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Learning to Lament

Ok peeps, I know it’s been awhile but surprise, surprise, married life is BUSY! 🙂 Summer has arrived and we are so thankful to have the kiddos at home more and are filled with lots of summer plans but I thought I’d sneak in a post first. Also, I REALLY don’t want ya’ll to miss this book.

The book I just finished is not your typical one. Most people don’t peruse their shelves and think, “Ya know, I believe I will pick up this one on lamenting today. Sounds like a fun read.” But let me tell you; it is a fantastic book. (Although I will say I had to stop reading it in public because I just cried all the time! Sheesh.)

Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy

If you have ever gone through something difficult, you may have noticed that most people don’t know how to respond to sorrow. We don’t do a good job at grieving with each other even though we are commanded to. I have been in both places. Situations where I’m hurting and others try to step in and end up making it worse and other times where I see someone grieving and cry out, “Lord, I don’t know what to say to them!”

In this book, Mark goes through the biblical steps of lamenting using Psalms and Lamentations. It is a highly practical book and even has worksheets in it for personal use. He uses examples from his own life and his church as well.

Towards the beginning he defines lament:

“Every human being has the same opening story. Life begins with tears. It’s simply a part of what it means to be human- to cry is human. But lament is different. The practice of lament- the kind that is biblical, honest, and redemptive- is not natural for us, because every lament is a prayer. A statement of faith. Lament is the honest cry of a hurting heart wrestling with the paradox of pain and the promise of God’s goodness.”

People! This book was soooo good! It was biblical and rooted in theology, yet so practical. As I read I found myself still grieving over things I thought I was ‘over’ but I was able to cry out to the Lord through the Psalms. He also talks about corporate lament which was a totally new concept to me (but one I love) and how to deal with ongoing pain biblically when everyone else has seemingly moved on.

I know we tend to shy away from hurt and sorrow but this practice of biblical lament is sorely needed. If you read Scripture, it is ALL over the place and yet we skim over those parts. This book gave me a better perspective on grieving for myself and with others and I’m so thankful I read it!

I’ll leave you with one last quote from it:

“This is where biblical lament is transformative. It not only gives voice to the pain you feel but also anchors your heart to truths you believe- or are trying to believe when dark clouds linger. Something bad may have happened in your life, which is why you are reading this book. Whatever the reason, loss can feel like a wasteland. It’s devastating. But lament helps us to rehearse biblical truth so hope will return. Despite what you see, despite what you feel, despite what you think, lament can be a supply of grace as you affirm that God’s mercies are new every day.”

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2021 in books

 

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Read. This. Book.

I love to read. A lot. My Dad used to read to us all the time when we were little and I’m pretty sure he still has The Three Billy Goats Gruff memorized. When we got older my Mom would read aloud to us things like Chronicles of Narnia and King Arthur. And I would fly through books on my own. So when I make this next statement, I don’t say it lightly:

The following book may be the best one I have ever read.
(Bible excluded.)

The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield

I knew it would be good. I read Rosaria’s first book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, earlier this year and loved that one as well. But I didn’t know I was going to find a book that so captured what biblical hospitality is and explained it. I didn’t expect to be so convicted. And I didn’t know there was a book that held the longings of how I want to live my life.

Growing up, my family had an open door policy. I wasn’t even aware of it. There were times when we officially “hosted” but most of our gatherings were laid back and people-focused. We didn’t have a big table but who cares? That’s what the living room floor, the porch, and the yard are for! I specifically remember being a teen and we found this really odd looking key and spent all day trying to figure out what it went to. Finally my Dad got off work and we asked him, “Oh, I think that’s the key to the door!” No joke, people. We lived in town but our door was never locked except at night. We would go to church and have friends say, “Hey I forgot to tell you! I stopped at your house the other day to change my clothes for work. You guys weren’t home but I knew you wouldn’t mind.” And we didn’t. I thought everyone lived that way.

Until I moved to Ohio. My family didn’t grow up with such a thing as protected “family time.” I didn’t quite understand the concept. I didn’t understand why you couldn’t have people over to your house on Sundays after church because that is reserved for family time. What a weird thing. Can’t you have family time with other people? That’s my thinking. I didn’t understand the stress people feel when having people over. They tell me there isn’t enough room. Look at all this room! I knew that a welcoming heart makes the room, not the space around you.

And yet this book stretched even my idea of hospitality. It is Rosaria’s whole life. She views it as a mission field which was almost new to me. Anyone and everyone is welcome in her home at any time. She plans and goes out of her way to invite strangers (the very definition of hospitality.) She and her husband fostered and adopted teens, befriended neighbors that no one else would, had almost daily gatherings at their house, invited college students to live with their family while at school, and did so with the gospel of Christ in mind.

I’ve been told before that I have a crazy view of hospitality but after reading this book, I don’t think my view is CRAZY ENOUGH! What a beautiful picture of the gospel to seek out the lost people in this world and bring them into your family. And you know what, it’s going to be inconvenient, you’re going to get hurt, and it will take time and energy.

But it’s also such a blessing. Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the lonely in families. What a privilege to be a part of that promise. To be a family to someone else.

Read the book, people.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2020 in hospitality

 

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