Out of Darkness, Into the Fog

Walking INTO LAMENT enables us to someday walk WITH our GRIEF.

Lament is exercising our ability to feel sadness and grief by giving time, space, voice, and expression to our deep sorrow over pain, loss, and disappointment. 

Lamenting is admitting that there are parts of ourselves and our lives that are undone, feeling them, and inviting God into them, because when God is with us in it, being undone does not mean we are unsafe or unprotected!

Our heart today is for those who feel like they’re being pulled under by sadness and grief. Maybe you’re right in the aftermath of intense grief or have begun to feel overwhelmed and worn down by it over time. For you, this doesn’t feel like it’s just a “season” of lament because you’ve seemingly signed up for a lifetime of it.

Pastor Steve Mickel shared with the church this last weekend a powerful message “Walking in the Dark” about his season of life after the tragic and unexpected death of his 21-year-old son and how it changed everything for him, including his intimacy with God.

Something he shared that stuck with me is this: Overcoming grief can feel like chasing the sun over the horizon, but when you stop running after that daylight, you can turn around and walk through the night and catch the sun on its way back up. 

For many of us, that’s what lament is like – walking through the dark to get to the light.

But what if we walk through the night, meet the sun, but we still feel shrouded in the darkness? What if sorrow and sadness seem to cling to us in the light, and we only see the sun as a faint and temporary brightening of dense fog that surrounds us? 

If that’s you today, can I encourage you?

  1. Surround yourself with trusted friends who can listen, encourage when appropriate, and pray with you.
  1. Reach out to your counselor or mentor – someone ahead of you in life who can help by bringing wisdom, perspective, and comfort to you.
  1. But don’t stop there! Activity and participation in your process, showing up for your body and heart, can be so much more potent form of grief counseling than “talk therapy.” Get up, get out, and get moving! Fresh air, exercise, camaraderie all stimulate our hearts and minds and increase our ability to embrace our full story.
  1. Finally, in the classic “last but not least” category, after battling the lows for weeks, you may be wondering, “should I talk to my doctor or licensed counselor about the possibility I’m dealing with depression?” Yes! 

Medical help and medicine may not be an end destination to your journey. Still, they can be vital to bring you back above water if you feel like you’re drowning, allowing you to continue to do the hard work of grieving and engaging your process.

Moving through a season of lament and grief isn’t predictable, and you’re not in a race to “get over” the areas of your heart and life that are hurting. 

You have time and space, as much as it takes as you move forward, leaning into all the different people in your community who desire to surround you! You are not alone, and every means of restoration should be considered, including medical and professional help! All healing is God’s healing, and God will use every resource available to care for you. Don’t dismiss something God may want to use to bring hope and balance as you get your legs back under you!  

“I shall look at the world through tears. Perhaps I shall see things that dry-eyed I could not see.”

Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Lament of a Son

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The Practice of Lament

A powerful way to embrace lament is by engaging in corporate or communal sorrow. While we understand that grieving is often a very private road, if we do not feel like we are a part of a community that sees and invites us to share or articulate our grief as best we are able, our grief process won’t be private, it will be lonely and isolating.

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  1. Thank you for this, Ryan! I love the heart of intentionally going after what hurts knowing there is a reshaping occurring in our lives, inside and out.