Friday, March 27, 2015

Healing in the Dark



Catch up on the series here:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

We have lamented.  We have approached the Lord's throne with boldness, and we have brought our cries before Him.

We haven't been content to wallow at the bottom of the canyon in despair.  We have walked - limped and crawled, even - and we have journeyed through.

But what have we journeyed towards?  All of this putting one foot in front of the other...what has it been unto?

Restoration, right?  We long for our broken hearts to be mended.  The scattered bits of our life need to be put back together.  We wait for this bleak and icy winter to give way to spring and sun and warmth.

We are hoping for healing.  We are hoping He will make things right.  

...Right?

The problem with all of this, is that we live in a sinful world, full of disappointment, disease, and death.  Though we still fight and war and pray and believe God for sudden miracles, as we lament, and as we hope in Him for healing and restoration, sometimes it just doesn't seem to come.

Sometimes, he is silent.

Unmoving.  Unanswering.  Distant.

Sometimes, He does not heal.

Sometimes, the darkness lingers.  And sometimes, it gets worse.

And then?  Then our minds, and our hearts, reel.  If He is a good God, how could He allow this?  Why didn't He fix this?  Why didn't He help?  Doesn't He hear me?  Doesn't He even care?  Is He really good?  This must be a sick joke!

Millions of hours of sermons from the wisest people in the world, libraries full of theological books, and endless debates continue to tackle these pressing questions.

And then there is this little blog, and my little mind - a small, little drop in a vast ocean...  I am probably a little silly to even approach this topic, but you can just take it all for whatever it's worth...

I am beginning to wonder, at least in my own life and experiences, if I am journeying through the darkness and lamenting and wrestling with God and missing His healing.  ...or maybe missing the point altogether...

What if, on our deserted islands of darkness - longing for rescue - we are so obsessed with scanning the skies, waiting, watching and hoping for a helicopter to come and save us, that we missed the life boat approaching on the horizon...?  We were so caught up in listening for the beat of the helicopter's prop, that we missed the sound of sand crunching as the life boat landed on the beach?

In struggling through a fifth miscarriage, we look for healing to come in the form of a healthy, breathing, full-term baby, finally.  But what if healing comes in the form of two adopted babies?  Children who were in need of hope and healing, themselves?

In limping through financial demise, we look for healing in the form of a new job or a prosperous business deal to make ends meet.  But what if healing comes in the form of a new-found freedom and perspective in having less?

In suffering through years of cancer, we hope for healing to come in the form of remission.  But what if healing comes in heaven?  And several other families experience physical healing through an organ donation?

We might long for God to heal our depression - to finally feel a bit of joy again - but we may find healing comes as our ongoing struggle with depression brings opportunity to minister to others who struggle with the same darkness.

Let's go a step deeper, even.

In lamenting, and in bringing our cries straight to Him and in journeying through, are we hoping for healing in a change of situation?  In an end?  In a light at the end of the tunnel?  In a feeling of joy and happiness?

Are we journeying towards healing as if it were a thing, or are we journeying towards our Healer?  The Person?  

What if, in all of this mess, the point was to journey towards Him?  A more intimate relationship with Him?  A deeper knowledge of His heart, of His love for us, of His purposes in the world...   

I won't lie to you.  From the world's perspective, the journey towards Him, and the journey with Him isn't always pretty.  It isn't always easy.  We will die to ourselves and participate in His suffering.

This means it is costly.

There is sacrifice.  There is pain.

This means our hearts will break and our guts will wrench and our souls will cry out as we experience our own suffering, and as our eyes are opened to more and more injustice across the globe.

But.  

(And that is a big but.  ...Not to be confused with "butt"...)

As we die to ourselves, we are made alive in Christ!   And as we participate in His suffering (and fellowship with Him in it), we will also participate in His resurrection!  

In seeking Him - The Healer, the Great Physician, Comforter, Protector, Provider, the Beginning and the End - we will find true healing and restoration.  It won't always come as we expect, and in the time frame we desire, but it will come...and it will be deeper and more lasting and more transformational and much, much more powerful than the healing we even imagined in the first place.

...

I know those last couple paragraphs may have sounded a little trite to those of us who are wrestling with really, really dark stuff today...  

On my darkest days, when I doubt true healing and restoration will ever come, and when I am just plain mad about the sick joke of a life I am living in, my only consolation is to know that He is present.  He is grieving over the fallenness and brokenness of the world (and of my heart) with me, alongside me.

