Monday, May 7, 2018

TURN LEMONS INTO LEMONADE

You have probably heard the statement, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." I am always amazed how God takes life's challenges and mistakes and brings good from them...if we TRUST and HEED the Holy Spirit's guidance. So, if things appear hopeless, don't despair or give up. Instead, seek God for His help and believe that He hears and answers, which takes us to the following story.

In March, I was making my mother-in-law's favorite from-scratch, double chocolate cake for her 95th birthday. However, when I took it from the oven, I was shocked to see that it looked more like a brownie than a cake. Reasoning that I had not properly mixed the powdered buttermilk, I stood with eyes transfixed on the grand failure, bemoaning the very thought of tossing out the ingredient-laden cake. That old nemesis, perfectionism, shouted, "You really messed up!"

Suddenly a gentle thought came, "Ask Me." I clearly didn't have enough ingredients to make another cake and there was no time to buy more, so I asked God how I could redeem the colossal failure before me. He answered, "Make truffles." There is nothing that our extraordinary God can't or won't do to help us! What is important to us is always important to Him.

I was so excited that I shouted, "Hallelujah! That's it!" I knew I had a package of cream cheese, so I added powdered sugar and Hersey's Chocolate Syrup to the cream cheese and pulsed it in the food processor. Setting that mixture aside, I then pulsed the chocolate "cake." Next, I took half of the cream cheese mixture and half of the cake and added both to the processor. That's when everything went awry. 

I turned on the processor and heard a horrible noise. Yes, you guessed it. The thick load was too much for the 30 plus year-old processor. The main shaft completely broke from it mounting. Suddenly I was looking at an even bigger problem. What was I to do? Frustration and perfectionism were joining forces to defeat me. Thoughts of resignation were whirling as I re-considered throwing it all in the trash and buying a ready-made cake.

You might recall from a previous blog, entitled SURRENDERED, that I discussed the ills of perfectionism, which can control and debilitate a life, because perfectionism never allows for mistakes. So far, my day had not been going the way I had planned. It seemed that everything I was doing was only leading to failure. "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless, the Lord's  counsel — that will stand" (Proverbs 19:21).

Again, I heard the counsel of the Holy Spirit in my spirit, "You asked Me to help you overcome perfectionism." Oh my! We have to be ready to expect anything when we ask God to help us, because often He will take us around the mountain and through the valley to see our need to be completely dependent on Him.

Then I heard in my spirit, "Hand mix it." What a novel idea. I depend on my appliances and kitchen utensils so much, that it rarely occurs to me to do things the old fashioned way.

I decided not to give up and forged ahead. After kneading and blending the thick mixture, my next step was to roll the "dough" into six-dozen—72 rolled balls. Finally they were ready for dipping into rich dark chocolate, which I had on hand. My kitchen quickly became a one-person assembly line.

Each truffle was dipped and placed on wax paper that covered both counters. After the chocolate coating set, I added the finishing decorative touches to each piece, and then stood back to admire the fruits of my labor. My one regret was failing to take pictures of the process and the finished product, because family and friends would later tell me that the truffles looked store-bought.

With patience, persistence, and God's guidance, what I had thought was a complete "disaster" had become beautiful, creamy, chocolate truffles that were a hit at Mom's birthday party. And the best part of the "mistake" was that she was delighted to have a generous supply of chocolate truffles to enjoy. All things had worked together for an even greater good.

Never give up! Never give in! God might have to take us through the valley to get us to where we need to be, but if we trust Him, we will emerge as victors!

God doesn't expect us to be perfect. He alone is perfect. However, He does expect us to make every effort to be all that He calls us to be each day, knowing that we will make mistakes along the way. And if we get too far off track, He just might take us around a mountain or two...or more...until we learn to depend on Him in every area, because He not only cares about our lives, He cares about everything we care about. Therefore, we must trust Him with our whole heart and not lean on our own understanding, because our understanding is limited and shortsighted.

When I resisted the temptation to throw the cake into the trash, God led me step-by-step in redeeming what had appeared hopeless and beyond saving. Are you struggling with a situation that seems hopeless and unredeemable? 

God is truly our Redeemer and Restorer in all things. Thank goodness that our struggles and challenges are never hopeless and beyond saving, because if we allow, He will guide us step-by-step in redeeming what appears hopeless.  

God understands that not only are we a work in progress, but we live in a fallen and broken world. Therefore, regardless of the situation, we must never give up; never give in to despair; and never settle for less. For when we submit our ways to Him, He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). We only have to cooperate with Him and believe that with His help, we can turn lemons into lemonade...or a failed chocolate cake into decadent chocolate truffles.

PRAYER: 
FATHER, Your Word tells me that though I suffer temporary trials, You allow them to prove and strengthen my faith, which is infinitely more valuable than gold that is purified by fire (1 Peter 1:6-7). Help me to never give up or give in to discouragement or defeat, but to trust and listen for Your voice that leads and guides me to a stronger, more resilient faith in You. In Jesus name, amen.












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