Lament for the Disbelieved

Copyright Tanya Marlow sunset lament

This is how to pray a prayer of lament.

’Lament’ sounds very spiritual and dignified. What it looks like in practice is ugly-crying in your front garden while the sun sets.

Today it’s for all the women who are disbelieved.

There are the ones I know who have been abused or assaulted – so many, so many. You may think you don’t know any, but statistics are frighteningly high for women who’ve been assaulted. 1 in 3, in the US, maybe. 1 in 8 who’ve been raped. It’s underreported, under-convicted.

I hold my friends’ stories in my heart as well as those stories I’ve read in the news – the women who testify and aren’t believed, the women who testify and are attacked for doing so, the women who don’t testify and live in fear and silence. The women who are raped twice – once physically and again when they have to relive the experience while their whole history, body, character called into question, spiritually naked, emotionally flogged.

***

I have been lucky enough to not have been sexually assaulted in my life, but I do know something of what it is to be disbelieved. I hold in my heart, too, the stories of friends in the chronically ill and disabled community who have been disbelieved by friends, dismissed by doctors, disowned by family simply for being ill. They relive and perform their illness in emergency rooms, hoping their heart will continue till they are taken seriously.

What do you do when you feel powerless? You creep down to your garden and you sit in a seat in your pyjamas at 6:45pm and watch the sunset and cry. You cry to God, you cry with your body and spirit. The words are incoherent:
Never going to change – unfair – change – Lord – mercy – why – tired – change – please.

You sit in your garden and think of the first garden before it all went wrong. You think of Mary in the garden, weeping for her Lord whose body had gone when all seemed darkest. You cry Mercy in your soul and you scrunch up your stomach once more.

You think you must look ridiculous. You don’t care. The tears keep falling. You think of the friends still waiting for vindication, who are constantly under question, constantly under suspicion. You lament. You remember the God who became human and wept.

The birds call out the faintest song. The sky explodes in a fury of red and orange, and it is beautiful. You look to the sunset, and desperately hope it is also a sunrise. You close the porch doors to re-enter your life, and as you do you say ‘Amen’.

 

Lord Jesus

Who was disbelieved and abused and beaten and misrepresented

Please be close with those who feel powerless.

Lord Jesus

Who chose women to be the first witnesses for your resurrection

Be near to women who carry the burden of silence and the fear of disbelief.

Lord, have mercy.

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3 Responses to Lament for the Disbelieved

  1. Roz Owens 29th September, 2018 at 9:19 am #

    Thank you Tanya for your honesty. You and all those like you with severe M.E I remember in prayer and plead to God for mercy and healing. I think it is SO tough what you have to cope with and I wonder how I would keep trusting God is good in the midst of it if it were me. I’m no stranger to deep suffering but I think ongoing relentless suffering is surely the hardest to deal with, whether being a prisoner in your own bosy or in a physical prison for following Jesus. It is wonderful how Jesus values women and chooses them as the first witnesses to the resurrection. I feel I still need to learn the lesson of not getting too comfortable in this human existence here and now. We constantly need to remind ourselves of the reality of heaven and perfection and freedom and joy to come… I find that hard especially when all of society is so here and now focused and can run off on us.
    I thibk you’re an amazing testimony to God’s sustaining grace Tanya. Keep writing, love Roz x

  2. Stephanie 28th September, 2018 at 10:56 pm #

    Thank you for this, Tanya. It has been a traumatizing time for many. Deep, visceral lament is the only thing I can muster.

  3. Catharine Fischer 28th September, 2018 at 10:38 pm #

    As always, thank you. We’re living in two parallel universes over here.

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