Lamentations
by Jen Hatmaker on December 17th, 2012

My hands are moving, doing things. I cut carrots and parsnips. I picked up some shoes and told kids to fold laundry. I drove my car to some places and sat on the front row at church yesterday.
 
But I am dumbstruck with sadness.
 
I feel numb, then totally not numb, aching, angry, despondent. I need to scream and cry and I had some severe words with God this morning. I did. Because for just this moment in time, not forever, but for these days right now, I’ve hit my limit.
 
I’ve seen too much Tent City in Haiti. I’ve heard too many stories about 10-year-old Ugandan girls treated for STD’s contracted from fathers, uncles, neighbors, sleeping on the steps of the police station, begging for intervention, only to find total apathy. I’ve held the hands of trafficked women, exploited and brutalized. I’ve seen scars on children’s bodies from beatings. There are too many abandoned children, too many five-year-olds trained to sexually service depraved men, too much hunger, too much suffering.
 
And now these children in Connecticut. The teachers huddled in closets, reading them books and saving their lives. The fear, the parents, I literally feel glued to my seat, frozen in grief. The horror, it can’t be believed, it can’t be real. How could this life careen so far of course? How could it? Why are children, the ones least able to mitigate evil and abuse and terror, so often the victims, the targets?
 
I told God today that I didn’t want to do this anymore. That He couldn’t make me. That telling me to hold a torch of hope was too much to ask. What are we supposed to do, just live this life? How are we supposed to handle this, all of this? How do we hold the torch high with all this darkness and evil and perversion and torture? How much does He expect us to take in? He chose poorly when He chose me, I said. I’m too fragile for this evidently. Why He put the prophet’s fire in my belly is confounding. I can’t do it. I told Him. I want out.
 
I cried. I’m crying still. God knows I don’t mean it. I don’t want out. But it felt so good to say it. I miss my last life, when I was oblivious and carefree as a jaybird. I miss giving conference talks on “How to be Confident.” I liked it when that was my deep end. Nothing really hurt. There was no real cost. It was so easy.
 
So I told God I missed the old me, which I totally don’t. I didn’t mean a stitch of it, even as the words were pouring out, furious, heartbroken. I just needed a safe place to fall apart, to grieve and wail and lose it completely, and God is that place for me. He is safe and I can do that with Him. I just needed to beat on His chest and scream, so I did. I am Jeremiah, my eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within. My heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.
 
The scope of suffering and evil is so wide, the hate and fear and disgusting sexual perversions and darkness takes so many innocents, that today I have no idea what to do but grieve. I know others are going to deal in different ways, through other avenues; they are going to rebound quicker or push back sooner, and I’m so grateful for them. The helpful words are already there, or their hope is undaunted, unshaken, undisturbed. We take turns being strong in the family of God, which is such a gift; everyone gets their turn to hold one another up, everyone gets their turn to rend their garments and weep.
 
I’m in the weaker group today, smearing ashes on my forehead and mourning.
 
It’s all I can do. I’ve reached my threshold. I am begging for morning, praying for the dawn. I am truly in a season of Advent, waiting. Jesus, when are you going to come and make all things new? When will you redeem these losses and heal this land? When will children be safe? When are you coming? We are waiting, a groaning earth. We are aliens and strangers, reaching toward the kingdom, gasping. The hope torch is so heavy.
 
My only answer in the face of all this madness is Jesus. I literally have no other words, no better narrative. I believe Him. Just like He came the first time, in the margins, and the earth received her King, I know He is still here, ruling the world with truth and grace. I know He cares and He sees and He will be found. I know He is the light of the world, even though the night is so dark, so pitch black.
 
That is all I know.
 
So for today, all I can offer the Body of Christ is this small space, here, to grieve. For those of you struggling for sense or paralyzed in horror, I am gathering you to me, our tears, our prayers, our gasps safe in this place. Answers are far away, elusive. Christian platitudes are woefully inadequate. Our shoulders stoop with the weight of suffering, and all we can do is light a candle, gather, grieve. We hold a silent vigil for the brokenhearted, trusting Jesus to bring beauty from ashes.
 
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
 
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…
Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust – there may be hope yet.
Lamentations 3:25-29




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92 Comments

Sara - December 17th, 2012 at 11:36 AM
You've just put my thoughts and feelings into words. Thank you for this. It's helpful to know that others feel the same.
Christa - December 17th, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Yes, girl.
Robin - December 17th, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Is it too soon to see hope? I see it, sense it. This collective grief, shared heartache--is this what it takes to move a people to action? To love big, to care for the stranger, to ask hard questions and seek their answers...even when they elude?

How can our hearts not be battered in the face of such great human suffering? How can we continue to look the other way, sink into our comforts, accept the status quo.

