I found out about this book in an interesting way. It was featured in a morning devotional I read a few weeks ago. I read the excerpt from the book, read the devotional, and was completely blown away. It was like I had written those words. No, I didn’t have the same experiences that the author, Esther Fleece, had. But, the experiences of my life, what has brought me to the place I am at now, have broken me to where I knew this book would be a good resource. I purchased the book a day or two later.
Like I said in last week’s blog post, https://alisarussell.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/gods-tears/, I have been an expert at faking fine while talking to someone in person. I’ve written a lot in this blog about the things going on in my life, but have had a hard time talking about them. Writing has been a healthy outlet for me as I’ve processed events in my life and how they relate to my faith. As I’ve said before, the last few years have been a struggle in believing that God was with me in my pain. It seemed that the bad things wouldn’t stop happening.
The devotion and the book have brought the word “lament” into my vocabulary in a real and personal way now. Yes, I had heard the word before, but it was more of a biblical word than a word that I used in my own life. Reading this book has changed that for good. Ms. Fleece’s words about her life, feelings, and faith personalized “lament” in a way I could understand. She was honest about everything she had gone through. Honest to a point that I would tear up at certain portions and wonder why the events of my life were bothering me so much. The old adage of “someone always has it worse than you” entered my mind. I’ve done that a lot myself. Stuffed things inside my head when someone talked about having cancer or being brutally beaten by their parents. Why was I complaining about my pain so much when others had it so much worse?
That one is a lie from the enemy though. Complaining is not the same as lamenting. We have to deal with the things from our past before God can use us to our fullest potential. God wants us to know He is always with us “in the sad and in the glad”. The author does a good job of explaining this in the book. She talks about her experiences of being brought to a point of lament, discusses the Scriptures that demonstrate how to lament, and writes prayers at the end of each chapter using these verses. Those prayers are what I appreciated the most. I read and prayed the prayer at the end of each chapter, and that is when I felt my new understanding flow over me the most. I know I will refer back to those prayers as I continue this practice of lament going forward. Because I will continue it. It has freed my heart and my spirit.
We, in the church, need to talk about the sad parts of our lives as well as the good parts. The church needs to be a safe place for this hurting world for that is the only way we will be able to tell them about Jesus. As I end this review, I want to quote the prayer that meant the most to me.
“Heavenly Father, sometimes it’s hard for me to see Your goodness when I’m in a prison and not in a palace. Sometimes Your help feels so far-off. Everything around me is overwhelming. Please give me the strength to cling to You, and give me eyes to see You, even in my darkest place. Give me a shield of faith (Ephesians 6). Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy (Psalm 130). Listen to my cry for help (Psalm 5:2), and be merciful to me, for I am faint (Psalm 6:2). Amen.”
God’s blessings to all of you today!