Lament and Faith and Childhood: Why my kid and I read the sad Psalms

A year and a half ago, when my son first dreamed that a walrus (yes, I said a walrus) had entered his closet and rummaged around, I could not make that screaming child feel safe again, no matter what I tried.

First, I lied about my own power: Look! I have Walrus spray! I’ll just spray your closet and he’ll never want to come back.

Then, I made up a story to explain it all: Oh, I talked to the walrus and he’s super sorry, buddy. He meant to go to the apartment down the street where his friend lives and he’s really sad that he scared you. Don’t worry; he’ll never come back.

Finally, over the course of weeks, I told him the truth: Honey, I can’t promise that the walrus will never come again. But I promise that God loves you and he’s always protecting you…


I’m guest posting today over at Rachel Held Evans’ blog. Click here to read the rest.

  • http://@AnnieCarterUK(Twitter) Annie Carter

    Hello Micha,
    Thanks so much for this, it resonates with me, and I strongly believe this is an ongoing process for all ages. Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one who gets sad, questions things and struggles (despite being a Christian for many years). And not many people seem to want deep conversations.

    Still, I press on with my own poetry and songs (many personal laments included) and am currently writing a novel for my three sons, which delves into the issue of trials, difficulty and opposition on this journey of faith.

    I would love to be in touch with other like minded people, it’s rare around here.

    One of my poems (if anyone’s interested)…

    Invitation to light
    August 06 – Annie Carter

    Darkness encapsulates the soul
    Flaunting its ability to deplete nearly every last drop of hope and delight
    In the ordinariness of a life squeezed by stresses or disillusionment
    Deflated by the realisation that self-fulfilment is not within reach
    Nor peace a possibility at this stage in the game of life
    (Mothers will understand what I mean)

    Yet merely a flicker of an eyelid commands power through its
    Invitation to light
    As the eyes allow access like windows into my very being
    Embracing the call of creation which
    Diffuses my small sufferings and dares to defy
    Negativity, too much subjectivity
    Or inflated thoughts of doom and gloom
    Scattered through the day like pepper on a plate

    Vision enables me, calls me to scan the horizon from east to west
    And to see beyond the boundaries of my existence, while
    Everything within cannot resist the rapture of God’s alluring landscape
    My lungs expand involuntarily to grasp a fresh taste of salty air
    As exuberant waves demand my attention, and I cannot deny
    Your existence, Your true trademark of nature
    And my all-consuming little life is dwarfed by the wonder of silvery sea and
    Sugar-like sand that cannot be captured in the palm of my hand

    And I laugh at the way you designed me to depend on
    Your light, as you shine through the sun
    Saving my sanity, as warmth envelops me,
    Teases me, reminds me that there’s more to this world
    Than me, than mine, and yet more of me,
    And your cotton-like clouds entertain far more than what I see on TV
    And the stones on the beach are pure pleasure to see
    I’ll remember next time
    When I open my eyes and respond to your
    Invitation to light

    Thanks. Blessings to you from across the Pond.

  • Elisa (@AverageAdvocate)

    Hi! I just wanted to say thanks for writing this! My husband randomly sent it to me, and I ended up reading it on a very melancholy day. I am a rather moody person, something common I share with other creative folk. And it is something which frustrates me at times, including the day I read this.

    I love the psalms for the very reason you do, because they do express our true honest feelings to God. I really appreciated how you tied parenting into this, though. Although I might tell my daughter that when she is scared, that God is with her, I have NOT taught her to pray honestly to God. And, I’ve noticed, when I connect with God most, it is because I am honestly praying to God. I’ve never even considered modeling that type of prayer for my kids. We pray at dinner and bedtime with a lot of “thank you God” and “help us,” but not the prayers that actually draw us close to God.

    I actually bought that book right away and determined to be thankful for my meloncholy moods, if nothing else but to help my children see how I learn to go to God with them, in hopes they will do the same.

    Thank you!

    • michaboyett

      Elisa, it’s great to hear from you. Thanks so much for stopping by and letting me know. It’s such a wobbly line, right? Because you don’t want to impose your own “faith issues” on your kids. You want them to come to God with a clean slate. But, you’re right, there’s something important about teaching kids that God loves them in their honesty, that they don’t have to be afraid to share the truth in prayer.

      If you don’t have it already The Jesus Storybook Bible has also been really significant for me in giving me a language to talk about the gospel with my kids, in a way that doesn’t feel too heavy or too phony. I absolutely recommend it.