In Lamenting, Surrender

God, please listen as a Father listens to his daughter.

Don’t leave me feeling yet again utterly alone and unheard. I have committed my life to live in relationship with you and for years I grew closer and closer to you. You were my everything. I poured my heart out to you and you responded. I rarely doubted your presence or closeness. My every conversation shared your goodness, no matter which season I was in. In my joy, I felt you rejoicing alongside me and in my grief, I felt you wrap me in a warm embrace. Though circumstances around me often changed—like the weather in Indiana—you were my rock, my constant, and my safe place.

Then you asked me to do something I never dreamed or desired to. I trusted you, so I headed down this unknown and scary path. I thought no matter how hard it gets I have my Father walking beside me and with him, I can do anything. The path was hard, but I kept my eyes on you and fell in love with this journey. Waves came and there were moments where I thought you weren’t there, but I would cry out and you would be there, right by my side. The waves didn’t always disappear as I urged you to make them do, but you were there, so I knew I was safe.

When the waves calmed down, I could see the transformation you were carrying out through them, and I would tell anyone who would listen what a loving Father you were. Life had purpose and joy. It filled me with contentment. There were rocks in the path here and there. I would stub my toe, but you were there beside me to steady me, take care of my wounds, and comfort me.

Then you asked me to do what I’d hoped you would never ask me to do. Take a different path. I didn’t understand why, and I felt sad and confused. But I trusted you and knew deep in my heart that you had my best in mind, so I started down the path you led me down. Not long after, you felt further away, but you kept leading down the path, so I followed as your trusting daughter. The path grew rockier and darker, and I could no longer feel your closeness or see you. Occasionally, I heard you whisper when I called out to you, but it became less and less frequent. Then you sent someone to walk alongside me, cry with me, hug me, and remind me of the truth. She believed for me when I was overly exhausted.

Gradually the darkness lifted, and I saw you in the distance. Your whisper became a little clearer, but I still felt so alone. You saw my grief, lack of purpose, and discontentment, so you led me to turn down another path.  A slight flame of hope glimmered in my heart. But only for a moment and then it was gone and so were you. A darkness settled that was darker than I had ever seen before. The path was filled with jagged rocks that I couldn’t see but only feel ripping into me. I cried out in desperation, but I only heard my voice bounce back to me. Where were you? Did you care about my pain and loneliness? I stumbled, tripped, and fell time after time, and time seemed to go on forever. I thought about giving up because what was the purpose in all this if you weren’t there? The person you sent to walk alongside me continued to encourage me, intercede, and believe on my behalf.

The darkness lifted, and I felt a seed of hope sprout, thinking, “He’s come back and will show me the purpose in all this”. But I quickly realized that the darkness was replaced by a thick fog. I could see where to put my foot in front of me so I didn’t fall as often, but this thick fog was suffocating, and I did not know where this path would go. Will it ever end? Will you ever emerge from this thick, suffocating cloud that surrounds me? I have tried so hard to follow you wholeheartedly, even when it meant following a path I never imagined or wanted to be on. I always imagined graduating from college, teaching for a few years, meeting my lifelong friend and partner to do life with. I would live close to my parents and get to see my dad be the grandpa to my children, something I never had. I gave up those dreams because you asked me to, but I still thought, “Surely God won’t keep from me the deepest longing of my heart, a longing that I cannot fully put into words”.

Someone to share life with, confide in, someone to share my passions and dreams with, someone to serve you alongside, and someone to push me and challenge me in my relationship with you. Surely you wouldn’t keep from me my second deepest longing to be a mom. Yet, along with everything else, you have. I’ve watched roommates, friends, and now siblings find someone to take place in their life, the place that remains so empty. The longing continues to grow, no matter how much I beg you to take it away.

So, I keep walking and the fog lifts a bit, but now there is no path at all. I am surrounded as far as I can see by a hot, dry desert. I keep walking, putting one foot in front of the other, pleading for you to rescue me, heal my wounds, and wrap me in your arms. But, like a mirage, every time I start to hope you will show yourself again, hope evaporates into thin air. I am not just tired; I am utterly exhausted, and I don’t know how to continue. I look back thinking maybe that will be better, but I quickly realize what I have left behind is too far back. I look forward and see no change in sight. God, I want to scream at you, “Where are you? Why aren’t you giving me relief? Why have you so heartlessly abandoned me and forgotten your promise to never leave me?” But what is the point, you won’t respond, anyway. I have done everything I know to do to maintain my relationship with you, but it is not enough. I fear leaving this path I thought you led me down, but I don’t know how I can keep going, either.

God, deliver me from this dry, lonely desert, refresh my soul, and give my eyes clarity to see the path you have placed before me. You say that you will never leave me and because of that I will choose, day after day, to believe that, though you may be camouflaged, you are there, walking alongside me. You are my shield when the enemy thinks he has finally brought me to a place where he can destroy me. So, I will wait on you, my Father, to renew my strength and heal my battle-torn heart. Please God, remember your promises to me.

***

“I should just trust God. I cannot be angry with God”. These were all thoughts that kept me from truly lamenting. Through time wrestling with God, however, I have found that lamenting actually draws me closer to Him. If God loves us as his daughters, why wouldn’t he want to hear the deepest longings and sorrows of our hearts?

I want to share a lament I wrote this year to encourage others to also lament. How might God be stirring your heart to lament and surrender to Him?

Registration for the 2022 Velvet Ashes Online Retreat is open! Join us April 22-24 as we explore the desire for home. Together we’ll journey through the powerful pathway that Solomon’s temple provides for us today. We’ll invite the Holy Spirit to draw our heart’s into deeper connection with God.

2 Comments

  1. Kate February 22, 2022

    Thank you for sharing this, it feels so familiar.

  2. RL February 24, 2022

    Wow. Thank you for being willing to write and share this. So much of what you wrote could have been talking about my story! I thought He might keep me in that desert place forever… but He didn’t. This encourages me to think (and maybe write) about where I’m at now. It’s a different place than I’ve ever been before, and it feels weird and scary. In spite of all the times He has been with me and brought me out of hard places… It is still hard for me to trust that He still has me in this one….

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