Hand Over the Lemons

lauren-mancke-63448I started writing yesterday and found myself in a stream of consciousness that did not want to STOP! When I looked back at what I had written, I realized what I had wasn’t one simple story but rather several simple stories that intertwine and connect by a common thread…. God’s Favor!  So, I’m making “When the Enemy Gives You Lemons” a short series of essays. I have no idea how many there will be… I’m simply going with God on this one! Enjoy! 


My husband and I recently returned from a four-day cruise to the Bahamas. The weather was absolute garbage for most of the trip – causing rough seas and itinerary changes. Not exactly a vacation worthy experience for most…. Or was it?

Take Pause

This is what I know about myself, I LOVE the sun and the outdoors. I wouldn’t call myself an adventurist but more of a naturalist. I simply love to bathe in God’s beauty – using every one of my senses to truly submerse myself in the wonder of it all. In every moment, I’m learning to take pause and take in! Embracing what God is showing me through His words, lessons, and gifts…. His Favor! The favor of God is truly amazing! You need only to choose to hand over your “lemons” and see what God gives you in return – LOOK FOR IT!!!

Hand Over Your Lemons

Our first port was meant to be Coco Cay, Bahamas but the seas were too rough to tender the boats back and forth from ship to shore. The captain chose to turn back towards Nassau to allow us the opportunity to enjoy the port overnight as well as the next day. The sun had been missing in action for a full day now, consumed by monstrous black clouds producing enough rain and winds to cause us to want to remain inside for the evening. We could have easily listened to the chatter – telling us that we should have expected the worst – that we don’t deserve better. But instead we took pause and realized that we choose what the worst is and we always deserve better. But “better” comes with growth and growth comes from choice.

Answered Prayers

For years I have whined and complained because my husband doesn’t play cards with me anymore. We always loved playing dealer’s choice and Tunk is my favorite! During our evening at port, while feeling a bit trapped by the weather, we found ourselves at the library picking up a deck of cards. That evening and every day after, we sat for an hour or more and played cards together. Talking and laughing but more importantly, remembering why we fell in love in the first place.

See here’s the thing; I’ve been praying for exactly that – for God to help us find our way back to one another. To trust one another and allow ourselves to be the truest versions of ourselves – no walls and no judgment. God gave us this gift this week. By limiting our distractions, God forced us to truly look at one another as well as look deep within ourselves. To push aside OUR FEARS and see God’s truth. Because it truly is FEAR. If you are hiding in any way from your partner, you are hiding out of fear. Fear of being hurt, judged, shamed, and so much more. This is not God’s plan – this is the enemy’s plan!

Don’t be fooled – we DID NOT flow gracefully into God’s plan that evening in Nassau. Sadly, the enemy had his moment, but then we took pause. Finally seeing what God was handing us and our entire point of view changed. As if the gift of love and connection between the two of us wasn’t gift enough; God started placing little pebbles along our path. Amazing and wonderful human beings who shine with kindness and understanding. Beautiful children of God!

Another gift… an answered prayer. A prayer for connection, friendship, and understanding among like-minded people. A prayer I have cried over for years – feeling unheard and abandoned at my loneliest most isolated moments. Moments when God was always there –  Sitting next to me. Holding my hand. Reassuring me I was not alone. Moments in which His presence was unrecognizable to me. Now I see, I could not have passed through these moments without Him. What I saw as isolation, was simply an opportunity to grow my dependence in my Father. I’m finally leaning in and looking at life from His perspective and what I SEE is BEAUTIFUL!

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  Psalm 84:11



Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “Hand Over the Lemons

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