Monday, April 23, 2012

Lamenting and complaining

We have been home from Ug for two weeks now.  The first week was filled with conversations with our agency working things out with our case and dealing with lots of details.  Details like fingerprints and USCIS clearance.  Part of our dossier (used in international adoption, it is just a collection of detailed information on our family)  includes USCIS (immigration services) clearance. Our USCIS clearance is part of the  process we have to go through  to bring J home.  Part of that clearance requires us to get fingerprints.  Our case has taken so long that those fingerprints are about to expire and soon our advanced application will expire.  So, that first week home was spent working on those details.

The second week home, like the first was filled with dealing with details on our case but has also been very emotional.  We all know how it happens when we are going through a tough slows down a bit and we get back to normal, and things hit us. There have been so many times in the last couple of weeks of just praying and feeling completely at a loss as to what to say.  If you follow Christ, then you know all the phrases we say to each other...God is sovereign, God is in control, God's timing is the best, and we know that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord.  I believe every single one of those and have said them myself hundreds of times.  But there are those times when we just need to cry out to God.  I know for myself though it is easy to feel like I can't share that side of my relationship with God.  We have to be strong...quote all the scriptures and repeat all the catch phrases... Well, maybe it is just me, but do we tend to think sometimes that God isn't big enough to handle our laments?  Or do we feel guilty because we think that we are complaining?

As I dealt with these emotions, I am so thankful that my Bible study group was in chapter 9 of the book "1000 Gifts" by Ann Voskamp last week. It amazes me how much more I am catching this second time  reading her book. I had never really spent much time thinking about the difference between lamenting and compaining. I love the way she defines both of them.

Can I just be David, and evening and morning and at noon, complain and murmur, mourn the mother's lament of dependent faith that God will hear my voice? 

As for me, I call to God,
   and the LORD saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
   I cry out in distress,
   and he hears my voice.
Psalm 55:16-17

Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment., a distrust in the love-beat of the Father's heart.
page 174, 175

The Israelites in Numbers 11 kindle God's anger because of their discontent and bitterness towards God.   But, Moses himself complains.  Why isn't God's anger kindled towards Moses? The difference is Moses  took his complaints to God while the people complained to one another and accomplished nothing.  Moses took his complaint to God, who could solve any problem. 

What an incredible God we serve that we can go to him and lament and complain and know that he hears us.   That despite all I know to be true about God, I can go to him and say, "I believe, but help me in my unbelief".

True lament is the bold faith that trusts Perfect Love enough to feel and cry authentic.
1000 Gifts page 176



  1. Love you. So sorry that you are in a season of having to " feel and cry authentic." we continue to pray for your family.

  2. It is so very hard when God allows this time darkness to cover us and cause us to cry out to Him. It is funny because I am just reading Ch. 9 also but not doing a study. I love your heart and honesty and this definition of lamenting and complaining is beautiful.

    Continuing to pray......

  3. Oh thank you so much for this message Tracy! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, thank you-thank you- thank you! What I learned from this post is when we lament and cry out to God, we are not "less of a Christian", we are expressing one of our most beautiful gifts of being His children! Sometimes we beat ourselves up at the very thought of crying out and feeling sad about situations, but we shouldn't because then do we really know that God is still present!!

    Thanks again for sharing honest and openly and including us in your journey!



  4. Truth is such a beautiful thing. I appreciate so much you sharing what your book says about lamenting and complaining. Its given me a new understanding. Don't ever stop being real, not with us, God and certainly not with yourself. I will continue to pray for you and as you walk this journey of (right now) so much uncertainty.
    Love you girl. Keep fighting.

  5. Tracy!!! This is such an honest post!!! And you are right sometimes I believe I can't "talk to God like him my emotions, and laments, and complaints." Why wouldn't He want to hear that. Every morning He wakes me up, He is ready to hear my voice. I am so thankful to serve an INVOLVED God!!!!! Thank you for this has helped me this morning!!!

    God is open to hear us when we are open to trust Him!

    Thank you again sis! So eye-opening...praise God!

    Love you,

    Melanie :)

  6. I needed this reminder. Lament vs. complaint. Thank you. :) Cracks me up because I'd just finished writing a big COMPLAINING (not lamenting!) post.


  7. Tracy,
    I am just now catching up on your blog. I was so glad to see you talk about David at the end. I am doing a study on David so my mind was going to him as I read. He definitely cried out to God. The words "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" we normally think of as spoken by Jesus but they were first spoken by David (Ps. 22:1). Even David, the man after God's own heart, felt like God wasn't there at times. God knows your sweet heart and it is ok to cry out to Him. David also did a lot of praising. That is the hard part for me - to be able to still "praise Him in the storm". I will keep praying for little J and his joyous arrival home with you.
    Judy McNeese