unsplash.com/photos/Z-Y6I45f9kQ