It is in the midst of this monstrous atrocity that I'm convinced we are not made for this world. It just doesn't fit....

So, you pitch that fit at God. He understands...look fondly over your shoulder at Egypt (don't we all when it's too hard?).

Your heart is leaking, balm pours out. We can relate. The company of suffering is one steeped in grace.

I love the way you write.
Wendy - December 17th, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Thank you for voicing this in a way that I can't...it's comforting to know we are crying together and have the same heart...
heather - December 17th, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Thanks Jen. This is exactly it. Last week was heartbreaking for me, as I lost the baby I was carrying due to a random chromosomal issue that caused her heart to stop beating. I went through this on Wednesday, and then Friday's horror hit. And it has just been too much. The name of Jesus is our best and only hope these days.
Jen W - December 17th, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Heather I'm so sorry. I lost one in May and carrying another now and my heart breaks for your loss. It is too much. I'm so sorry. May Jesus be near.
Laura - December 19th, 2012 at 3:12 PM
I am so deeply sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. Praying for you right now.
Vickie Schlegl - December 17th, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I often feel that can't go on feeling. The world's pain is too deep, too immense, too overwhelming. But our God is stronger, the words to that song have been ringing through my head all morning. I will hold you up today, little sister...
Sarah Bessey - December 17th, 2012 at 11:41 AM
You write my own heart, sister friend.
Anna - December 17th, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I feel ya..... Jesus come soon!!!!!
heather - December 17th, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Thank you for this space. I dropped my baby off at kindergarten today. My thoughts have moved from the sadness of the parents to the terror that the children must have felt. I can relate to your words so much. This is all too much.

Thank you for these words:
"We take turns being strong in the family of God, which is such a gift; everyone gets their turn to hold one another up, everyone gets their turn to rend their garments and weep.

I%u2019m in the weaker group today, smearing ashes on my forehead and mourning."

Me too.
Tabetha - December 17th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
I am right there with you. I also have a child in kindergarten. At first I was heart broken for the parents, and I still am. But somewhere over the weekend, watching my child, I couldn't stop thinking about the fear these children felt. As I went to pick up my child from school on Friday, just looking at how tiny these little kids are, I just can't imagine how scared they were.
heather - December 17th, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Same here. To not be able to help your child....to hold them during their most frightening moment- would haunt me forever. I don't even know how to pray. The pain that these parents are feeling....there are no words.

Courtney Anne - December 17th, 2012 at 1:37 PM
You said it perfectly Heather...I don't know how to pray either. I pray for comfort but my mind begins spinning and I cannot concentrate on any one prayer. All I do is cry and close my eyes.
Karen - December 18th, 2012 at 10:03 AM
I keep reading the story in Acts 7 when Stephen was being stoned and he looked up and saw the glory of God and Jesus sitting at His right hand, and I believe with all my heart that if God would do that for Stephen, that He did it for those children...that in the moment their faces should have seen pure evil and their hearts should have trembled in terror, instead they saw the glory of God and sweet Jesus sitting next to Him as the heavens opened to take them home...
Dee - December 21st, 2012 at 7:17 PM
Karen, thank you for this comment. I have cried all week - and I consider myself one who doesn't cry easily. I have a first grader. But this..from Acts 7, I think this is the most comforting to me thing I have read this week.
Laurie McClure Hausam - December 17th, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Yes. I grieve with you. Brokenhearted.
Kelly Sauer - December 17th, 2012 at 11:47 AM
This. This is beauty. I was looking for it today. OH.
Bekah Mason - December 17th, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Thank you for putting words to the feelings in my broken heart. It's always in my "I give up" times that He so gently reminds me that He hasn't asked any of us to bear the torch of hope alone. We will bear this burden together and His great Light will shine in the depraved darkness.
Bonita Garrabrant - December 17th, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Thank you, sister. *almost noon. typing this from my bed. still in my jammies. warm and safe. no motivation to move. eating a peanut butter jelly sammich. comfort. i reached my limit yesterday. woke up praying off and on all night. will move tomorrow. but today, i'm here with you.*
Susanelizabeth - December 17th, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I could not sleep and had to get up and post on my wall last night. And yet, the words, well, I could not find them. And you just did. I love you Jen Hatmaker. From the bottom of my soul. Thank you.