I say to Him, "This sucks.  This life is not as it should be!  You should hurry up and fix this mess!"

I hear Him say, "I know.  We agree.  This is not as it should be.  You should have seen Eden.  I can't wait to come, split the sky, and bring all things to restoration and resurrection."

I exhale.  Sigh a big sigh.

And, I inhale, and keep going.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep journeying through, and towards and with my Healer.  
SHARE:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hope in the Dark



Catch up on the series here:
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

A quick side bar - In a previous blog, I encouraged you to read your bibles, talk to the Lord, and seek some of these truths out for yourself.  "You don't have to take my word for it!"  (Remember Reading Rainbow?!) I should also mention that a lot of different books and sermons have heavily influenced this entire series.  I can't put together a formal bibliography because I've listened to and read these sorts of things over years - so much so, that now, I'm not even sure what are my own thoughts or others'.  I will, however, pass on two sources that I have been transformed by the most, aside from scripture...  1) John Piper's sermons on the book of Job, his series on hope, and several miscellaneous messages on suffering.  You can search by topic on the Desiring God website, if you are interested in hearing more.  2) The book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor...it is cheap on Amazon, and totally worth the read.

As I mentioned in another previous blog post, seasons change, and lament gives way to healing and restoration.  Though you may be convinced I am the most depressing person ever, if you keep reading, I promise to prove you wrong!  The closer we come to Easter, the more light will shine into this little series on darkness.

So, moving on.  Today, let's talk about hope.  (See?!  I told you more light would come a'shinin' in soon!)

Hope is a big deal when it comes to journeying through the dark in lament.  Like, a really big deal.  

Lament is not truly lament without hope.  

Lament is rooted in hope.  It is completely founded in hope.

But, you might ask, what is hope?  We use this word often, and I think it can mean many different things.  But, because I am not a seminary-trained theologian or a literary genius, or a dictionary, for heaven's sake, I would like to draw just two different pictures of hope.  Both depend on who or what you are hoping in.
1. You might be an athlete, hoping to make the winning shot in a basketball game - you could easily hope in your athletic ability, practice and training.  You might be a girlfriend, hoping your boyfriend doesn't break up with you - you could easily hope in your boyfriend's character, or even your own beauty and charm.  You might be a mama, hoping your baby doesn't die of a horrible sickness - you could easily hope in your doctor's wisdom and modern medicine.  You might be a middle-aged man, hoping to reach your destination safely - you could easily hope in your car's tires, or the caution of other drivers, or the weather forecast.  
I would like to argue that all of these things are untrustworthy and prone to failure.  All of these things can, and probably will, at some point, let you down. 

When we put our hope in these shallow, finite sorts of things, our hope is wishful thinking.  At best, it is optimism.  It is a fingers crossed, lip biting, knocking on wood, Pollyanna sort of thing.
2.  I think a better option is to put our hope in God.  He is trustworthy, always keeping His promises, always true to His Word, never failing.  He is not a sugar daddy, and He will not guarantee winning shots, healthy babies, safe travels and a breakup-free life, any more than a good earthly father will say "yes" to everything his sometimes immature and naive child asks for.  But, God does promise our good and His glory...  Which, by the way, is even better than all of those surfacy things.  He will do the miraculous.  He will do immeasurably more than we could ever hope for or imagine!
When we put our hope in the Lord and His character, our hope is confident expectation. 
Confident expectation.  We can be sure of Him - His nearness, His comfort, His answer, His faithfulness, His healing, His restoration, His resurrection.  This sort of expectation is faith-filled and fully-convinced.
This kind of confident hope in God produces endurance - endurance for our journey through darkness.

Hope produces the strength to keep going in the same way that hope for victory brings endurance to finish the race.

(...that illustration, I know, is from John Piper)  

Hope is the fuel to journey through, and come out on the other end...

Earlier in this series, I said that lament was a hope-filled journey towards healing and restoration.  

Hope says, "Even though it is still dark, even though I still can't see, even though I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, I will keep going!  I will keep putting one foot in front of the other!  I will keep moving towards because I am fully confident and fully convinced there is good and glory on the other side!"

Again, lament is not truly lament without hope.

