Years ago I noticed one of my friends from University days in the dead of winter reading the book of Hosea from the Bible. The book of Hosea is actually pretty cool (especially chapter 11) but at the time I didn’t know this, so I asked her why she was reading it.
“Because, Mary, when I get to heaven I might meet Hosea and I’ll say to him, ‘hey, good book’.”
This got me thinking that maybe I should read more of the Bible than I had to that point (I would feel super embarrassed to meet Isaiah in heaven and only be able to say, ‘uhhh, I’ve heard of you…’). So I got down to reading this Book that I have taken so much for granted.
I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life a little later and I found myself reading the book of Jonah. What I read really spoke to me; what Jonah said struck a cord with me at that moment. I remembered that I had once been told at a conference that we should write our own “psalms”. If David could write Psalm 22, then maybe I could use the Jonah passage as a model and write my own psalm.
So, a modern rewriting or “Mary version” of Jonah 2:1 – 9 came about that day and I have actually re-rewritten it at a later date in the midst of yet another struggle. The important thing is that I learned the power of writing down my thoughts. The writing doesn’t have to be beautiful (there are some poems of mine that I will likely never share with anyone!) nor do they have to be long, but it’s the writing of your thoughts, the creating of a record of your pain or joy, ideas, feelings or cries for help, that are revealing and important.
Take music lyrics, for example. I have previously mentioned how much I love music and how strong the impact of a song with good music and good words can have on me. These are essentially poems about how the writer feels, his joys, his pain, his path in this world. We don’t need to set them to music, but we can all write lyrics.
Writing can be very cathartic. After a burst of frenetic writing I can look back and see my real thoughts and feelings (which can sometimes be surprising). As a single, I don’t necessarily always have someone to rage at about what’s on my heart, so the writing allows me to get off my chest things I might not necessarily say to acquaintances or friends.
I find that when it is the darkest around me is when I feel compelled to write my psalms. I have taken to writing the date of composition on them because I find it interesting to go back later and read these poems and try to think what was going on in my life then and how it was resolved (all of the issues always seem to have been resolved…). Once they have been resolved it is disturbing how readily I forget my past struggles that I wept over and over which I wrestled with God. So there is value in looking back at my peoms–they remind me of the everlasting goodness and faithfulness of God.
Life as a single Christian (or as any sort of Christian) hurts sometimes. It is not an easy road that we walk. And God wants to hear about it from us. He wants us to cry out to Him like David did. He is waiting to hear from us.
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1John 5:14 NIV
It’s hard to show others our moments of pain, but in case even one person might find benefit from it, I will share one of my poems with you.
i am bruised
from my self-imposed exile
You pick me up
discard my filthy rags
i cry out
“I am alone,
where are You, God?”
You rub my wounds with oil
wash my hair
hold me close in Your tender,
i want all that glitters!—
a stockpile of pain and
You keep me close
tight in Your arms of love
in my fury
my fight exhausted—
the world has turned a blind eye—
i see Your face…
Merciful Father, Merciful Father