learning to lament

lament aaron-blanco-tejedor-VBe9zj-JHBs-unsplash

Image credit: aaron-blanco-tejedor-VBe9zj-JHBs-unsplash

I’ve never been good at lament. I’ve never been known as tender-hearted, empathetic, or good at sitting with someone in their pain. But I want to be better. I want to learn.

Maybe it’s my age and a more experienced perspective. Maybe it is how our world is changing. I hope it has something to do with God working on my heart, but either way, I see a lot more pain these days.

I cry a lot more these days.

I feel sick to my stomach more often these days.

I’m not especially angry, but that is growing too.

I’m changing the way I do things in my life.


Lament is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow, regret, disappointment, or complaint about something considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, unfair, or unjust.


My heart is burdened by many issues.

  • The hurtful and hate-filled ways we judge and demonize each other
  • The wasteful destruction of our God-created environment
  • The marketing lies to profit from toxic foods and products
  • The soul-destroying effects of pornography, trafficking, exploitation
  • The devaluation and oppression of women
  • The abusive labor practices used to produce so much of what we buy
  • The deaths of unborn children through abortion
  • The horrendous ways people of color are treated unequally in our country
  • The disparity of living standards across our globe

I’m sure I am missing more.

And this is just what is happening today. There is also the weight of so many past injustices in our history. How to heal? How to make it right?

I’m not sure what to do about all of this. I feel overwhelmed and sad and helpless. I can’t give 100% to one need without neglecting another. I am only one person.

But I won’t do nothing either.

And so I learn. I lament. I beg God to make us different. I look for more I can do.

It’s not enough. It will never be enough.

But it will be something and it will grow to be more as long as I stay open to see, listen, care, speak up, and act. I have so far to go still.

What burdens your soul? What have you learned about lament?

** Today I grieve George Floyd’s death and the injustice weighs heavily on my heart. I am compiling a list of resources for learning more. Please let me know if you have more I can add.

powerful purposeful habits

The Common Rule by Justin Whitmel Early

I haven’t read a complete book in one day in… I don’t know how long. But I had a quiet, no-urgent-task Saturday, a beautiful fresh-breeze sunny day, and an empty back-porch couch all to myself. And I had a great book, full of authentic hopeful words that drew me in and gave nourishment to my soul.

It was a powerful combination –
one that doesn’t happen often.

I almost gave up on The Common Rule at first. It seemed a bit over-simplified, and after a number of heart-wrenching, mind-numbing, complex, and difficult years, I am not a big fan of “just do this…” kind of answers. However, the more I read, the more Justin Whitmel Earley captured me with his authenticity and his grasp of reality as he offered flexible options that could work for our many-varied steps on the journey.

Early writes about habits.

Habits of purpose,
habits that counter our decision fatigue,
habits that “form our hearts” and lead us to love. 

He recommends eight habits in the book. The habits focus on loving God and others and on refreshing our hearts while we resist those easy-to-fall-into tendencies that wear us down.

The habits are not about legalistic ritual. They are suggested to battle self-condemnation, anxiety, isolation, hurriedness, and injustice. The habits lead us toward peace, gratefulness, compassion, deeper relationships, and rest. Which one of us of doesn’t long for those things?

Earley’s habits are as simple as having one meal with others each day or turning off the phone for one hour a day. But they are not easy.

The eight habits of purpose

The most ordinary habits of limitation create
the most extraordinary lives of meaning.

So far, I have implemented into my days only parts of some of his suggested habits, but I am encouraged that even those have made a difference. In these days of so much uncertainty, chaos, and loss of routine, regular life-giving habits can provide help for building the resilience we need for the long-term changes we have in front of us. They certainly gave me hope and I think adding some habits of purpose into your life might give you hope too.

If you have read the book or read it now, please share with me what you thought about it. I’d love to hear from you.

What helpful habits do you have in your life? 

I am not doing enough

woman silhouetteThe pictures haunt my dreams. The stories tear at my heart.

Acid attacks in India. Sexual violence in Syria. Human trafficking in Nicaragua…

…not to mention the nightly local news.

Beauty robbed. Life scarred forever. Families anguished.

Pain. Hatred. Fear. Injustice. Shame. Evil.

Report after report of misogyny, disrespect, violation, and cruelty. Attacked because of a commitment to go to school or a refusal to marry at puberty. Coerced because of lust and greed. Abused by strangers, lovers, family members.

I cannot comprehend these things. They shake me to the core. They disrupt my thoughts; they upset my stomach; they burden my heart.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.”

credited to Edmund Burke

What can I do? What do you do?

I live in comfort and safety, surrounded by love. I have freedom, choices, protection. My everyday life is not threatened as are the lives of so many women.

I have education, influence, money, discretionary time…

I have responsibility. I have hope.

I know I can pray more. I am asking God to show me what else I can do…

What injustice are you passionate about changing? What are you doing?

(**If you have helpful information, sites, or organizations that you help, please leave the links in your comment, so we can learn from each other!)

a teenage advocate

Today the world is praying for a teenage advocate. Malala Yousafzai became famous a few years ago when, as an 11-year-old girl, she wrote a diary/blog about her battle to attend school in Taliban controlled Pakistan. She wrote under a pseudonym at first for safety, but became internationally known a few years later when the Taliban fell from power, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. Just two days ago, she was shot in the head by fanatics who do not agree that girls have a right to education and a right to speak out about injustice.

This is a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, infuriating wrong in our world today. I have not personally experienced anything like this kind of persecution for being a woman, but this is not one isolated case. There is way too much of this degradation, abuse, limitation, and violence against women and girls in our world today. I cannot ignore it.

Neither can I ignore or tolerate the “lesser” injustices of unfair treatment, off-color jokes, disrespect or lack of opportunities for women that I do encounter on a regular basis. I believe that those attitudes and actions reflect an incomplete understanding of the urgent and severe situation for women in the world. Rather than “laugh it off” or excuse it as unintended, culturally accepted, or not-so-bad, I believe that each of these situations is an important opportunity to educate, mobilize, and empower a society to correct the wrong and the sin in our world.

Malala needs our prayers today. We all need God’s help to do what is right. We need to encourage each other in our God-given value and our God-given purpose on the earth for good. May we join together, men and women, to protect our children from harm, educate and develop the talents and gifts He has given us, and work together to fulfill His good purposes in our world today.

What can you do as an advocate today?