michael j. kimpan - December 17th, 2012 at 11:51 AM
beautiful. helpful. healing. hopeful. thank you.
Name - December 17th, 2012 at 11:52 AM
I was looking for a good verse earlier and Lamentations 3:25-33 is it. Thank you. Your words make everything feel a little less hopeless. Parying for you too.
Rachel - December 17th, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Thank you, jen. I share your grief. I'm a bartender and I was crying the other night at work and had the opportunity to share the gospel with some of my patrons. I said I felt overwhelmed by the heavy burden of sin, to the point I could hardly move. But the light and hope of Christ got me out of bed, craving something better. A world with less darkness - this is a POSSIBLE world. "We will OVERCOME by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony."
julie - December 17th, 2012 at 11:55 AM
yes. this. thank you for putting in writing what is in my weary heart.
Bethe - December 17th, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Thank you for giving words to what I have been feeling.
Brian Sigmon - December 17th, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Thank you for such a beautiful, poignant reflection. Despite your feelings to the contrary, I firmly believe that your ability to put grief into words puts you into the "strong" category. My wife introduced me to your work, and I am grateful she did. So please, keep it up. My wife and I pray with you and for you. And we are not alone. O come, O come, Immanuel.
Donna - December 17th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
These are the words I tried to speak to my husband yesterday but couldn't find just the way to say. This is MY heart, too. Why the children, Lord? The abused. The hurt. The mistreated. Why them? I sat with a group of moms last Thursday as one shared that her 3 year-old had been sexually assaulted at a friend's house at Thanksgiving time. Three. I hear these stories all the time. Broken children. Then Friday happened. All I can pray is that Jesus come soon and save us all. But especially the children.
Katie Gonzalez - December 17th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Jen,
Beautifully written. You expressed what so much of us are feeling. God has called us to adopt foster children. We have 4, 2 of whom are incredibly wounded. And we know he's calling us to more children. And recently a part of me just said, "I can't do it any more, God find someone else. It's too hard to listen, decipher, try to connect, want to connect, be rejected, watch the 8 year old who is emotionally 2, see the pain. I am just worn out." That night I ordered $300 of Karen Purvis DVDs and kept on going. But I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide. Not really but yes.

When the Newtown tragedy hit the news I could not find which of my emotions to feel. And how to answer all of my friends who I've been praying so hard would find God, "Why did God allow this?" I again, wanted out. I don't want to field that question that I'm supposed to have the answer to.

Thanks for expressing what I couldn't.
Leigh Ann - December 17th, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Yes. Me too.

A year ago I would've felt sad. I would've held my kids a little closer, prayed for the families and shaken my head at the madness of it all.

But I'm different now. Now I feel like I've been shaken all the way to my center. I know about human trafficking, I know about lonely refugees here in Atlanta, I know about HIV/AIDS and orphaned children in Swaziland, I know about Tent City and widows and orphans in Haiti. And now dead babies in Connecticut. And I can't get past it this time. The grief seems overwhelming. I sat in church yesterday so incredibly pissed off that I couldn't see straight. Furious at God that He lets this go on, furious at my church for daring to sing songs about Christmas and to talk about anything BUT the depraved state of this world, furious at myself for feeling so hopeless. I spent the two hour church service under the weight of my husband's arm around my shoulder, weeping for this world and for the lack of answers I have for my friends and family who don't believe. Because today, I don't know what to believe either.

And then today, the video of one of the little babies lost they keep showing on the news...a sweet little girl singing "Come thou, Almighty King...help us thy Name to sing....help us to praise..." It's more than I can bear.

What is He DOING? Has He forgotten we're here?

I sat down in my sacred place--what I call my God Chair-- today to grieve and search and reflect and sort through all of these feelings, and what I found was 1 Peter 4:12-13: "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

