The Altar of Lament

 

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I was curled up in the back seat of my car tonight talking with a friend.

We were discussing grief, I’ve concluded that all the times in my life when I thought I was going through grief I was actually dealing with alternatives.

I mean sure, I have had some really good long cries and I felt better afterwards. It was definitely not a bad thing  but they also have so far not helped me in the long term. Often I was simply feeling sorry for myself and I don’t think I ever faced reality enough to feel the full extent of my pain.

My friend was telling me how she always feels guilty when she pours her heart out to God because it feels like self pity. It made me take a good look at her life, she did spend years in bitter pain and agony but in the last couple of years she has walked an amazing journey and it started when she was honest with God. I knew that she was not feeling sorry for herself, she was actually lamenting. Then I took a good look at my life, I’ve never been real at all with my struggle and I’ve been wallowing in self pity.

I’d cry, I’d beat myself up both literally and figuratively, I would get lost in binge eating then attempted to throw up or overdose on laxatives and try to add more workouts. That’s totally not grieving, it’s just a sick form of idolatry.

I have scars on my body from cutting myself because I wanted to prove something:

  1. I was hurt
  2. I have a voice to let everyone know it.

But did it do any good? Not at all. Am I sorry I did it? I’m not sure yet. I sometimes have shame when I look at my scars but I more often have a sense of pride because I’ve felt they proved I have an excuse.

But now God has been calling me to the altar of lament and I really want to go but it means I’ll have to let go of this version of KD that I’ve discovered nad that means letting go of all of this bitterness and self justification and I’ll have to face the reality of what has happened to me and all the consequences of all I have done. It means I no longer have an excuse, I simply have brokenness and a God who will walk with me to wherever He wants to take me and that place might be somewhere I don’t want to go. I would have to come under authority and to me that’s scary, as long as I keep my knife, my alcohol, and all my other little idols in one hand I’m fine with reaching out to God with the other hand because then I’ll have some measure of control. But God has showed me that He has taken me as far as He can take me while I’m dragging the idols along on the other side of me.

I’ve been mulling this whole thing over for days now and I’ve been wrestling with God. It seems everywhere I look there is a message waiting for me on surrendering and facing pain and I know God is calling. Today I saw a quote “Let your grief be poured out so your cup can be refilled.” It speaks exactly into what I know, I can’t cling to this pain and expect to receive blessings, so I can either let go of the pain and walk with God or sit here in my misery till it either kills me or forces me into surrender.

I can just hear you saying, “but KD, why are you so stubborn and hesitant?”

I’ll be honest with you, I’m deathly afraid of the truth. I’m sitting here like a 3 year old who refuses to eat their broccoli and people all around me are coaxing and coaxing me to move on.

I don’t blame little kids for not eating their broccoli, have you ever tried eating something you hated and your gag reflexes kicked in?

My soul is rejecting the truth it needs and it feels like no amount of willpower will ever open me up to the truth.

I got drunk again this past weekend, it wasn’t planned but it happened, I found it was easier to keep pouring the drinks then to face reality but once again I’m seeing just how insidious and foolish it was.

I’m aching for the altar of lament if only I could gather up the courage to go there and cry and pour out my my grief. I’d become a whole new person I just know it.

But I don’t know where courage comes from. God, I need a miracle.

-KD

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