Let Us Pray: New Beginnings

sunrise by the lake

I don’t like new beginnings. Since I was a child, I struggled with transitions. I struggled with making room for the new and letting go of the old. A lot of that is rooted in childhood trauma that, over the years, became like a matted-down teddy bear for me. I under- stood my own trauma, and it understood me. Letting go of it would be letting go of the strange comforts of hiding in the corners of my trauma and entering a new world where that trauma no longer had power.

I struggled in starting a new grade, in new chapters of my youth, and in young adulthood. Most recently, I became a mother to a vivacious, daring, joyful little girl. For some, becoming a mother is a smooth transition—something they have dreamt of since they were little girls. However, for me, motherhood was never a joyful point on my horizon. It felt more like a black hole, and I struggled with a constant guilt for not carrying a pregnancy glow and that postpartum joy that so many women told me about.

It was a transition, a shift, a new beginning that I wrestled and fought with. It left me tired and torn. I felt emotionally bruised and scared of letting go of my own fears and anxieties. I often mumbled to my husband during my early postpartum depression haze, “How could something so new, so happy, come out of such a sad person?”

I think we often find ourselves asking this question in a variety of ways. How can I venture into a new job with such anxiety? How can I start a new relationship when I have been hurt by others? How can I heal from pain from my past and enter a new spring in my life if all I have known is the darkness and weight of winter?

Prayers of Lament

In moments of transitions, my prayers often mirror those of lament. I lament having to let go of the old to make space for the new. When my daughter was born, I lamented my old self and felt guilty for not rejoicing. What I have come to learn, though, is that prayers of lament are crucial for some of us during moments of new beginnings. We must mourn our old selves, the parts that we may leave behind. God sits with us as we grieve and cry out into the unknown. Our God is not one that leaves us behind when we fall into a prayer of lament.

I find myself often reflecting on the story of the woman at the well. Here before Christ is a woman who finds herself maybe clinging to her own past, her own trauma, her own misgivings, and those of others in her life.

She comes to the well at the hottest time of the day, perhaps to hide in her own self, to find solace for a few minutes from her own laments. And on this day, she experiences a kind of rebirth.

It must have been terrifying at first, to meet a stranger who knows those parts of herself that she clung to, that she had been shamed by. Her encounter with new life is not one marked by peace, but by unrest. But this encounter with new life changes everything for her. In the heat of the day, she discovers the unfolding nature of joy. Christ does not leave her to mourn and grieve her past alone, but he sits with her and drinks from the well with her.

We may often find ourselves like the woman at the well: holding unto our old selves, scared of what transition could bring us, finding ourselves hidden in the lament of our silent prayers. And it is at the well, at the warmest hour of the day, when Christ encounters our weary spirits. He encounters our past and our grief. He encounters our season of pain and brings forth healing and new life.

Let Us Pray

For a spirit of joy, we pray to the Lord.
For a space to grieve that which we must
let go of, we pray to the Lord.
For our laments to be transformed into
hymns of joy, we pray to the Lord.
For new life to flourish despite our fears
and doubts, we pray to the Lord.
For hope in waiting for the Lord to work within and around us, we pray to the Lord.
For encounters with Christ at the well, where we are welcomed into new life, we pray to the Lord.

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7 thoughts on “Let Us Pray: New Beginnings”

    1. Santanu Goswami

      God knows all our necessities beforehand without our asking. Still we need praying to put our necessities in right order within our mind.

  1. I am praying for a new beginning in my life. I desire to return home to New York City. I fear the uncertain possibilities. Is this God’s will and plan for me? I don’t know. I can only trust in Him.

  2. Br. Kevin Gusty Todd

    I am so grateful God has made a soul as deeply feeling as yours, even if it feels sadness. Thank you for shining His light. You are beautiful.

    1. Br, Kevin: Bless you for recognizing Vanessa’s gift oF openness in sharing (for most of us) the painful stages of being human. Is there anyone out there that didn’t feel deeply some element of her offer of God’s light, healing and transformation (New Beginnings) Her prayer an even more meaningful summation of it all. Consider both you and Vanessa prayed for. ‘

      Joan E, White

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