This certainly all feels like a fiery ordeal. And I certainly do feel that something strange is happening...to me and to this world. It doesn't seem possible to have an ounce of joy today, but I have to believe that His glory WILL be revealed. And all I can hear, softly in my ear is that sweet little girl's voice echoing what I'm begging in my own heart, "Come though, Almighty King..."
Angie - December 29th, 2012 at 5:15 PM
Leigh Ann, Your comments cut me so deeply. I sobbed out loud when you asked, "Has He forgotten we're here?" How odd it is that I can actually take comfort from another's teeth-gnashing grief, but I did just that. Because I, too, have struggled with hopelessness over this tragedy, have been offended at the responses of others (as if others are not entitled to process tragedy differently than I), and have needed to just cry, cry and be so pissed off I can't see straight--I'm right with you, and I appreciate your honesty so very much.
Deena - December 17th, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Thank you and know that in my plans somewhere is a trip to see you and share some coffee my treaty if you could fit me in!
Dena - December 17th, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Read your thoughts and as one who works with kids as a therapist and advocate...felt many of the same feelings starting on Saturday. Praying for you...respect your work and genuine spirit.
Ashley - December 17th, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Yes to everything you said. Struggling with the strong desire to look away knowing He doesn't give me permission to turn a blind eye. I don't want to look. I don't want to empathize or sympathize. I want to be ignorant. I don't want to feel this pain. But I can't. I didn't want to take my baby to kindergarten today. I want to homeschool them all and never let them out of my sight. But I can't. Hope seems like such a ridiculous word in the face of all this. But it isn't...because hope is Jesus. That's real, too. I can't figure out how to make it all mesh together. But I know it does. Come Jesus!
Jason - December 17th, 2012 at 12:21 PM
amen sister
Jennifer Ellis - December 17th, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I railed at Him this weekend too, I was so angry with Him for letting this happen and I just gave up, and said if this was the kind of God I served I was done. Then the very next moment all I could do is cry and raise my hands as we sang "Oh Mary did you know The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will walk again. The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb." I'm so glad He has strong shoulders, and loves me through my doubt!
Kristin - December 17th, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Thank you for not giving up your torch. I, for one, need to keep my eyes on it and continue to see it glow. Please know that when it is weak I will pray for your strength. You and your words are a gift to me.
Marilee Marks - December 17th, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I stood in my daughters kindergarten class today and rejoiced that all 24 had smiles and innocence in tact. She stood by her teacher and smiled and received one in return. And I was thankful. But I was grieved. For tiny souls who should never have known terror and pain. And grieved for parents who didn't walk their children to school today.
I'm done too. Please COME Emmanuel.
Alta Blake - December 17th, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Thanks Jen...I really needed this today...I am weighed down and need the lifting voice of one who knows how to speak for us all...you are just the one today. My hope is in Jesus...I just want Him to come. O come Lord Jesus
Molly Shockley - December 17th, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I just finished Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren and she used words that are so similar to what you've experienced in what you have seen in Haiti and here. The devastation is so heavy and part of coming closer to Him is feeling that weight. It's unbearable. That our eyes change and we don't see the world the same anymore, because we are gloriously ruined for His kingdom. I love everything you've said here, and that you didn't mean it. I am so thankful for your boldness to open my eyes to see more of the world than what's around me, your journey sparked something big in me...and I can't shake it. It's ugly and painful but its tremendously better than I ever thought my love for Him could be. Hang in there sister, praying for you. Milt Olsen shared a prayer for advent yesterday about JOY and with weaping he said, "Our joy is in our faith in you, because we do not feel joyful today." But our faith is that our joy is not dependent on circumstances, but our joy is in Him. All my love Jenn.
Margaret - December 17th, 2012 at 12:43 PM
thanks for this. Don't normally hear/read a passage from Lamentation around the holidays
Eco chic mama - December 17th, 2012 at 12:46 PM
He is our hope & shield and surely the author or restoration and peace.
He does not give what he does not have .. So good is from HIM
Evil is not.
Let a great awakening come to our home, hearts and nation that focus on grace and a savior
Becky - December 17th, 2012 at 12:48 PM
"The hope torch is so heavy."

