I vividly remember almost dying. I was young, maybe five. My family was enjoying the summer heat in a ginormous pool (in the eyes of a five-year old). The plot of this memory thickens as bravery and curiosity strike my young heart. “What would happen,” I thought, “if I put my foot on that downward slope?” As I slid down the declined slope to the deep end of the pool, I found that my ability to sink outweighed my ability to swim. My arms were flailing. My lungs were being filled with water. It was terrifying and hopeless. At that young age, I still remember feeling the full weight of my deadly mistake. After––seemingly––a few hours of being underwater, I felt a mighty hand grasp my shoulders and rip me out of the water. My aunt saved my life.

Drowning doesn’t get easier as we age. Often, the physical waters of our childhood turn into secrets, sins you committed, sins others committed aimed at you, and tragedy. All of these, at different points in life, come together to make emotional waves that seem too heavy to bear.

Psalm 69 is a lament psalm. Lament Psalms are the white rope attached to the outside of the life-saving ring that we grasp on to when the waves come up to our necks. When we pray lament Psalms, we are given a structure and vocabulary to take our deepest longings, no matter how negative, to God. Lament allows us to lay the unhealthy shame at God’s feet, the shame we hide from everyone else.

Glenn Pemberton says this in discussing the value of lament, “I believe that in the psalms of lament we find both a vocabulary to express the realities of our brokenness and a grammar that helps us control the vocabulary. In brief, what we really need and what the psalms of lament provide is a way to live through times of disorientation with God as an intimate traveling companion.”

Today, I will…take ten minutes to tell God the specifics of my life that are burdensome to me now.