Without hope, we wallow in our own despair, saying, "It will never get any better!  This is my lot in life!"  Instead, in hope (and in lament!) we bring our cries straight to God, knowing He can make things right.  He heals.  He delivers.  He restores.

Without hope, we whine, we pity ourselves, we become self-centered, we spiral downward and become more disconnected.  Instead, in hope and lament, we journey up!  The bitter cold and barrenness of winter journeys toward spring, and then summer!  

Without hope, we give up and admit defeat.  Instead, in hope and lament, we approach God's throne with boldness and wrestle with Him - not giving up, until He blesses us!
From Psalm 42:5 - Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God!
When we find ourselves in the dark, in the valley and in turmoil, hope!  Lament!  Go to Him!  Run to Him!  Journey through!

There is good and glory on the other side - miracles and immeasurably more than you could ever hope for or imagine.

I promise.

And, so does He.

SHARE:

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Walking in the Dark - Will YOU Lament?


Thanks for your crazy sweet responses to the lament I shared last week.  I was pleasantly surprised by your grace and understanding!

Catch up on the series here: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

I hope you, too, will join me in lamenting well.  I'm convinced we need more of this sort of thing in our friendships, communities and churches!

Bifrost Arts: Learning Lamentation from josh franer on Vimeo.

Something for you to consider...
In Hurting with God, Glenn Pemberton notes that laments constitute 40 percent of the Psalms, but in the hymnal for the Churches of Christ, laments make up 13 percent, the Presbyterian hymnal 19 percent, and the Baptist hymnal 13 percent. 
Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) licenses local churches for the use of contemporary worship songs. CCLI tracks the songs that are employed by local churches, and its list of the top 100 worship songs as of August 2012 reveals that only five of the songs would qualify as a lament. Most of the songs reflect themes of celebratory praise: “Here I Am to Worship,” “Happy Day,” “Indescribable,” “Friend of God,” “Glorious Day,” “Marvelous Light,” and “Victory in Jesus. —Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages Of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus, 2005), 159-160.  
Perhaps . . . [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing.A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?. . . In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?If not, why not?Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?
—Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages Of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus, 2005), 159-160.
Granted, this only speaks to worship music in the church, but I think these are shining examples of how we bypass lament altogether in many facets of life.  Instead, we value independence, positivity, victory, strength, control and confidence.

I am all for celebrating these things, in season, but if we bypass our weak, broken, dark times altogether, we must realize there are grave consequences.

When we do not lament...
We become apathetic towards injustice.
We become numb to the Spirit's work in our life.
We avert healing.
We become out of touch with reality.
We become irrelevant to a suffering world.
We become disconnected to others.
We become ill-equipped to minister.
We are dishonest with ourselves, others, and especially God.
To lament is to realize the world is broken, that something is wrong, that pain, hurt, confusion, anger, betrayal, despair and injustice exist, and that all creation groans for redemption.

When we are honest about this and when we address is appropriately, we pave the way for justice, ministry, connectedness, honesty, healing and restoration.

Because I am a worship leader and equipper, I can't help but think of opportunities to incorporate lament into songs and worship gatherings.  But, I want to encourage you to think about what lament could look like in your own sphere of influence.

Will you paint paintings of lament?  Will you share stories and laments over coffee with a friend?  Will you write and sing songs of lament?  Will you journal your laments?  Will you create space in your home for your loved ones to lament?  Will you preach sermons on lament?  Will you pray prayers of lament?

Ultimately, will you address the injustice and brokenness of the world and cry out to God with boldness and honesty?

We must be the change we're hoping to see in our churches and communities and friendships and in the world!  

Join me?
SHARE:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Capsule Wardrobe - Creating an Inspiration Board



Did you Google "capsule wardrobe?"  I hope you did!  There's a wealth of knowledge out there, people.  (To catch up on my endeavor, click HERE.)

But where to begin, where to begin...

An inspiration board.  That is where you should begin.

An inspiration board will help you determine your personal style.  
And that, my special friends, that is a big deal.

Finding my personal style has been absolutely, positively foundational in this entire journey.  It has helped me choose which items to keep or toss, and it has brought more focus on what things to add or buy for my wardrobe.  

I created a Pinterest board and pinned ideas of outfits, color schemes and clothing pieces for months.

...Granted, you do not need to pin for months, but that is just how long it took me, seeing as how I have two children under two that like to pull at my legs and take me away from things like style.  But I digress...

