Making Lemonade

Editor’s Note: Throughout the month of June our writers will explore the way that God, grace, and the gospel show up in pop culture.

So I’ve been hearing for weeks about Beyoncé’s new album, Lemonade. I finally decided to go find out for myself what the hype was all about. I didn’t get to see the videos of all the songs but got the gist by watching a recap of the album on youtube. And that is when I finally understood why everyone online was talking about it…her whole album is dedicated to her processing her husband’s infidelity.

Beyonce-New-Album-Lemonade

Deep! Especially since we don’t know what to do with infidelity in our culture. We can’t get enough gossip, learning about who cheated on who, be it on a soap opera or real life. Conventional wisdom says “leave him!”  

That is what makes her album so appealing. She not only graphically sings, rhymes and dances her negative emotions in the first part of the album but she then turns a corner towards forgiveness. She is not unique in this as movies like Sex in the City and The Intern have touched upon infidelity and forgiveness. Yet her album seems to be a lot more REAL in explaining the range of emotions and difficult process that is necessary in walking towards forgiveness and reconciliation.

But here is the thing – Beyoncé’s album is not a blueprint for real life forgiveness. There is a blueprint, created long ago and found in the words of the Gospel. Now some of you may know that the Bible does speak on divorce and states how infidelity is a reason for people to divorce.  And yet, the whole reason for Jesus’ coming to earth was to forgive us our many, many sins.  

Christians are encouraged time and time again to forgive others. This forgiveness is not limited to someone hurting your feelings, but includes the really hard things committed against us.  Things like the murder of a relative, rape and incest, and yes, infidelity. The Gospel doesn’t say it will be easy but it gives us hope in knowing that we can be blessed, freed, and given peace if we do.

For anyone out there who has suffered any atrocities or deep wounds, I encourage you to walk toward forgiveness. Though I have not suffered infidelity by my husband, others have inflicted my soul and body with much pain and suffering. Forgiveness was not a journey I chose but rather one I was forced to take over many years. There were many moments I did not think it would be possible, doubting the need and point of forgiveness, unable to find the courage or hope necessary to forgive. Yet out of God’s grace, many came alongside me to help, pray, counsel, love and encourage me along the way, strengthening my resolve in taking steps toward forgiveness.

Lemonade is only possible when we squeeze the life out of lemons. Then we add the cleansing and life-giving water to it.  After that, we add some kind God-given sweetness before adding some ice to a glass, filling it with our refreshing elixir and taking a sip to cool our bodies, minds hearts and souls.  Maybe it was apropos for Beyoncé to call her album Lemonade as a great reminder that life is not a box of chocolates. Life is hard, painful and often unclear but one filled with much complexity and wonder if we surrender it to God.

Written by Ana Lopez Van Balen

Ana Lopez Van Balen

Ana Lopez van Balen is a social worker by training who has spent the last fifteen years focused on supporting the healthy development of individuals, families & communities. She currently is the National Director of Community Development at Urban Strategies-a national faith-based organization working to tool, connect, and resource grassroots organizations to serve children and families in need. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, both of which are big believers in living locally–knowing your neighbors, supporting your local community and doing everything you can to help make it better place for all. This means opening up their home to friends and neighbors, participating in the local food-coop and serving on the advisory council of a great local organization called Food For Life!​

About Ana Lopez Van Balen

Ana Lopez van Balen is a social worker by training who has spent the last fifteen years focused on supporting the healthy development of individuals, families & communities. She currently is the National Director of Community Development at Urban Strategies-a national faith-based organization working to tool, connect, and resource grassroots organizations to serve children and families in need. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, both of which are big believers in living locally--knowing your neighbors, supporting your local community and doing everything you can to help make it better place for all. This means opening up their home to friends and neighbors, participating in the local food-coop and serving on the advisory council of a great local organization called Food For Life!​

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