I am a woman of many words. I am a woman of few words. At times I have been long-winded, while other times I have been empty of words. I have been prolific, and I have been sparse of words. Perhaps that is just the way the writing life goes. It has an ebb and flow. We can’t always be on, but we can keep showing up. This week we’re talking about honesty for Real Talk Tuesday. I’m sharing honestly about walking through the storm of silence and holding faith.
I find myself in another season of wondering where the words are. Are they buried in the deep of my soul waiting to be unearthed? Are they coursing through my veins waiting to pulse through my fingers as I tap the keyboard? Are the bound in space I have yet to inhabit? Are they fighting because they do not wish to be discovered. These are all things I ponder as a I wait and process this season.
There are moments I know exactly what I want to say, and there are other moments I have no clue what to say. I love words, so when I find myself unable to bring them to the surface, then I consider something deeper is at hand. I may not share all of that here in my little corner of the internet. After all, there are some things we hide in our hearts because they are just for us and not meant to be shared with the world.
Here’s what I can tell you in this right now moment: life is hard and sometimes strips us of the ability to define and articulate what we think and feel. What do you do when that happens? How do you hang on to hope, when you can’t use your voice to say what you need? Maybe it’s the weight we carry or the narrowness of our perspective. Maybe we have deep-seated hurt of which we were previously unaware. Maybe it’s simply because we are finite human beings able to only hold so much before the dam breaks. I don’t have answers, a magic pill, or even a three-step plan to succeed. What I do have, as a woman of faith, is God’s promise to never leave me nor forsake me. I have His word.
The moment I think I haven’t got a prayer to pray or something to utter, I remember the Psalms. They’re one of my favorite life-affirming books in the bible, particularly Psalm 23. And this Psalm whispers in my heart in these moments when I cannot find my words. The Lord Is My Shepherd. I shall not want…He restores my soul. While I may not have words of my own, I borrow David’s and speak them over and over again in prayer. Even in the valley of the shadow where there is often darkness, shade, and silence, I am not alone. For even in the valley, God is with me and reminding me of the hope I have in Him.
To be honest, I may not even feel like praying these words. But my soul agitates my flesh to take action – to stand firm, to not be silenced, and to use my voice even if it means borrowing from the psalmist. After all, isn’t that the power of the bible? An ancient text which comes to life as we hide it away in our hearts day in and day out; and the moment we need it, it springs up – girding us, guarding us, and filling us with hopeful truth. I may not have original prayers all the time, but I can speak the Word of God over my heart, mind, and soul and find reprieve.
Maybe this is what it means to strengthen one’s self in God. I repeat David’s refrain over and over again; the Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Over and over again. I turn the words around in my mind. I meditate on them and find His peace resting on me. God is a good Father. He really is! He does so much for us even while we’re unaware. The more I meditate on His words, the more I remember just how much work God is doing on my behalf. He’s the one who shepherds me, makes me lie down, leads me to stillness, restores my soul, comforts me, and blesses me. It’s all Him at work all the times in ways I cannot even fathom.
So what if I don’t “feel” like praying, I’ll show up and do it anyone. It changes me, transforms me, and fires up hope. Whenever I feel unable to speak and lost for the “right” thing, I’ll speak this psalm as my anthem.
God will come. I know He will. He always hears the cry of His children.