Friday, February 25, 2022

Writing Your Own Psalms

Having grown up in the church, the book of Psalms has been one of comfort throughout my life.  I tend to gravitate towards the ones that talk about being desperately sad, or having trouble sleeping, as those tend to reflect my own history.  Sometime within the last year, a friend mentioned that he had been going through some stuff and had begun writing his own version of Psalms, to try to process what he was dealing with.  He talked about how good this had been for him and encouraged those of us listening to try it if we wanted.  I thought, yeah maybe I'll do that some day, and then promptly forgot about it.

As God often does, he brings things back that we need to hear and in the last month at our own church, we have been going through the book of Psalms (focusing on a different emotion each week).  A couple of weeks ago, the preacher said he had begun writing through his own emotions in the form of Psalms and for the second time, someone was telling me to do with my emotions what I usually do:  WRITE.  For someone who uses writing as therapy to release a lot of pent up emotion, only really writing through it every six months isn't really effective therapy. 

For months, as my emotions and pain have been building up again (because apparently my body has only a 2 year cap for being able to function well-ish), I have felt a need to write.  And yet, I haven't been able to summon the strength and energy to do so.  So it didn't come as any surprise that I found myself on the sobbing end of yet another meltdown this morning.  I had felt it building for weeks so it was just a matter of when.

Today, I woke up at 3:45am with what I can only describe as a big ball of nerves all jumbled up at the base of my skull.  It's unavoidable pain, constant, and has a slight buzzing to it (which is where the ball of nerves come in).  It plagued me for two hours while I drank twenty ounces of water (hydration matters, especially when your body is always inflamed) and laid in bed trying to pray through it and just wait it out.  But with no relief by 9am, I finally decided to get up and try a bath.  

As I usually do in the morning, I had my worship music playing.  I was thinking about the pain and heaven and how I still have to work today and make up some hours, and I was just feeling exhausted and frustrated.  I was overwhelmed and tired and trying to talk to God about it.  Praying is so scattered for me when I am not actively writing the thoughts down.  So as I was laying there trying to trust, trying to endure, trying to hang on, the song Even If by MercyMe had come on.  I was already halfway through the song before these words began to register:

They say it only takes a little faith 
To move a mountain 
Well good thing 
A little faith is all I have, right now 
But God, when You choose 
To leave mountains unmovable 
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing 
It is well with my soul 

I know You're able and I know You can 
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand 
But even if You don't 
My hope is You alone

My sobbing began in earnest at this point, as it was the reminder I needed to hang on.  To trust God, even though it was incredibly difficult to see past the pain.  In that moment, I knew I needed to write through this.  I share it here because for the last ten years I have laid it all out there on this blog, so why should this be any different?  I am not embarrassed or ashamed at having these thoughts and fears and questioning God.  That's the beauty of God.  He WANTS us to come to him with our pain and fear and questions.  He wants us to talk to him about it.  Because when we do, he will speak the TRUTH that we desperately need to hear.  

Living in this physical body is really, really hard right now.  But, I have seen how God has loved and pursued and cared for me throughout my life, especially this last decade.  So, even if the pain never ends before I leave this earthy body, my hope will remain in God and God alone.  This Psalm is just my attempt to be completely honest with where I am at, as well as remind myself of all the truths that my heart knows but sometimes forgets when the pain is too big.

God, I'm so tired.  

The pain is relentless.

It courses through my bones, seeping into my nerves and spreading throughout joints.

It never stops.

Standing is difficult.

Sitting is hard now too.

I can't do anything I want or need to do.

The house stays trashed all the time.

My family fends for themselves on far too many meals.

They care for me, doing basic things like refilling water and bringing things to me when I can't go to them.

I don't have the energy to pull myself from bed early enough to give myself a chance at working a full day. 

I feel like I have failed so many people.

I feel like I am still actively failing those who need me most.

My kids. My friends. My sweet, sweet husband who has always selflessly cared for me while I feel as if I give nothing in return.

I blame myself.

I did this.

My years of running and living in darkness and sin destroyed my spine.

It doesn't matter if it is logical or even true. 

When I'm really honest, in my heart, I've placed it all on my shoulders.

When I think about praying for relief, real, lasting relief, I hit a wall.

Do I not have enough faith?

Maybe I don't let go because I'm still trying to punish myself for what God has long ago redeemed?

This anxiety and quickly depleting strength leaves me weak and empty.

And yet, I cry out to you, God.  

I beg you for just enough relief to get through the next hour.

For just enough strength to take another step, even when that step feels like that very thing is ripping my body apart.

In tears, I plead with God for relief.

I try to have enough faith to believe you will give it.

I'm tired and I'm weak.

But you, God, are bigger than this pain.

You are stronger than my failing body.

Your answers don't always make sense. 

Especially when you ask me to wait.

To keep enduring this.

Are you even asking that of me?

My heart is in turmoil over whether I have to endure this, or only do because my faith is too small.

Are you really calling me to struggle in spite of how exhausting this constant pain is?

And yet, who am I that you owe me anything?

Isn't it I who owe you everything?

Your Son, a cross on a hill, and a promise that the struggle would not be in vain.

You paid it all.

Not because of a hero complex or some other false reality.

You did it because you love.

Because you love me.

Your love is so great, you couldn't help but step in and provide us with an escape.

I am grateful that you saved me. 

You pulled me up out of a pit of my own making, one created to hide from pain.

To hide from you and what felt like broken promises.

But I see now it was my heart in the wrong.

You broke no promises.

Life is hard and I was unprepared.

But you have always stayed the same.

It is I who am constantly changing.

My hiding place, it was a false safety.

Who can hide from you?

No one. 

No matter how far we may try to run.

You remain the same.

Full of love.

Full of grace.

Full of compassion for me, seemingly a nobody, but one you call daughter and friend.

You are my strength. 

My body can't.

But you can.

You bring me gentle reminders at the exact right time.

I have battled long enough this morning, Lord.  

I've been trying and failing to turn to you and you alone with all the thoughts and fears.

But I'm here now. 

Late to the game as always, I surrender. 

Give me strength to take another step, today.

Give me just enough faith to trust that my body will not fail, today.

I believe, Lord. 

Help my unbelief.  

Drown it out so that I can only hear Your truth.

Thank you for reaching down and rescuing me.

Thank you for teaching me that any and all punishment from you happened on that Cross 2000 years ago.

You took my place, so I could live free.

I choose to accept this pain God, even though I don't want it. 

I desperately want you to take it away, but only if that is what will bring you glory.

I want to be a light.

When people look at me, I don't want them to see anything but you and your love and grace.  

Remove everything that ties me to me.

Teach me daily to give up my own wants and desires and chase after you.

Only good is found in you.

You have shown me this over and over again.

You see my pain.

You see my tears.

You see my struggle.

You are right here with me in the midst of them.

You hold me and comfort me.

So I don't give up.

I keep pressing on.

I chase the promise that there will be a day when all this pain is gone. 

I can't wait to run into the arms of the one who has held me all my life.

Thank you, God!

Thank you!

There aren't enough words to praise you for all you have done.

Thank you for the future promise of a home with no more pain.

May I daily live my life so that on that day I will hear you will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."