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.  

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9 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. I just read somewhere ( I honestly can't remember what book, which is the problem of reading too much) there is "clean grief/grieving" and "dirty grief". The clean kind is full of the lamenting you are talking about because it moves us somewhere. The dirty grief is of the devil and makes is believe it is all we will ever know, now or later (eliminates the hope of heaven). We need more people to share their clean grief. We need more people who are willing to teach us to lament.

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  2. I hear your lament, Liza, but more importantly, God hears it!! Ride out your storm(s), Jesus is with you! In the early years of our marriage, we had similar problems. We are now nearing 50 years of marriage and, looking back, we can honestly say we are thankful for those storms because those storms drew us so much closer to our Heavenly Father. We became totally dependent on Him because we knew we were helpless on our own! We still have storms but, we ride through them in complete peace, trusting in His promise that He is right there beside us. In fact, just recently, in the operating room I had an experience I will never forget! I had prayed for peace and put all my trust in Him. Right before the spinal was administered, a loving nurse put her arms around me and told me to lie my head on her chest. I envisioned myself in the arms of Jesus and an unexplainable peace came over me! The next thing I knew, I was in recovery. I will keep you in my prayers and, if ever you need to talk, I would be happy to listen and love on you, just as Christ loves us! Ruth

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  3. You're stewarding WELL the gift the Lord have you. He's pleased with you, Liza. I love this.

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    1. Gave...
      (The gift of LAMENT)

      Surely we all have access to such a gift as though it were in the lineup of those listed spiritual gifts, but without revelation on how to exercise it...? Well done.

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  4. Be encouraged my dear sister, you are not in darkness for God has so graciously opened your eyes to his marvelous light. Trials in this life are inevitable as a follower of Christ. A testing of your faith, to delevop perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. God in His sovereignty is refining you, sanctifying you, drawing you to Himself. Take joy in your sufferings. Trust in His steadfastness and unfailing love. Place not your trust and hope in this world, but on Christ and His resurrection. He has won the battle already. He loves you as he made you, not for what you do but for who you are in Christ.

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    Replies
    1. So well said, Kelcie! What a. hope we have in our risen Savior! So comforting! I like to think of it as having "tunnel vision".... keeping our eyes on Jesus no matter what life, or the world, "throws at us"!

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  5. One thing that's really helped me during this difficult season in my own life is this blog--> http://everybitterthingissweet.com/ Her writing is beautiful, and she really focuses on how we find God in the hard things.

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