It’s OK if It’s Messy –  Encouragement for Today – February 15, 2024

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Alicia BruxvoortFebruary 15, 2024

It's OK if It's Messy

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"Cry aloud before the Lord, O walls of beautiful Jerusalem! Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Give yourselves no rest; give your eyes no relief." Lamentations 2:18 (NLT)

"It's OK if it's messy," I told my students as they opened their notebooks and began to write. Of course, they knew I wasn't talking about their penmanship; I was talking about life.

The teenagers in my classroom were more familiar with academic failure than success. And sadly, by the time we met, many of them had begun to believe their perceived deficiencies defined their worth. They often hid their ache beneath bravado or apathy, but behind those deft facades were wondrous and hurting humans longing to be understood.

I couldn't change my students' pasts, but I could create a space of grace in the present. So I modeled authenticity and honesty. And each week, we paused our study of classic stories to candidly consider our own.

As my students grew to trust me, they often left their notebooks on my desk, corners creased on the pages they wanted me to read.

They weren't performing for grades or striving for accolades. They were discovering the joy of being known, finding quiet relief as they realized they didn't need to struggle alone.

I'm thinking about those students as I sit with my prayer journal this morning and talk to God about a disappointment I'm carrying.

My words are bewildered and sad, messy and mad. But they are honest.

The Bible calls this kind of prayer "lament." Thankfully, it reminds us we don't need to hide our hurt from God beneath polished words or plastic petitions. It's OK to tell God the truth.

In fact, in the book of Lamentations, we meet a man who brought his cries and complaints to God. And his example gives us permission to do the same:

"Cry aloud before the Lord, O walls of beautiful Jerusalem! Let your tears flow like a river day and night. Give yourselves no rest; give your eyes no relief" (Lamentations 2:18).

Lament is an age-old practice rooted in relationship with God. It's an intimate dance of trust and truth-telling. At first glance, it may seem too audacious, but it's actually both reverent and courageous.

Lament is turning toward God instead of raging against Him.
It's choosing authenticity over apathy and candor over pretense.
Lament is processing our pain in the presence of His love.

So as teardrops drizzle onto my journal page, I follow the example of the truth tellers before me, and I share my lament with Jesus. And when my words run dry (and my tears do, too), my heart swells with quiet relief. Because my cries don't repel my Savior. They actually draw Him near (Psalm 145:18).

And as I relish His tender presence, I'm reminded of what is true: We are understood and fully known. And even when life feels messy, we do not struggle alone.

Dear Jesus, You know my feelings and understand my struggles. Give me the courage to turn to You in my struggle and to trust You with my pain. Thanks for being my safe place of grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.


The cycle is exhausting: seeing glimpses of goodness and trusting that God will come through, only for things not to work out ... again! In these raw and painful seasons, most of us don't want to admit to feeling upset, disappointed or angry, especially when it's toward God. That's why we want to invite you to our next study ... Can I Be Honest? How To Process and Express Your Emotions in a Biblical Way, A Study of the Book of Lamentations. This study is your permission to feel your feelings while still keeping your eyes on Jesus: the greatest hope we have. Click here to order your copy, and join us on February 26 in the free First 5 mobile app.



Visit Alicia's website today for a free resource to help you talk to God when you're hurting, or meet her on Instagram for some more encouragement.


Psalm 130:2, "Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the sound of my pleadings" (NASB).

What disappointment, frustration, sadness or pain do you need to talk to God about today? You can simply begin with, Jesus, to be honest, I feel ...

If you're not in a season of struggle right now, how could you be a place of grace for someone who is? Share with us in the comments.

© 2024 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106