Yes.
teresa evans - December 17th, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Thank you.
Name - December 17th, 2012 at 1:05 PM
This keeps coming to me: "If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways; then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14. LORD, HEAL OUR LAND!
Ali - December 17th, 2012 at 1:15 PM
This post is so awesome. I am a sexual assault victim advocate at a local women's shelter, I have only been doing it for one year. God has worked more in my life this past year than ever before. It's refreshing that my job requires me to rely on Jesus so much but definitely frustrating at times. I have seen and heard some very awful things but I am often left with thankfulness for what Jesus did for us, that he bore all of our sin on the cross...I can't even begin to imagine how very heavy that must have been. This reminds me to keep clinging to Him with everything that I have, so that I can be Jesus to these women I meet with. This verse was encouraging to me today,
"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth." Hosea 6:3
So today I pray, Lord come to us like winter rain....
Stephanie - December 17th, 2012 at 1:16 PM
Oh, this.
Mary Beth - December 17th, 2012 at 1:16 PM
Standing with you. Grieving and hurting with you. You articulate so well the cry of my heart. Thank you, Jen. Come Lord Jesus. Come quickly.
melissa v - December 17th, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Grieving with you today, sweet sister! Your grief and your intercession are not in vain! For those who sow in tears shall reap with joy carrying in the sheaves!
Bethany Bassett - December 17th, 2012 at 1:45 PM
Thank you for this--your honesty, your grief-stricken hope, all of it.
Andy White - December 17th, 2012 at 1:49 PM
Yep.
I'm finding myself mired in the negativity of everyone reacting to it and just wanting to go be by my introvert self for a while.
Time for a social media break, for me, I think. Probably network news too. I'm just fatigued from it, man.
Lisa - December 17th, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Wow. I came to FB hoping that SOMEONE out there felt the same as I do today. I have cried since my first sip of coffee this morning. I don't know why it hit me today. Those babies were supposed to be going to school this morning. I watched my baby walk in the door and.....well, you all know.
I've been getting texts from friends hoping for some explanation. (You see, I'm the "Jesus freak" to some sweet girlfriends). I've got nothing today except "Cling to God". Nothing profound. I'm so weary and frankly depressed. I'm the one that they somehow think can always see God at work. I know He is at work binding up the brokenhearted. I know he is. All I can do today is trust him. And grieve.
So while others continue to post their weekend sports success, their Christmas projects and plans, and even the sweet pictures of babies, I just have to say a huge thank you, Jen, for being my soul mirrored back. It's comforting and I'm taking it clearly that God is saying. It's ok, girls. You grieve. If we somehow are bearing a portion of someone else's greif, I'll gladly take it.
We need you, Lord Jesus, today and forever.
dawn - December 17th, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Yes. Yesterday was the "joy" candle. I lit it as a discipline. A declaration that the darkness has not overcome the light. But I grieved all day. Cried and prayed and cut out paper snowflakes methodically just so my hands had something to do. That's all I could manage. I've not seen Haiti or Uganda first hand, but in my small way I understand and grieve with you.
Abbey Smith - December 17th, 2012 at 2:12 PM
Thank you for being a safe space to feel these things. Half a country away I cannot stop shaky g with anger and grief at the horro of this world and I have no right to cling to this tragedy, those weren't my children, that wasn't my school, I have felt selfish in my grief. I appreciate knowing I'm not alone, that my tears are all of your tears and that my tears are His tears and that He doesn't begrudge them.
Betsy Emerson - December 17th, 2012 at 2:29 PM
I echo your feelings of 'enough' . I just finished reading 'Half the Sky' and the burden of my increasing awareness of the evil in the world just feels so heavy this month. And then Friday... I have a six year old- and 3 more- and it's just too much sometimes. I just kept thinking- this is so unbelievable, but evil like this happens every single day in remote parts of the world and most of us never hear about it. So impossibly hard to understand. I find comfort in your words and the comments of others, thank you.
alison - December 17th, 2012 at 2:36 PM
Yesterday in church we spent a great deal of time lamenting.
Diana Christmas - December 17th, 2012 at 2:36 PM
Jen,

Thank you, as always, for being open and honest. I am thankful the Lord has made you, rescued you and called you to "hold a torch of hope" to our world that is spinning with madness.

Thank you for allowing a safe place for us to cry and mourn. Jesus is enough..

Praying for you as you continue to carry the torch that God has asked you to carry...
Sonii - December 17th, 2012 at 2:38 PM
tears
Sheri - December 17th, 2012 at 3:11 PM
Thank you Jen for your words. This has been a tough weekend. My children are grown and I have no grandkids yet but I'm sure it has been especially hard for parents and teachers today as the children return to school. I have cried buckets of tears for the children of Africa--in the slums, in the streets, needing a bed to sleep on, rummaging through the trash for a morsel of food. Then the trafficked children around the world and even in our own country is appalling. There are times when I wonder what in the world our God is doing. And I thought this weekend, I'm sure there have been tears in heaven as well. He hears the cries of the brokenhearted. I'm sure it broke his heart to see what happened in CT on Friday. Though it is sometimes hard for us to see or even to hear, He is our comfort and our peace. So many times I feel overwhelmed by a heart burdened for those in need. There is just so much and so many and the injustice of it all. But even if I can't make a difference for many, perhaps I can make a difference for just one. You are such a blessing to so many Jen, thank you for being and becoming who God meant for you to be.
Alissa - December 17th, 2012 at 3:22 PM
Thank you, Jen. On Saturday and Sunday I spent the day searching verses, searching for comfort. I looked to see if had written anything, but you had not yet. So I wrote my own post yesterday. Because writing helps me process. I had to comment, because I chose the same title for mine, Lamentations. A crying out, mourning, weeping for those babies and for our country, our world. I have two friends that were directly impacted. It is more than I can even process. Thank you for your words.
Aubrey R - December 17th, 2012 at 3:39 PM
I searched first for verses about His vengeance. Today I'm more desperate. despairing, and hurting--at first I was just so freaking angry. I'm so sick of evil, and I'm so mad that anyone would lose their baby, and so many did. Lost their mama. It's too big. Thank you for your words and this space today.
Virginia - December 17th, 2012 at 4:19 PM
So thankful for your words. "Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death's dark shadows put to flight."
Bethany - December 17th, 2012 at 5:07 PM
I am thankful to write about this with y'all.

