Two years ago, I wrote these words. I have written a lot of words and talked a lot about that in the last two years. Most of the words I have written I cannot share. They are too personal and too deep and they carry too much ache. David read some of the words I wrote this week, and he said, you wrote that just a few days ago? That’s so vivid.
Because that’s how this sort of experience is. It’s vivid. And it stands apart from your other memories like some kind of etherial experience that you wish was a dream. And it whispers to you and it breathes at you in quiet and secret places when your mind is too busy to keep it down.
One of these pieces I wrote and I can’t share, but I so deeply want to. I so deeply want other people who have been hurt in the way I have been to know that they aren’t alone. That it’s not okay. That people who speak for God are still just people and sometimes they don’t actually speak for God. I want people to understand what it does to a heart, to a mind, to a soul, to hear words spoken carelessly that you can never unhear. I feel like people don’t stand up enough and say NO. You cannot speak that way. You cannot behave that way. It is NOT. OKAY. But I don’t have peace about sharing it, and so I can’t.
One of the ways that I heal, that I make sense of life is by writing about it. And by thinking of you, dear reader, and hoping that in some way the Lord will redeem tiny moments– beautiful ones and especially the not so beautiful ones to glorify himself. That in the reading of my words, your eyes will be lifted to the face of Christ, and he will grow more beautiful to you. It helps me to behold and to remember and to adore the face of Christ in my circumstances when I sit down to try to show it to you.
I am learning another way to behold Christ in the midst of brokenness. And when I say “am learning” I mean I have barely begun. It is the language of lament. It is being willing each day, when even two years later, I hear whispers of lies as crystal clear as if they had been spoken to me today, I weep, I pray, I lay it out before Christ, my rescuer, in words and in sobs and in sighs. And he doesn’t tell me to get over it or to move along, sister. He weeps with me. His nail scared hands remind me that he has carried the burdens of my sins and the sins done to me. His grace carries me when shame tries to empty me.
I am doing this with more than just this residual pain that seems to keep coming back around every few months. I do this when I hear both sides of the abortion debate. I do it when I think about just every broken thing that America is right now. That our world is right now. I do it when I think of refugees, of children and men and women in slavery. I just lay it out before the Lord and I lament. And I say yes to feeling the hurt, and yes to living with the ache, because the same Holy Spirit that was present with Jesus as he said yes to death is alive in me. And I am finding that when I don’t try to steele myself against brokenness, when I don’t just try to move on, be a grown up, and keep it together, my heart grows soft to hear Holy Spirit whispers of how to join Jesus as he makes all things new.
I think sometimes we’re afraid to be sad. Afraid to really look at what has happened in our stories or in our world or in our community because we know we will find things that are worthy of lament, and then we will be overwhelmed and we won’t know what to do and we will just be sad and hopeless and angry. Friend, Jesus is strong enough to carry lament. And it is a soft and broken heart that can ache with longing for a future inheritance. It is a soft and broken heart that clings to Jesus, aware that obedience is not something it is capable of apart from the grace of God. And it is a person with a soft and broken heart that has open ears and ready feet to obey Holy Spirit whispers of redemption that will bring God’s kingdom now, while we wait with expectation for the day when all will be made new.