“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV
Lament? I think I know what that is?
When you hear the word lament what comes to mind? Before I heard a few sermons on lamenting, I just though of it as a complaint (which it is). But in a bad way. You know what I mean…a child’s whiny voice about having broccoli again? Perhaps the middle of a road trip when someone in the car threatens to ‘turn this car around!’? Is this the image of lamenting you also get?
Perhaps, you think of it in a strictly Biblical sense. A deep spiritual complaint to God in the midst of deep agony. The lament of a dying cancer patient. The sorrow of a parent who has lost a child. Just maybe you feel that to lament is something you can not do because you have never experienced something truly unimaginable in your life? While all of these situations bring on laments there is no exclusion on the depth of a person’s lamentation. All of us, in all seasons of life, have and should lament to the Lord our God.
To Lament is to…?
Lament means to grieve and complain to the Lord. Hearing this you may think, how could I ever do this? Perhaps you think you shouldn’t complain; I mean life could always be worse right? We are in the midst of a global crisis but while we are experiencing it there are definitely places in the world that are experiencing more of the horror than us right now!
Turning back to the words above, perhaps none of those tragic life situations have befallen you. Or, maybe you think your complaints are beneath what the Lord needs to hear. Especially in the midst of a crisis of this magnitude, perhaps you feel that you don’t need to trouble God when He clearly is needed elsewhere? For me personally, I find it hard to complain when I know others may be struggling worse than me.
Being a mother, my complaints usually follow uneaten dinners or toys that have not been put away at night. Like me, you have probably never considered complaining to God about those trivial matters. So who do you complain to? Your kids? Your spouse? Other moms? I do! While complaining to another person may make us feel better temporarily, complaining to God fills us with a deep satisfaction while also drawing us closer to our Creator.
When you lament, it opens up a dialogue with God. By telling God your complaints you start to talk to Him about more than just complaints. This opens up the door for you to give Him complaints, praise and glad tidings. To lament actually turns you toward God!
Psalm 102 (ESV) demonstrates the ultimate lament to the Lord. It is a prayer for those afflicted to pour out their complaints to the Lord. It starts by calling: “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you!” (Psalm 102:1). This Psalm than paints a picture of a person who has been stuck down by despair. This is a very familiar picture of anyone who has suffered from depression, loss or loneliness. It is a picture of a heart without God, one that is “a lonely sparrow on the housetop” (7).
Next the Psalm speaks of how the Lord listens to our laments and looks down upon us: “he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (17). He does not despise our prayers….ANY of them! No prayer is to big or too small for the Lord to hear it from us!
Lamentation in Motherhood
As mother’s we have so many laments! Some are consistent (the pile of laundry that never gets folded) while some change within our seasons. I want you to stop and really think about what I am going to say next… God cares about every lament you have (yes even about your dirty bathroom floor!).
I want you to give every lament you have to God. This is going to take practice but it will be so worth it for you! Everytime you let out a sigh because you don’t want to do dishes or every time you are fed up with a sibling argument, I want you to stop…take a breath…and tell God you are frustrated, sad, or angry. When you stop and give God your tiny complaints it becomes a habit. By creating this habit, it than becomes easy when something big arises that you need to talk to God about.
First I want you to make a list of all the things that have been bothering you! This can be as long or as short as you want it to be but strive to put at least 10 complaints on your list! This is just for you so it can be that your husband doesn’t take out the trash, that your kids just won’t do their assignments, or something seemingly as silly as you don’t want to clean out your closet but you know its time to spring-clean!!!
I want you to take this list and every morning when you wake up give one of the items to God. This prayer can be as simple as: “God I am angry/sad/upset about _______. I give it to you Lord so that I no longer have to be burdened by it. Amen.” As you pray, and give it to God, I want you to physically cross it off your list.
The more days you do this the easier it will become to lament every time you are frustrated throughout the day. When your kids are fighting, instead of yelling at them try yelling at God first and asking Him for the words to help the situation. When your computer just isn’t working and you have multiple meetings to attend, give your frustration up to God ask Him to intervene and than go back to work! You will be so amazed what happens when you stop and give your emotions to God.
I than challenge you to take this one step further…give God your triumphs as well! When you get so good at giving God all the negative in your life it will become so much easier to praise Him for the good in your life as well! When your computer works all day and your WiFi never goes out send Him up a thank you! When you spend a whole day with your husband and you have no arguments and it is the best day ever…give the Lord thanks! It will become so automatic! I promise that your life in fact will be changed by this behavior. You will feel better and see how much God actually impacts your life!
At this time it is ok to be sad. It is ok to be mad. It is definitely ok to tell God about it! Our world is changing and there is a chance that we may never have the same world that we had at the start of this year. The feelings that come with this realization are big and totally understandable. God knows them and understands them.
My generation and older probably have a good grasp on just how much the world can change almost instantly. Many of us remember when there was no conceivable way a school would ever need metal detectors. The thought of school shootings were barely plausible. Many of us remember what it was like to meet our loved ones at the gates of airports! We didn’t have to say goodbye at security. In fact, there are many many movies that have a hopeless romantic running through terminals to barely reach their soul mate who has just arrived at the gate with their boarding pass. Today, that person very well could turn up as just another news story of someone being shot.
Our world is changing. It is scary and maybe for some even exciting! We have no idea what we will wake up to tomorrow. Now is the time to lament! To pray and to ask for guidance on everything! God knows how this will turn out, we do not. This makes talking, and listening, to God more important than ever. We need God more than we have ever needed Him. He is our compass and our rock! Keep God at the forefront of all you do in this troubled time we are living in and you will be incredibly blessed for it!
You are all in my prayers!
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