At 28 years old, your dreams don't include holding a funeral for your husband just weeks before your first wedding anniversary. Unfortunately this nightmare was the reality for Mattie. Amidst the dreams of a family and long God-centered marriage with her new husband Ben, came the new reality of a life without him after a tragic accident took his life. Instead she had to rediscover who she was and how to live through the crippling pain and devastation of being a widow.
When I chose Lemons on Friday, I had no idea how close to home this would hit. I had sat in an ICU waiting room making the very same decision with my mom, for the love of her life, my dad. I had no idea Mattie's story and mine would have such grave similarities, but God did. The outcomes may have been different but we prayed for the same miracles. Although Mattie prayed for miraculous healing for her husband, she didn't know they both would be receiving it in very different ways and so would my family.
Personalities and circumstances may differ, but one common thread we all share is grief. We will all feel it. We will all face it. Guaranteed. There is no way around it and only one way to get through it, God's unexplainable strength and peace. Every person's grief story may be different, but at the core, the emotions of unbearable heartache are the same. We can unite in what tears us apart inside. We can heal wholeheartedly when we allow God to walk with us through the pain.
I believe Mattie has experienced the answer to the ultimate question-why do bad things happen to good people? Suffering and loss wouldn't be anyone's choice to becoming stronger or wiser, but Mattie writes with a wisdom that only comes with the experience of years or anguish filled tears. She has an understanding of this life that many will never. While life here can be beautiful and full both of dark and light, the fact still remains that everything on this side of Heaven is both a gift from God and is temporary. The beauty remains that when we understand every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17) but that gift can also be taken away (Job 1:21), it's not to be cruel.
We don't get to keep anything forever on this earth, and we weren't made to want to either. We were made for eternity. And when we know Jesus and embrace our temporary status, our hearts can be filled with the promise of forever for our souls.
We all want the answers to the hard questions of life. We all must understand that in the searching, we may find more than just the answer we were looking for. We might be angry because it's not answered in the way we were hoping for, or we just might receive a clearer vision of life and of God than we had before. I believe Lemons on Friday will help you see a little more clearly through the power of Mattie's grief and her testimony.
Mattie says "As much as we may hate today, we have infinitely more reason to look forward to tomorrow." Hope isn't lost through our grief, it can be renewed and reimagined through the hardest seasons of our life. My encouragement to you is that hope can be found through Mattie's words and her story. Let the journey of her hurt help you walk you through yours. If you are searching for answers you just might find them here, in Lemons On Friday, because Lemons on Friday just might be lemonade on Sunday.