Oh, wait.  One more side note - If you are not a Pinterest fan, I'm sure you could do a hard copy inspiration board - maybe cutting out ideas from magazines and using some good, old-fashioned Elmer's glue...?  But really, I would highly encourage you to give Pinterest a shot.  It makes this process super slick.  I promise.

SO.  The ultimate goal in this first step is to have an inspiration board chock full of pictures and ideas that speak to you...  Or make your heart happy...  Or that you think are cute...  You get the idea?  Stuff you like.

Don't think too hard about this.  

I pinned hundreds of different outfits and color palettes, brand names and even some house decor - with no rhyme or reason.  Do NOT think about a theme or the price tag or the versatility of the piece or whether or not you would ever wear it or look fat in it.  (There will be plenty of time for that later.)

Right now, you just need to pin anything and everything you like.

Browse others' clothing and style boards (view mine HERE), visit style blogs, and do searches.  For more helpful searches, you could type in words about your lifestyle (stay at home mom outfits, professional, business casual, etc.), celebrity style crushes (Jennifer Aniston style, etc.), patterns you like (floral blouse, stripe t-shirt, etc.), adjectives (cozy, layered, minimalist, flowy, etc.) or certain pieces you know you like (scarf outfits, cardigan, riding boots, etc.).

Also, you may want to let this develop over time.  Pin a few things, then revisit the board in a few days to pin a handful of other things.  Let your board grow over a couple of weeks or even months. This is helpful, because, if you're like me, when I'm tired, I'll pin things like sweatpants and sweatshirts, blander color palettes, easy-to-wear outfits...when I am loaded on caffeine, I will pin more "going out" outfits and be more open to crazy patterns and styles.

If you let your inspiration board build over time, it will better represent who you are in a more overarching, fully-faceted sort of way.  It will be more balanced and reflect the real you.

So!  Go get 'em, Tiger!  Go pin some things, and check back for more updates this month!

PS - I would LOVE to see your inspiration boards!  Message me with your links!
SHARE:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Walking in the Dark - My Lament



To catch up on my little Lenten series on lament, visit the links below:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

So now that we know a little more about what lament is, let me take it a step further and say, "YOU can lament!"  There is a space of grace opened up to bare our souls and come boldly to the throne of God with our laments.

I'm a little nervous about this, but today, I want to share my lament with you.  But first a few prefaces, because I am lame like that...

Disclaimer #1 - As a culture, we can feel pressure to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and be "fine" all the time.  As a Church, there seem to be very few places to be brutally honest.  Where do we go with our griefs?  Our burdens?  Our sadness?  Our darkness?  I believe things should be different. 
I am not sharing my lament hoping that you'd feel sorry for me.  I am sharing because I feel led to be the change I am hoping to see in our world.  In sharing, I am hoping it will give you the freedom to lament and journey towards healing, too.
Disclaimer #2 - The following lament is, like I mentioned before, brutally honest.  You may be surprised, though, to find that it is patterned, intentionally, after some of my favorite laments in scripture (Lamentations 3, Job 13).  It is addressed straight to God - the only one that can really heal and mend - it lists my complaints unabashedly, my requests boldly, and declares my confident trust in Him in the midst of it all.  

Disclaimer #3 - If, after reading the following lament, despite all my convincing, you are still sure I am the most depressing person in the world, check back soon.  
As we get closer to Easter, I'll talk more about how seasons change, and how lament gives way to hope, healing, restoration, and resurrection.
Disclaimer #4 - Like my buddy, Levar Burton, used to say, "You don't have to take my word for it!"  So, I'd encourage you to read some more biblical laments, too.  Psalm 3, 22, 57, 139, 12, 44, 74, 80, 88.  Heck, all of Lamentations or Job, practically.  Just open your bible - I promise you won't have to look far.

Okay...  So without further ado, here is my lament.

...

We are the family who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought us into darkness without any light; surely against us he turns his head again and again the whole day long.

We have forgotten what happiness is; so we say, "Our endurance has perished so has our hope from the Lord."

In the last two years...

I was sick three months, pregnant with Will.

We left a ministry and a town and many people we loved to follow God's call in another community.

We spent many months wondering where our place was - lonely, confused, with lots of questions.

When the time came, I labored for forty hours, passed out before I was able to welcome my son into the world, and awoke to find...