Once I heard on Friday, I bottled up the grief for a few hours until the kids were asleep, and then I told my husband I just needed to cry for them - that I knew that Jesus was crying, and I wanted to join Him. That they could never be cried for enough, that they deserve rivers to be wept for them. So I sat in his lap just like our children and wept. I just feel like the world should stop... It always shocks me when something unspeakable happens and the world doesn't stop.

I also told my husband I don't want to be scared. "So don't!" And he's right, I will keep quoting, "I will fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod and your staff."

Oh Jesus, our Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Be the peace that passes all understanding, be the balm for these horrific wounds.

And, from here Lord Jesus, give our hands something good and better to DO for our children.

One good place to start: http://go.sojo.net/site/MessageViewer?em_id=23382.0&dlv_id=27102
Chris Oakes - December 17th, 2012 at 5:32 PM
"When that was my deep end" - thank you for all your words, but especially for those six. So many of us, for many and varied reasons, know exactly what you mean.
Krystal - December 17th, 2012 at 5:41 PM
I can't put words to my thoughts... I am so angry, confused... you've expressed what I've not been able to do... still nothing feels enough.
Lindsey - December 17th, 2012 at 8:52 PM
Beautiful. I've been waiting to see what you would say about this- you so often put words to the way my heart beats. Thank you.
Kim - December 17th, 2012 at 8:58 PM
Thank you for this ... and for all you do. Needed this .... brings some sense of healing, of hope.
Annie O - December 17th, 2012 at 9:19 PM
Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison. Lord, have Mercy. Christ, have mercy.
In the darkness, the "Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." - Rom 8:26
Angela - December 17th, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Sometimes it just hurts to breathe...yet He gives me the next breath. And I reach for the hem of His garment.
Mare - December 17th, 2012 at 10:50 PM
very beautiful. And true. Christ is all we have. He is all we have ever had, and He is all we will ever have. I, too, long for His return. so much suffering happens in the waiting. I must believe His timing is perfect, or I could face another day.
Donna - December 18th, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I was deeply in grief even before Newtown. In little over a year my my dearest friend died, my father died, and my brother was murdered. My brother was shot in the back at point-blank range by his next-door neighbor, enraged because my brother's dog went onto the neighbor's property. So that horrendous kick-in-the-gut shock of a violent murder was still fresh when I heard about those innocent children slaughtered. I was sick, numb, wondering how God could allow all of this to happen. But on Sunday our pastor (Portico Church, Arlington, Virginia) preached the most incredible sermon. He linked the Newtown tragedy with Christmas. We have a savior who became man, lived a hard life, and died for us. Our savior knows what it's like to be a human being in a broken world. He knows and his pain is solace for our pain. This sermon is on the church website (http://www.porticoarlington.org/category/recent-audio/) if you want to hear it. It really helped me to understand and gave me great comfort.
Gary - December 18th, 2012 at 2:22 AM
Lamentations: Lament
to feel, show, or express grief, sorrow, or regret. to mourn deeply.

Thank you for expressing what I could not but felt. What you experience is not displayed daily before our nation, even though those tragedies are just as important.

Our world, in general, and our leaders are sick. Our media is corrupt.

My wife and I have been crying for quite some time and Friday just added to our river of tears.

God bless and keep everyone in this post.
Anna - December 18th, 2012 at 5:04 AM
I love this quote by CS Lewis
%u201CIf we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

