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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

When all you can pray are tears…

Joy is gone from our hearts;
    our dancing has turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head.
    Woe to us, for we have sinned!
 Because of this our hearts are faint,
    because of these things our eyes grow dim
 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
    with jackals prowling over it.
 You, Lord, reign forever;
    your throne endures from generation to generation.
Why do you always forget us?
    Why do you forsake us so long?
 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return
    renew our days as of old
Lamentations 5:15-21 (NIV)

It’s been a rough season; I mean really rough. I realized today that I’d hit a wall when I warned my loved ones that there was no nurturing left within me, and I was going for a run, even if it rained. I nurture. That’s who I am. I can make lemonade from the sorriest lemons, and while I don’t bury my pain, I’m not terribly good at putting it out there and crying out in need.  God knew where I was headed, and so it made sense that in my reading of the Bible from Genesis to Revelations that is where I would be just now. You see, little Mary sunshine is all out of smiles. I’m not writing. I’m not smiling very much, and when I pray, all I’ve got are tears.

God is silent in the Bible
more than He speaks. While He is silent,
He is never still.

~Shelly Miller
 click to tweet some encouragement 
It’s okay. He knew I’d be here. He always knows. I look back over words I’ve written and appreciate that there are some lessons to which I am bound to return. Like this one…

This girl is weary, worn, and sad. Because I frequently forget that I am broken, I find myself humbled into painful submission as my shoulders sag under the weight of burdens I should never have carried any further than the Throne.  I find myself humbled to the point of painful submission when once again I take on more than any fool should reasonably attempt, when I’ve cast myself in the role of martyr and nobody cares because martyr is not my name. I frequently forget that I am broken.  Thankfully, when I remember little else, I remember to trust in the God that always knows.

So, Lamentations.  According to one writer, “Lamentations reminds us of the importance not only of mourning over our sin but of asking the Lord for His forgiveness when we fail Him.” My sins? Genuinely thinking I’ve got it all together. Isolating myself when life get rough. Believing that a) my brokenness wasn’t permanent, b) misinterpreting the crucible (my OneWord for the year) as an exile instead of a destination, and c)not drawing in each breath as a prayer of gratitude, because being grateful, being present, is all that really matters.

That is among the reasons why God placed me in Lamentations right now. I love the way He loves me. I love the way He tailors my universe precisely to the places He knows where I will go-remember, He knew I’d be here. And when I pray about being here and what it means, I am comforted by my personal lamentations-even in the form of tears, they are prayers. He hears me. He knew I’d be here and I know He was waiting.

I did some things today to ensure I wouldn’t cause any more pain than necessary; I measured my words, I kept to myself, and I granted myself the gift of time and sacred space, in the form of a run. I am on my way to better.

There are some new lessons this time. One, He has not forsaken me (that is not new). Two, while it may feel like joy has departed from me, in due season I know I will reap, because that is in His Word, even if I don’t know what reaping looks like (that is a new part of the lesson).

I’m off to listen to Joann Rosario sing When I Pray, remembering the wise words of my friend Shelly Miller, who wrote something I cling to…

God is silent in the Bible more than He speaks. While He is silent, He is never still.
~Shelly Miller

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