Lament

Fifteen years ago, I was young and idealistic.

I was on mission for Jesus—literally.

I was in the orientation week before a year of full-time ministry.

My faith was real.  And it was strong.

It had already held me through loss and betrayal.

Though not yet through the grown-up anxiety that I’d meet the next year.

Fifteen years ago, innocence shattered.

The world as we knew it was changed.

And I was challenged to write a lament.

I tried.

Looking back, it feels simplistic.

Too chirpy and hopeful.

I had not yet wailed on my knees.

I had whined and fussed in my adolescent angst,

But I had not yet ugly cried over a little one gone too soon.

I had not yet stifled sobs over missing someone so hard that it physically hurt.

I had not yet screamed at Jesus in my car with hot, angry tears puddling in my lap.

Y’all, I feel like I could write a lament today.

Not for me.  Not for my babies.

But for dear ones that I have come to love.

Jesus, we don’t know how to do this.

And we are so far from knowing how to do this well.

This has been my prayer a lot lately.

To a God who isn’t scared of my ugly cries or my screaming.

To a God who is big enough to take them all.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…

Our fumbling, inadequate words.

Our hard, honest questions.

Our big feelings.

But we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence

Honestly.  Boldly.  With all our mess.

So that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4)

Not easy answers.  Not quick fixes.

But the presence and patience and grace of a God who sympathizes with our weaknesses.

A God who isn’t offended by our chirpy, hopeful prayers.

The ones that feel too simplistic in retrospect.

A God who isn’t scared of our ugly cries.  Our screaming.

A God who hears our laments.

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Do what matters.

Sit, Mama.

Little One pats the floor and invites me into an imaginary game with inscrutable rules.

We line up dominoes in a seemingly random pattern on the carpet.

And when we are done, the delight is palpable.

Did it!

Little One squeals and gives me a high five.

There are one thousand things to do at this exact moment, maybe even more.

But right now, this is the only one that matters.

***

I’ve been reading Ecclesiastes lately and scribbling notes all over the margins of my Bible.

This is what “journaling” looks like for me right now.

And it is good enough.

I’m finding less pessimism here than I remember.

And more wisdom.

Solomon’s redemption ache is not foreign to me.

So I drink in his wisdom about the seasons of life (Ecc. 3:1-8),

My margin-notes say

Make the most of this season.  Do what matters.

These words echo in my mind all week.

Sometimes this season feels so hard.

A toddler and a preteen.

A job shifting all around me, constantly asking for more.

Resolution in Little One’s case so close I can taste it.

Almost.

Do what matters.

I’m not sure how to do this, really.

But I have a hunch that it starts right here.

In my living room floor.

Lining up dominoes.