We are just longing for home, this world is broken, deep inside we know it just HAS to better than this.
Barbara - December 20th, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Amen
Victoria - December 18th, 2012 at 6:14 AM
It is SO HARD to be submissive and obedient to Colossians 3:2 yet Christ followers will do that.
Kim Howard - December 18th, 2012 at 7:56 AM
Thank you for another beautiful post. As I wiped tears from my eyes yet again last night as I just can't seem to hold them in since Friday, I thought about you and couldn't wait to get onto the computer this morning. I thought "I wonder what Jen Hatmaker has posted about this tragedy. She'll have words that will soothe me right now." And you came through. You have such a gift for simplicity - raw, honest, simple truth. You are authentic and real, just speaking what you know from a place of genuine servanthood to God, and I needed that. Just to grieve with someone else who is broken open as I am, yet can remind me to hold fast to what I know - Jesus. Thank you for your poetic words once again - they are my candle right now, God Bless.
Suzie Lind - December 18th, 2012 at 10:47 AM
The grief, the mourning, the sadness, and yes... even the hope. So perfectly captured. Come Lord Jesus, come.
Jessica S. - December 18th, 2012 at 12:33 PM
I think that I've been hurting so intensely I can't even yell or be angry. I don't know what to do with the sadness. How can I drop my babies off to Kindergarten and 2nd grade on Jan 2...it's just so big. I think of those mommas and the constant sorrow..yet the need to ease the pain of those closest to her...overwhelming. I know He is here, there and more but it's hard to feel Him while fighting back the fear and sadness. Thank you for helping see past my tears to His promise of hope! Merry Christmas!
Dedra - December 18th, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Jen: Thank you for your words and your threshing out with Him. We got the news of the shooting as we said goodbye to 177 orphans in Haiti. Grieving and mourning and missing have been with me for days now for all of the reasons you listed above. Thanks for kicking my tail this year and encouraging me to not want to be who I used to be even in the midst of all the pain. Now that we know, we know. He is the only answer. Jesus come quickly. Heal our land.
Jill - December 18th, 2012 at 4:40 PM
Someone needs to organize a Million Mom March on Washington. I can't stand this, and I'm here in Cincinnati, Ohio, far away from Connecticut... but my own sweet kindergartner and second grader are here every day to remind me of how lucky I am, and just what precious gifts were stolen from SO many moms and families there in Connecticut. I told my husband today that God must be trying to spread the grief around somehow, for as much as I keep trying. Those sweet babies and their teachers deserve more than just tears though. Seriously, Million Mom March... think about it.
Stephanie - December 18th, 2012 at 7:47 PM
This post hits so close today. I spent the afternoon sitting in court of a young boy in our church outreach program. As we waited for his name to be called listening to case after case, I grew more and more weary. I didn't cry in court today, but I did think Lord where is the hope for these children when their situation is so bleak? How can a 7th grade little girl who has missed the maximum of her school days for this year, has a 19 month old daughter and is currently 5 months pregnant find hope? I thought to myself Lord just come, we are ready. I thought Lord you are their hope, but do they even know you Jesus? I thought how do we reach them so they can know you? I run dry on emotion today. I am angry, and frustrated, sad, scared, worried, desperate and angry some more. After I left that courtroom I did my usual day in my life, picked up my precious ones from school, unloaded groceries, made dinner, etc. I thought in the back of my mind, I asked for Your eyes when we first started our outreach program, but I don't want them anymore. I don't want to grieve and be broken hearted and to feel despair and be so close to hungry children. I want to go back to my old church life. You know the blessing the blessed life?! Yes, that one. I want it back. I don't enjoy this. But I know that isn't entirely true. Because how can you turn your back on hungry when you don't have to fly to see it, you just drive to it. How can you turn your back on the boy missing school because he is tired of being jumped by the gang. How can you, how can you, how can you? You can't. So, I sit here letting the weight of today finally eruptinto tears reading this post that speaks so much of what I am feeling. Thank you for indulging my comment.
Cori - December 18th, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I'm reading your book right now, and I had a thought today: "I wonder what Jen Hatmaker thinks of all of this." Turns out, we think the same things. Absolutely shattered. Thank you for this post.
Andrea - December 19th, 2012 at 8:41 PM
When I first heard news reports on Friday, I was numb. Then on Sunday I noticed that my 7 year old niece has little green and gold flecks in her eyes. I've looked in her eyes a million times but, I have never noticed those little green and gold flecks. It was the smallest thing, but from that time on I have cried. Too many moms and dads that will never be able to look in their little one's eyes and notice something new. When I pray only tears come so I am counting on Romans 8:26 to be true - when we don't know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
FosterCareQandA - December 20th, 2012 at 1:17 PM
It's a heavy burden to feel called to somehow save the world in the midst of all this chaos and grief. Instead, I try to focus on saving one little life at a time. Otherwise I'm not sure that I could go on under all the weight that I feel.
Mac - December 21st, 2012 at 10:07 AM
I'm going to leave a comment that's totally different that what everyone has said, both here and everywhere else.
What is wrong with me? It's not that I don't care. It's not that I don't see the horror and the tragedy and the unspeakable grief. I get it. I do. To see all those kids, those families, destroyed in an instant. Lives changed and wrecked and ruined because of a horrible choice one man made.
I see that it's an unprecedented horror that's been thrust into our lives. But...you will all hate me after this is done...I can't feel what the rest of the world says they're feeling.
