At the altar of lament I found that sadness is a balm for a weary heart. It’s like warm water on achy joints.
There’s a comforting feeling when you actually come to the place of lament. I tried for months and couldn’t come because I still hadn’t given up my wishes and what I wanted to have as my reality.
But one night after months of emptiness and filling the voids in my life with meaningless things I sobbed my heart out because suddenly I saw reality and that my life is exactly what I’m experiencing and that a lot of the things I’m wanting are out of my grasp, Maybe not forever but for now. I saw that I’m completely at the mercy of the Almighty and that’s a reality I spent years running from. But as I cried I prayed to God and told him how I felt about life and him and all the expectations I felt from him.
I met God that night in a real way. He didn’t say anything but he soothed me with his love and I knew he was for me. For weeks after, tears were always right under the surface and I was simply sad. Not angry or resentful or bitter, just sad.
And then one day I discovered that God gave me joy and nothing else had even changed, my life was still the same.
But I learned a lot at the altar of lament.
Don’t become one with your sadness.
Sadness is real and necessary.
It refines you, and washes the wounds in the deepest parts of your heart.
When you embrace sadness you accept reality and that’s when healing can start.
Sadness is meant for seasons not lifetimes. Release it, watch it float away like a helium balloon. Watch it till it disappears on the horizon and welcome in hope. Changes are in the air.
You, dear brave heart are loved and cherished by the Heavenly Father. You have a bright future ahead.
I looked at you and I saw myself. I saw your beauty and I saw my flaws, I saw your weakness and I saw my strength. I smiled at you but I guarded my heart so you couldn’t hurt me and so you couldn’t see that I’m not perfect. I hugged you but held you at arms length ready to turn and run because you could prove to be more skillful, more beautiful, more valuable than me.
I saw you as a rival not a sister.
But then you proved to be a friend, you saw my walls and you didn’t let them stop you, you kept pursuing me and showing me that though I’m flawed I’m also beautiful, you taught me how to dance to the rhythm of my own heartbeat and you showed me how to be my own kind of beautiful.
I saw you as a rival, you saw me as a friend. You believed in me when I was at the end of my rope, you told me that I am strong and capable and that my dreams are my compass for the life our Father planned long ago for me.
I am seeing in you what you saw in me all along. We are a team, and when we join hands and walk together with our Father God we are unstoppable.
It’s not about trophies and medals and being the most attractive or the strongest. We are sisters with separate identities and individual callings and giftings that blend beautifully when we are a team.
I love you sister, thank you for loving me even at my worst
So many good things. Things that are hidden deep in your soul. Things hidden so deep you can’t even see them and you certainly can’t believe them. All the bad feelings, all the lies have smothered the truth. Shame has convinced you that you aren’t valuable. Rejection has told you that you are not worth loving. Depression sucks away the dreams. It has you convinced that you are nothing more than a failure. Just one big mistake.
You can’t see what I see when I look at you. You see bad. I see good. Maybe on the surface I can see the bad, but your heart is good. I want to see the good things about you. I want to find the true you. The one God created and called good. I wish you could see you for who you really are. You would be beautiful. You would be unstoppable. You would be free.
We sit in your church pews every Sunday convinced that we are a misfit. We believe we’ve been rejected by God and are living on death row. We don’t want to hear the latest news on abortion and divorce rates or your favorite rant on same sex marriage. We all know the Bible is clear, it’s sin and God hates it.
He will punish it.
We’ve sat in your office and told you our worst fears, that God has signed us off as unpardoned and we’ve tried to accept your reassurances but as hard as we both tried, we’re still here.
Some of us have turned away and left because the pain was unbearable then got written off as a rebel or an airhead.
No one is just a rebel. There’s an aching and lonely heart inside that person and you can glimpse it when you look in their eyes.
We are lonely and afraid and some of us have gone silent, pretending we now believe but we don’t.
Not everything is as it seems, speak to your people. We’re not the heathens of the land, we’re the children of God. We need to be fathered and cared for. We need training and discipleship not another history lesson or the latest doom and gloom.
There is no quick fix as much as we both wish there was but there is time, love, and relationship. That’s what we all need.
I’m lonely and afraid, not that rebelious girl who wears tight clothes and likes to flirt, or the quiet man who has a porn addiction, or the depressed mother whose children are loud and unkempt, or that perfect church girl who does everything right.