Will had had several seizures, had to be resuscitated, admitted to the NICU, a spinal tap, a CT scan, an EKG, a MRI which found two large areas of stroke and bleeding on his brain.

We faced diagnoses of paralysis, epilepsy, developmental delays, and cerebral palsy in the first week of Will's tiny life, and were sent home to grieve, attend numerous doctor appointments and physical therapy meetings.

Mark suffered extreme back pain for months and had his own MRI, which found his bulging discs.  Physical therapy, chiropractor visits and a lot less of the activities he loved.

I grieved not being able to nurse and provide enough milk for Will.

I spent the next nine months in postpartum - seasoned with PTSD - depression, numb to my new baby, my husband and life in general.  

When Will was only 8 months old, we found out we were pregnant again.  Though we felt blessed, we were very scared.

I spent another three months sick, scared, depressed and very nauseous.

Mark logged hundreds of hours in seminary classes, on top of his more-than-full-time job at church - many, many, many weary nights.

Mark's close friend and beloved boss at church moved away.

We returned from our summer vacation to find our house had been hit badly with hail.  Instead of a season of much-needed rest, Mark spent the entire, entire summer residing and repainting our whole house, installing new windows, new doors, on top of other hefty projects to get ready for our new baby.

I continued to endure random migraine headaches.

Though I labored for a shorter stint this time, we were rushed into an emergency c-section, due to face presentation complications.  

Again, I passed out before being able to welcome our beautiful, healthy baby girl. I laid open on the operating table for hours as the doctors tried to stop severe hemorrhaging.  Mark wrung bags of blood into my IV to try to keep up with the blood loss.  I went into shock, my blood pressure plummeted, and ended up needing two transfusions - we logged our second ICU stay in the hospital.

We found I was unable to nurse, again, despite valiant efforts.  Formula for Baby #2.

I felt called to take a leave of absence from my ministry job and grieved engaging that part of my heart.

Our washer, dryer and computer crashed - just as icing on the cake, of course.

We sought out several specialists' opinions - how dangerous will it be for me to be pregnant again?  Will I hemorrhage?  Will it be risky?  Will we be able to have more biological children?  More doctors, more talk of disease, sickness and death.  More fear.

Just as we seemed to be hitting our stride as a new family, coming out of the haze and experiencing some joy again, we were ambulanced to Sioux Falls when our once-healthy-four-month-old-Charlotte developed meningitis.  Another ICU stay, another spinal tap, another CT scan, another MRI on another one of our sweet babes.  Two more weeks in the hospital, many sleepless nights, many, many more tears, questions, worries, and fears.

Now, Mark had seen his wife, son and daughter - all in life threatening positions.  All in two years.

And, just for fun, and because sheer exhaustion makes processing grief so much easier, our sweet, highly sensitive, high-need, Charlotte will.not.sleep.  Our life revolves around hours of rocking, patting, singing, sleepless nights.  Can't we just have one thing that's easy?

We are weary.  We are beyond weary...  When will things go right?  Is this our lot in life?  To suffer?  Always?  Is this all a sick joke? 

Lord, do not be far from me. . . . Come quickly to help me. Deliver me, come and save us.

Remember our affliction and our wanderings; the wormwood and the gall! 

Our souls continually remember it and are bowed down within us.  But this we call to mind, and therefore we have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  "The Lord is our portion," say our souls, "therefore we will hope in him."  

Though he slay us, we will hope in him.  Yet we will argue our ways to his face.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.  It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.  

SHARE:

Friday, February 27, 2015

I'm Starting a Capsule Wardrobe!



Friends.  I have been doing some major overhaul in the clothing department these days.  I am LOVING the results.  Thought I'd share some of my journey with you...

I stumbled upon THIS blog about a year ago and was interested immediately.  This same kind of approach in clothing is sometimes called a "capsule wardrobe"...

So.  What is a capsule wardrobe?
Your best bet would be to Google "capsule wardrobe" and let the pros teach you a thing or two about this.  If you want to know my two cents, though, I think a capsule wardrobe encompasses a few great things.
  1. Clothes you LOVE.
  2. Clothes that are easily mixed and matched - lots of no brainer outfits!
  3. A limited amount of clothing items...  This forces you to be extremely purposeful and stewardly about your shopping, discourages waste and really cuts down on hoarding.  Score.
WHY a capsule wardrobe?
Because I am ridiculous, that's why.  My closet was overflowing with clothes I hated, and though I continued to spend money on clothes, I was continuing to end up with clothes I still hated.  Deciding on an outfit for a day was a chore, packing for a trip was a nightmare, and overall, I just hated the way I looked and felt in my clothes.  Are you sensing a pattern?