Am I so selfish that since this does not effect me personally in my day to day life, that I can't work up the emotion?
I have a son and I would be devastated if I were to lose him, I would simply cease to exist without him, so I can glimpse the horror the parents and friends and loved ones of the murdered must feel. But it's not me, it's not someone I know. My life will roll along as normal. I can't confess to crying over the news, I did pray for the families. I can't say that I think about it when it's not in my face. I don't think we should ban guns or require people with any type of mental issue to be more closely supervised. I can't say that I have an answer because I don't.
The only answer, is that evil exists. While I'm not fine with it, I understand that it's there. I understand that each and everyone of us is as close to evil as we are to the shirt we're wearing.
I understand that both joy and tragedy are as close as our next breath and it's only by God's will and mercy that we'll get through whatever happens next.
But, I'm empty inside when it comes to these big tragedies.
9/11 - didn't change my life one bit. I'm no more patriotic, no more afraid to fly, no more cautious. Waco- I watched my dad weep for the lost children, but didn't understand why he was crying.
the list goes on and on, because that's what a list of evil does - it never ends.
Please don't think I'm hard-hearted, but maybe I am. I want to care. I want to grieve like everyone else and pray and cry and mourn. I feel that those are the correct responses, but it's just not in me.
My heart bleeds for the under-dog. The bullied kid that thinks suicide is the way out. The children forced into sexual depravity before they even know what sex is. My heart aches for the children that are left behind, neglected, forgotten, discarded. I do cry for the prostitutes and porn stars. the battered wives with no escape.
I guess I cry for the living. There's the real tragedy, those that are left here, to mourn and move on, alone.
The media will leave, the cards will stop, the prayers will get farther down the lists, life will resume for the rest of the world, but for those left behind, it will never be the same. Maybe that's why I can't feel it now. I know that eventually when all the hoopla subsides, there will be people left behind. Left with the memories, the photos, the videos, the empty rooms and empty places in their hearts. That's what makes me cry.
But not yet.
doug - December 22nd, 2012 at 10:21 AM
The hope torch is heavy. Yes!
Lynn - December 22nd, 2012 at 5:20 PM
God wants to use our suffering.
The trials and suffering in life are hard. Sometimes we pray for God to take them away. But when we allow Jesus to carry us through these difficult times, it feels great to be on the other side, to walk in victory, whatever that looks like... to have trusted in Him with ALL might heart. Through the sorrows my husband and I have been through, our prayer lives have changed, our quiet times have changed, even our service to the Lord has changed. We have grown closer and more dependent on Him because of them. Now we can minister to others, even a little, when they go through similar losses. But when you experience the PEACE that passes all understanding...Oh, my... it is no longer poetic words in the Bible. It is sweet peace, that I had never known before these losses. May you be encouraged to cling to Jesus in the trials. You would not want to go through them without Him. Isaiah 26:3. Be blessed.
stacy - December 22nd, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Jen, Thank you. This was something I needed to read,I keep crying for those children and all the helpless children in this world. It breaks my heart and I need to cling to Jesus, we all do. Bless you and your family
Debby Morden - December 23rd, 2012 at 5:39 PM
Jen- Thank you -Thank you -Thank you- My heart HURTS for all the brokenness of this life but mostly for children & we are all God's children. There is so much evil & the evil wants us to dwell on that but our Faith is the Rock of Jesus Christ our salvation & our Hope is in Him! Listen to Laura Story's song Blessings-it is a godsend to hurting hearts like ours. Jen thank you for blessing all of us & teaching us to be more like Christ. Also, praise God that the Legacy Project is being funded quickly- God is amazing!
Barbara - December 24th, 2012 at 6:53 PM
The only comfort I have is knowing there are others just like me, hurting as I am over the world we live in. I recently visited my Grandmothers grave, while there I met someone who was a witness to her last time to attend chruch while in rural Arkansas. She told me she rose from her seat and tesified that " God was good, all the time, even in times like these" While traveding home she died behind the wheel of her car and went to be with her Lord and Savior. That was 41 years ago, I know that I will see her again someday,and so will the parents of all those little people in Conn. Waiting for His return.
diana trautwein - December 29th, 2012 at 3:20 PM
I am late, but still glad to find these powerful, heartfelt words of honest grief. I thank you for the invitation and the - permission? - to not have answers, to be tired to the bone of so much darkness, to wonder when Jesus will come in power to redeem this hall of horrors we live in. And then, I find words like these. I see my own grandchildren in their fresh beauty, I hear beautiful music, wake to a gorgeous rainbow, celebrate 47 years of marriage, through good stuff and terrible stuff - and I remember again. . . it's a one-piece life: the good/bad, wonderful/horrible, joy/despair - all of it happens at once and somehow, I must learn to live in the tension of that, the truth of that. Thanks for this beautifully written reminder.
Laurie - December 30th, 2012 at 7:46 PM
Been still careening since this 2-week-ago post. My girl's the one who keeps me there. We're one week away--ONE WEEK--from this sweet adopted former foster kiddo of mine taking her first big steps toward home with us after 18 months in a psych facility. I'm scared. I'm still grieving what this world does to children. Eight years I've grieved as I've watched the abuse of my daughter's first 2 years of life before us continue to twist her soul, break her. I've been so depressed I couldn't write, call friends. Your words here hit home so strongly. Sending hugs, hope, your way.
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