One of my favorite Christian authors is Jen Pollock Michel. In a recent email, she asked a series of questions for reflection of 2022. One of her questions caught me by surprise – “What did I lament?” This is certainly not something I typically allow space for in my thoughts but it made me curious enough to explore.
My lament stems from the feeling of emptiness. My full time job over the last 23 years was being a mother. While I worked professionally for the first 18 months of our daughter’s life, I have spent the majority of it being solely our home’s manager. Both children are now carving their own path and my full time role has come to a close. While I will always be their mother, my life is void of direction.
I do find this season of life filled with endless possibilities; it also bears a sense of mourning because raising my children has ended. While many would find this new found time a luxury, it feels like a deep canyon with rugged rocks to climb in order to reach the top.
Just when I start to create momentum, I fall back into the pit of paralyzing motion. This typically happens when our family has been together and then they return to their adult lives. The stillness of the house overwhelms me with lament for the days gone by and the sound of their voices. After a couple of days, the wheels begin to move again, but I have never allowed myself the space to grieve this particular loss, particularly with God. This cycle has repeated like a hamster wheel over the last several years.
I am not one to acknowledge my sorrows because there are so many others who face greater grief than I do. As women we typically don’t allow ourselves space to lament because we have others depending on us to get through the difficult times our families/friends face. This thought of grieving is an emotion society has helped keep off the important list.
This idea of leaning into lament is something that I think is missing in my relationship with the Lord. I typically pull up the boot straps and muddle through the sadness without relying on God to walk along with me. I have chosen to believe the lie that my sorrows aren’t worthy enough to release to God.
Lament is a Hebrew word described as wailing. Another way to describe lament is groaning or crying out in pain. While it can be used as an active noun or a verb, I also see it as a passive process. Lamenting can be caused by a plethora of reasons, some more tragic while others are less obvious. The grief can impact all crevices of our spirit, soul and body.
While pain and grief come in all forms, God desires us to turn to Him in those times of sorrow. Lamentful prayer impacts how we see and trust God. Choosing to grapple with our grief and sorrow on our own only draws us away from the Lord.
The bible says: “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”Psalm 34:8 In this world we will suffer, but in Christ we can find hope, grace and mercy while we deal with the aftermath of our grief. It is during this time we are strengthened while we wait for the promise of no more suffering and pain. We have a Saviour who experienced greater pain than we can imagine and He promises to by our side as we endure ours.
Regardless of whatever the pain is in your life, whether it is trivial or significant, it matters. We should be a community of believers who support the process of lamenting. I think Psalm 34:19-20 says it best: “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all, he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” Even though it is difficult to understand why we have to suffer, we have a Father in Heaven who will walk the road with us.
It would be a blessing to pray a lamenting prayer to God on your behalf. You can email me at [email protected] .