When my son died, the psalms of The Bible became new friends. Although I had found beauty in many of them prior to his death, the raw ones held profound meaning for me after Daniel breathed his last.
While he was in a comatose state for nearly two weeks, I often left his bedside to find seclusion from the visitors. My respite was the adjoining bathroom. I sat on the edge of the tub and repeated the verses of Psalm 23. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . . " I prayed that Daniel would not die (what mother wouldn't?) and that he would be healed. I knew he had been pronounced "brain dead" due to the staph infection that had played havoc with his body, but I was not willing to let him go.
Daniel died on February 2. 1997.
Since Daniel's death, I have needed the comfort and the lament of the psalms in a fresh way.
The poignant verses have helped me know that it is okay to question God, to doubt, to cry out, and to lament. Big time.
"My eyes are dim with grief . . . " (Psalm 88:9 NIV)
"My tears have been my food day and night." (Psalm 42:3 NIV)
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18 NIV)
The psalms have helped me in my own writing. I even created an online writing workshop to help others incorporate the psalms into their writing.
I feel that digging into the Psalms provides an excellent way to be stirred by language, emotion, imagery, and God's faithfulness and wonder. By using the templates of the Psalms from The Bible, we can create our own custom-tailored psalm of praise and psalm of woe. We can discover how composing a psalm can energize our writing, and our life.