Journal like a Psalmist.

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I messaged Macy this morning, completely discouraged and angry.  I’m so fed up with things going wrong, one after the other.  I’m so tired of living in what feels like a constant state of emergency.  I’m so irritated that God isn’t the kind of God who will make everything okay and comfortable and easy for us.  I’m so embarrassed that we can’t just go to work and pay our bills and live in our stupid apartment like normal stupid people.

And I wanted to journal, but I felt like I would just make ugly black marks all over my journaling Bible because that is what my heart feels like.  Great big ugly black marks going all through it.  Mentally, I try to curb the bitterness and accept that God is good and that we will be fine, but emotionally I’m all like a two year old throwing a temper tantrum.  I’m flinging junk and wailing and writhing on the floor in public emotionally.

Macy said, just journal.  It is important to document the bad as well as the good.  And she said other things and made me cry and filled that friend place in my heart that had been achingly empty for a few days.

So I put the baby down to nap and I gathered my supplies and I turned to Lamentations, because when I have some kind of beef with God, this is where I go:

I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago.
He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy;
though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones; he has made my paths crooked.
He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;
he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate;
he bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow.
He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver;
I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long.
He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes;
my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, β€œMy endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”

That may be slightly dramatic, but sometimes I just feel that way.  My soul is just completely bereft of peace and my endurance for this garbage is just gone.  My hope in the Lord is more like a sarcastic, “Okay, let’s see you work THIS together for good.”

And I journaled.  It started out all gray overtop of the words because my anger was gone and at that point I just felt like.. whatever, God.  Do your thing or don’t do your thing.  I cannot find it within my soul to care.

I glanced at the next column, knowing the words that were there, but not wanting to read them because I didn’t feel them yet.  And they caught my eye anyway:

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope..”

Then promise after promise of God’s goodness just washed over me and I cried and read that even though I feel like everything and everyone are against us, that God is for us, that he doesn’t punish us willingly, that he has compassion, that it is good to bear burdens when you are young because there are so many lessons to learn.  And I felt like maybe my page could get a little more hopeful, not for the present but for the future.

The reason why I have always related to the Psalms and Lamentations is because of this type of writing.  The pouring out of all the emotional junk that you feel and then choosing to remember the truth of who God is and what he has promised to do.  Life is so full of pain and embarrassment and garbage, but in the middle of that, God is still a good God.  I am so grateful that I can have days like today where I yell at him and then end up resting in the promise of rest to come.

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