Enter Hayley Morgan and The No Brainer Wardrobe.  I downloaded the Kindle version on my phone for a few bucks and got started.  I will say I really skimmed her book, as I thought most of it was common sense after you get the overarching idea.  Regardless, it was totally worth it.  My closet so needed an overhaul, and this was the kick in the behind I needed to get started.

Presently, I'm right in the thick of it.  I'm finding this transformation is much more of a process than a quick fix.  Every little step in the right direction, though, feels so freeing and exciting.  Finally, some stinking breakthrough, folks.

And you know what?  For the first time in my life, I think I actually am starting to love my closet.  Can't wait to share more with you! 
SHARE:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Walking in the Dark - On Lament



In this post, we decided to journey through darkness together.

In this next post, we started to figure out our approach - what to do with darkness?  Though we could try to avoid it and pretend like it doesn't exist, I think we all agreed it wouldn't be very helpful...

In THIS post, we talked about how often we view our darkness as a problem that we need to solve, or something broken that we need to fix.  However, as humans, we can only offer temporary fixes and shallow solutions, at best.

So.  I will assume we don't want to wallow in our darkness.  There must be more than this.  I know I don't want to stay here - stuck at the bottom of the canyon.  


I believe there is a way to journey upward, out of the valley and into the light through the discipline of lament.

Yes, lament...  

Do you know what lament is?  I am betting a lot of us have heard the word before, but may have vague ideas of what it actually is.  And it's no wonder...  Lament seems to avoided in our culture - and even in some of our churches.  

But, you guys...  I have found so, so, so much healing and comfort and freedom in lament over the years - and especially so, in the dark days my family has been living in recently.  I would like to invite you into my season of lament, in hopes of dispelling some false presumptions, and ultimately, with hopes that you, too, would find healing and comfort in the midst of your dark days

First, a preface.  I am no theologian.  I have never been to seminary or written any books.  I am not a professional counselor or psychiatrist.  I am only sharing what I have encountered in my own, personal experience throughout several seasons of darkness in the past 10 years of my life.  Take it for what it's worth!

I want to unpack what I believe lament is not, and then, not surprisingly, what I believe it is...


Lament is not hopelessness.  It is not necessarily equal to despair or depression.  It is not the same as giving up.  It is not a spiral downward.

Lament is not selfish and not self-centered.  It is not always self-pity.  It is not always whining.  It is not attention-seeking.

To lament is not to be weak.  

It is not to have little faith or to be lacking in trusting God.  It is not something to be embarrassed about, or necessarily even private about.  

Lament is not a "cry into the void."  It is not isolated and need not be a lonely thing.

_____

On the contrary, a lament is a cry directed to God.  It's when we bring our complaints and our hurts and fears and struggles and our darkness straight to Him.

In these ways, lament is a display of robust faith, knowing He alone can heal, and solve, and fix, and mend, and make things right, and make beauty out of ashes.

To lament is to be strong, courageous and confident in our identity before the Lord.  If we are truly His sons and daughters, surely we can approach our Daddy's throne with boldness.  It is seeing the brokenness of the world and in our hearts and saying, "I need You!"  Lament is the grace to bare our souls and take up our cases with God, that we may receive mercy and grace (and answers!) in our times of need.  This is similar to what Job says, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him, yet I will argue my ways to His face.

Rather than wallowing in our despair, lament is unto something.  Lament is blatant honesty.  It is authenticity.  It is transparency.  It is wrestling with God - telling Him, "I KNOW there is more than this!  This is NOT as things should be!  I won't let go until you bless me!"  It is fighting for more and journeying through the darkness and messiness and mire with endurance and with Him.

"At its very heart, a lament is an expression of trust in the character, power, and previous action of God—an expression of trust that looks beyond our current circumstances to what will be and what is—the reality behind the reality." (http://www.reformedworship.org/article/june-2010/my-god-my-god-why)

Lament is a hope-filled journey towards healing, wholeness, justice and freedom.

More to come.
SHARE:
© The DeYounge Life. All rights reserved.
MINIMALIST BLOG DESIGNS BY pipdig