When Life Gives You Lemons, Living Without Clean Water

When life gives you lemons, let them brighten the darkness


As I sit here writing to you, my stomach is turning and the pain is increasing by the minute. My baby boy’s temperature is spiking, and there is nothing I can do to stop it. For the past three months, life has literally chucked lemons at us. But with the pain and suffering we have endured through these past few months, I have a powerful message to pass on to you.


Nothing can stop you.


If you have followed me on Facebook, you may know a bit about what we have been facing. If you have subscribed to this blog, you may have had nothing in your inbox for some time. Just over a year ago, we left our town house to rent a beautiful five bedroom home on 200 acres. It was a perfect fit for our big family, and it was surrounded by crown land. It was our first taste of peace and serenity, life was good. We spent hours building a beautiful garden, making a house our home.



Until the unforeseen happened.


In fall of last year, the landlord fenced in the land and brought his cattle in. We didn’t mind having them around. Our older son would often go out to see them, feeding them grass and giggling if they snatched it from his hand. As the snow melted in spring, we all became ill. Assuming it was a normal virus, we waited for it to run it’s course. That was, until it didn’t go away. Our water began to smell like sewage, it turned brown, and we looked around to find our well.


Ecoli Water, When Life Gives You Lemons


There it was, in the fence, surrounded by cattle along with their manure.


Cattle around well, e coli water


We had the water tested. It turned out that the water was contaminated by coli-form bacteria. A broken line was fixed and the well was shocked. By this point, my husband had been missing a lot of work, and the employer didn’t seem to believe that he was actually sick. Our financial situation took a hit, but he managed to find another job in good timing.


All was good, and we slowly started to get better.


In May, my husband began to get very ill. The doctor believed it could possibly be Lyme disease. A week later, I became incredibly sick as well. Our children whined as we lay in bed shaking and freezing and writhing in pain for well over a week, until they too began feeling the same symptoms. They screamed as the stomach pain and fever hit them. All except for our baby, who was drinking nothing but milk. This continued for 6 weeks, and the doctors had no explanation. As I slept through a feverish chill, I dreamed. People everywhere were drinking glasses of water. When I woke up, it clicked. The sickness..


The water was contaminated with E coli.


Sometimes awful things happen. Nobody is immune to it. But have you ever had something happen, and no matter what you did or said, nobody cared? Nobody would help? It’s one thing to suffer, and another thing to feel that there is no way out, nobody to help. Truth be told, my faith took a hit..


Maybe, God didn’t care. Why does he allow suffering?


“It’s not fair! Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” Have those thoughts ever come through your mind? They are, completely normal feelings and reactions. But they are also feelings that have no good purpose other than for mourning and moving on. The truth is, this life is not fair. We suffer. We receive treatment that we never should. This is the test. Depression and anger can take hold of your heart and turn you into someone you are not, or you can choose to see things from another perspective.


The question is, can you rise above? Will you still choose hope, life, and gratitude?


The worst part of this story, was that we called our landlord and explained the situation. We took pictures of the cattle rubbing against and chewing on the well. We were ignored. After a week or so with no response, we took our situation to a higher power. I called tenancy board and they said they could give us papers to collect costs from our landlord.


That still didn’t solve the problem!


In the meantime, we were boiling all of our water for washing dishes and drinking. If you have children, you probably know how much water you go through in a day. I couldn’t keep up. We showered our little ones at a neighbor’s. We lived this way for months while our landlord continued to ignore the situation. We missed work, church, celebrations, family functions, and people were starting to become angry with us. We were stuck at home, unreliable, and had nothing to offer anyone as far as help or relationship.


We felt dead, and even with boiling our water, the sickness kept coming.



Finally in July, a health inspector came and urged the landlord to fix the problem. The cattle were to be moved away from the well, and the well was to be shocked. We were provided with clean drinking water. It took 3 weeks of shocking the well before the e coli was gone.


Still, the sickness kept coming.


It is now August and we are still getting sick. Our doctor explained that once the e coli infection is in your gut, it doesn’t leave that easy, and there is nothing that can get rid of it. We still hold our children while they scream in pain as the illness returns with a vengeance. My husband still misses work every week. We found a tiny apartment in the city and gave away most of our belongings. It’s a tiny place we can barely fit into, but we took what we could get. Now, we are trying to move in the midst of being sick.


God forgive me.


I honestly hate the idea of living there. I had a hard time saying goodbye to our belongings. It doesn’t feel safe or comfortable, but there is also a prideful part of me that feels like I am better than that. Unless you can give up your belongings, your comfort, and the image have of yourself, you won’t truly understand what really matters.


Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?


Love, family, and sacrifice.


The truth is, many people in this world are going without clean water, food, shelter or safety. Here, in North America we live well. We cling to status, possessions and comfort. Yet, all of that is simply a distraction from what really matters. If we were to truly live and love like Jesus, none of it would matter. We would be deeply grateful for that which we do have. We would lift one another up in times of trouble.


We would understand suffering is a part of life, without blaming God. 


God cares. Your suffering is one part of the story, a story that will serve a purpose. The day I finally put my anger and pride aside and cried out to Him, was the day that people began to come to us. A friend gave us care, family came to help us pack up. Those who were angry became more understanding. The fighting lessened, and the stress melted away. Even as we sit here still sick, it doesn’t hurt so much. We know we are loved and cared for. So are you, even when it seems you are not. 


Don’t let life get you down.


Don’t let it change you into a hard bitter person. Don’t let depression come in and tell you it’s never going to get better. It can and it will. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not enough. You are. Don’t let fear tell you to run away. Stand and face the unknown. Don’t let anything tell you God doesn’t care. At the end of it all, He is the one that truly does. Don’t be afraid to share your suffering. We all face it. Every single one of us. We can lift one another up, with compassion and hope.


Today, I ask you to join me in a movement to help provide clean drinking water to those without. Share this post, and check out the following:


If you feel you would like to help us get this difficult time, we also have recently put up a GoFundMe

Matthew 10:42

“And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”


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