“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG
These days I meet a lot of discouraged people. Times are tough. You probably know folks in your inner circle, as I do, facing struggles like unemployment, debt, medical concerns, lack of access to education, military deployment of loved ones, divorce, anxiety, depression…the list goes on and on. Maybe you’re facing some of those lemons too.
I was swapping stories with some friends and we were talking about times when we felt burned out, frustrated, and alone. Then a funny thing happened: our conversation switched to stories about the remarkable things that have happened in our times of great need—the perfect job at just the right time, an anonymous donation, reconciliation with a loved one. I was so encouraged. Sometimes it’s when we think life can’t get any more sour that something sweet surprises us with hope.
Even when we can’t physically fix the problems in our friends’ lives—and if we can, we should!—we can always give each other the gift of encouraging stories. You may not be able to help pay your friend’s medical bills or provide a job, but you can talk about the times in your life when you unexpectedly discovered hope.
I call those lemonade stories, and I recently created a book project called God Makes Lemonade to share hope across America. I’ve read hundreds of true stories about everyday folks who are surprised by unexpected sweetness in the midst of sour circumstances…and more stories are arriving on my desk every day.
As a result of God Makes Lemonade, we’re spreading hope by supporting a better quality of life for single moms and their children too. When my wife and I were talking about a worthy cause where we could send the royalties from the book, nothing made sense to us like giving those royalties toward supporting single moms. They endure more stress and heartache than most of us can imagine—I really believe single moms and their children are the widows and orphans of our day and I love being able to support them in this way.
If you need some encouragement or if you know someone else who does, take some time today to think about your story. When were you afraid things would never work out? When were you surprised by hope? Do you have a lemonade story? Share it. There are millions of people out there who need hope and inspiration.
About the Author:
Don Jacobson is the creator of Lemonade Books, a series of books that tell true stories about everyday folks discovering something sweet amidst sour circumstances. He’d love to hear your story and he pays for stories approved to be published in future books. Find out how to purchase a copy of God Makes Lemonade or submit your story at their website. Also, follow God Makes Lemonade on Facebook and Twitter.