Have you ever wondered why it is some people can walk through adversity and actually use it to become better, while others go through a trial and they become bitter? One person takes the lemons handed them in life and turns them into lemonade. Another person gets the same bag of lemons and they allow them to sour everything in their life. Same bag of lemons, yet two different responses.
Last week I was introduced to two incredible organizations started by people who were handed a bag of lemons every parent fears, the death of a child. There is nothing sweet about having to bury your own child. It is bitter, acrid, sour, gut wrenching and painful. Yet these two families took this horrible bag of suffering and pain and started “lemonade stands” that are now serving and caring for others who need to know life can still be sweet despite the challenges of raising and caring for a child with special needs.
99 Balloons was started by Matt and Ginny Mooney. Their beautiful son Elliot lived for 99 days. At his funeral they released 99 balloons to celebrate each day they had the privilege to love and care for their son. Matt and Ginny started 99 Balloons to provide respite to families who have children with special needs, believing that if they care for the parents, the parent can better care for their child.
Nathaniel’s Hope was started by Tim and Marie Kuck. Their son, Nathaniel, was born prematurely with multiple and severe disabilities. He fought hard and brought joy to everyone he met. Nathaniel died at the age of 4 ½. Tim and Marie learned from Nathaniel that what may appear to be imperfect in the eyes of humans, really is perfect in the sight of God. Nathaniel’s Hope comes along side families to share hope, encouragement, respite, and resources.
I’m not completely sure why Matt and Ginny and Tim and Marie were able to become better and not bitter, but here are three observations I made:
- Both the Mooneys and the Kucks have a strong and vibrant belief in God. Their faith in Jesus gave them the ability to find peace in the midst of their pain and hope for the future.
- The Mooneys and the Kucks chose not to wrap up their pain and suffering and hide it in a closet. They share their story openly with others.
- The Mooneys and the Kucks are actively engaged with others in community. They chose not to isolate themselves but to stay intentionally connected to others.
I’m not sure what lemons you have been handed, but I do know you have a choice in how you will respond to them. I hope as you look at what the Mooneys and the Kucks did with their bag of lemons that it will motivate you to make your own pitcher of lemonade! I would love to sit down with you some day and enjoy a glass of your lemonade.