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Voice Your Lament

by Chrissy Hampson

July 8, 2020

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“What the heck is a lament?? Why would I ever want to do that? It’s too sad-sounding. I’m doing okay. I’d rather spend the time watching the next episode of my show.”

Okay. Do that. Numb yourself. I’ve done it before, too. You feel better for the moment but in the long run, the pain remains.

If our family has known anything these past seven-plus years, it’s trauma. I could roll out everything that we’ve been through but it would use up all my allotted words, so you’ll have to trust me on this.

A year or so ago my husband James was leading us through a trauma recovery program. At one point we were asked to write a lament, a written word expressing grief and/or anger, and we were given a specific formula for doing so. Our oldest son, Isaac, who was 12 at the time immediately—I mean immediately!—grabbed a sheet of paper and started writing his out. Words flowed from his pen like a fountain and when he finished he skipped around the house as if he had just been released from the heaviest of burdens. Because he had finally been given a tool, he was able to let his sadness go.

This is what he wrote:

“O God, you listened to the prophets in the Bible but why not me? My sorrow is upon me like a heavy weight, ever getting heavier. What did I do to ever deserve this? Why me? Help me, for you are stronger, lift the weight off my back so I may be relieved of this sorrow and pain. I will do all your commands, for you, O Lord, are more wonderful than I can ever imagine.”

Isn’t that amazing??

It’s so important to voice our lament, and it’s worth postponing that favorite show to do so. Don’t even try to tell me that you don’t have anything to be sad or angry about right now. C’mon! Coronavirus, quarantine, George Floyd . . . ’nuff said!

Here’s the formula for the perfect lament written by you (based on the Psalms and taken from the book Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help by Harriet Hill et al):

  1. Address to God (“O God”)
  2. A review of God’s past faithfulness
  3. A complaint
  4. A confession of sin or a claim of innocence
  5. A request for help
  6. God’s response (not always stated in the Psalms)
  7. A vow to praise, statement of trust in God

Be so very blessed in your healing journey!

Chrissy has been writing more than ever these days and is enjoying God’s faithfulness in and through it. Her family of six has barely left the house for over three months, and they still love each other! God is good!