I know that life is undeniably hard. It’s one of the most outstanding facts I’ve learned in my 24 years of it. Living is aching for more and fighting with every breath but learning to release and let go.
Life is a combination of what God gives, what God allows, what God takes away, and what you make of it.
Life is a gift from your creator to you, his masterpiece but the gift is tainted with sin and redeemed by grace.
Grace is the key to your incredible life. Choose it, take it, breathe it in and let it wash over you.
Grace is God’s favor and it’s offered to you freely and bountifully.
The question is can you receive it?
Listen Love, life is what you make it to be and God gave you this life and it’s hard to bear it. He knew all the curses that you’d face long before He even formed your grandma but He created you in spite of those things because he wrote overcomer in your DNA. He made you a mighty warrior and He offers to train your hands for war.
Yet you lay there in the stillness of the night trembling in fear because you don’t think you have what it takes. Your life feels like it’s falling apart and you’re crippled by your fear of death and hell.
You don’t know that you’re in the palm of His hand and in the breath of His grace.
Breathe Love, breathe in His goodness and grace and listen to his heartbeat. You are safe, you are loved, you are chosen, you are enough.
Don’t let this fear be the end of your story, the rest of your life is waiting.
I may or may not have a slight addiction to old western movies. The drama, the suspense, the solid ending get me just about every time. And when there is a band of men fighting together to save the story – my heart leaps and wants to be a one of them. That’s the part that really gets me. I wonder what it would feel like to know that no matter how despondent or how captive I am, that someone will fight through for me. One of my own will come for me.
The Christian church is messed up. I don’t have to be smart to figure that out. I love the church dearly so please don’t think I’m a hater. There are too many people walking away from the church. Do you know why? Its because the church doesn’t have answers. They don’t know how to help people and they don’t know to help people heal.
I wish church were more like old westerns. How would it change your life if you knew no matter what happened, that someone, maybe even several people had your back? That even if you were tied up in the desert held by evil forces because of a mistake you made, that your ‘brothers’ would come for you. There would be no battle too hard or too dangerous that would keep them from securing your freedom. You would always know that they were convinced you were true and you knew the same about them.
That sounds more like church to me than what’s going on right now.
I’d like to tell you about something I’ve learned recently. Here it goes.
This past year I have been learning more about lies. Not about what a lie is, but what it does to me. Lies dig deep under your skin like a parasite. You don’t have to know where they are for them to destroy you. Lies have been trying to destroy me – they want to take out my life. I was reading a book the other night when feelings started stirring inside me. The book was amazing, it wasn’t about the book. When I started processing, I felt something coming to the surface.
Most of my life I have been labeled as strong willed. Just recently a couple of my respected human beings told me that I am strong. I want to believe that. And I might be just a bit smug that people believe that about me. But I don’t fully believe that I am strong. This is the lie that came boiling up to my mind after reading that book.
“I am not strong enough. I have fought hard to prove to myself and everyone around me that I am strong enough, but I’m not. I, Hope am not strong enough.”
On New Year’s Eve, KD and I were writing out our new year’s resolutions together. Actually she was writing and I was goofing off. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to actually think about resolutions. In between writing my goals, I scribbled this down in my notebook. “I hate New Year’s Resolutions. It just feels like another thing to fail in. I’m so tired of trying only to blow it.”
I don’t actually hate resolutions. I enjoy them. Why did I write that I hated it? Deep down inside of me there is a weariness that dreads the thought of more things to do. Every task is another test of whether I am strong or whether I’m going to blow it and reveal the lie’s truth. Projects are not just projects in my life. They are the enemy’s way of inserting the lie over and over again. “You, Hope, are not strong enough. You don’t have what it takes to survive this battle. Everyone else, now they are strong, but you are a failure.”
I know this is a lie. That means I’m on my way to freedom. This is step one. I know this is a lie. But I only know it in my mind not in my heart. My heart still believes that it is weak. Lies don’t come out overnight, I know that too. The strangest thing about this lie is that fighting doesn’t seem like the way out. I have to actually tell myself that I don’t have to fight to prove my worth. I am enough whether I fight or not.
This is what I do know.
With Him I am enough.
He is my Fight Song.
He will bring me out from the lies. I can’t do that on my own.