A Mourning Lament Outline

So you want to write a lament poem to mourn someone you loved? You can just follow your heart, but if you don’t know where to start…then start with this outline derived from David’s lament for Saul and Jonathon (2 Samuel 1:19-27).

I. Introduce your loved one as a symbol using two lines. Here is the example from 2 Samuel 1:19. (The gazelle symbolizes an important figure.) 
    “A gazelle lies slain on your heights, Israel.
    How the mighty have fallen!”

II. Use four lines to explain how his or her death will affect the world. In the case of Saul and Jonathon, their death would cause their enemies to rejoice. See 2 Samuel 1:20 below.
“Tell it not in Gath,
    proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon,
lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad,
    lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice.

III. Use four lines to give details of the death. In 2 Samuel 1:21, David curses the place that the death occurred.
“Mountains of Gilboa,
    may you have neither dew nor rain,
    may no showers fall on your terraced fields.
For there the shield of the mighty was despised,
    the shield of Saul—no longer rubbed with oil.

IV. Use eight lines to describe your loved one’s character. David describes their fierceness, skill, and bravery in battle (2 Samuel 1:22-23).
“From the blood of the slain,
    from the flesh of the mighty,
the bow of Jonathan did not turn back,
    the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
Saul and Jonathan—
    in life they were loved and admired,
    and in death they were not parted.
They were swifter than eagles,
    they were stronger than lions.

V. Use four lines to describe the good he or she did in their lifetime. David recalls the riches that Israel enjoyed while Saul was king (2 Samuel 1:24).
“Daughters of Israel,
    weep for Saul,
who clothed you in scarlet and finery,
    who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.

VI. Use four lines to describe how you loved the person. David and Jonathon were close friends, and this becomes evident as we read 2 Samuel 1:25-26.
“How the mighty have fallen in battle!
    Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
    you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
    more wonderful than that of women.

V. Using the last two lines, repeat one of the lines in the first stanza. For the first line of his last stanza, David repeats the 2nd line of the first stanza. Then he adds another short line to close out this last stanza (2 Samuel 1:27).
“How the mighty have fallen!
    The weapons of war have perished!”

This versatile outline can be used to write laments for any event that caused you to feel abandoned such as a breakup or divorce. There is no better place to get inspired than God’s own Word. If you wrote a masterpiece and would like to have a chance at getting it published, see Draw Near’s guidelines.

My Child’s Faith Journey

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” —Proverbs 22:6

As a born again Christian with almost no church background, I did not have a clue how to raise a faithful child. As I reflect on my daughter’s faith journey, there is no question that it was orchestrated by God. I praise Him every day for the ways in which He has helped my daughter to become a lovely, faithful young woman. My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for the ways in which the Holy Spirit guided me to be a part of her journey.

Before my daughter was even born, it was on my heart to pray for her to know the Lord. After her birth, my friend mentioned that she was reading a novel to her infant. Inspiration hit! The Lord gave me a bright idea to read the Bible daily to my newborn. I read one chapter a day until she had grown out of those baby clothes and into toddler clothes.

She began to speak very early—so early,  in fact, that much of what she said was nonsensical. Still, I felt the Lord leading me to teach her not only the vocabulary of everyday items but also to say words having to do with Christianity like “God,” “Jesus,” “Holy Spirit,” “church,” etc. She had received a simple children’s prayer as wall art. I taught her this simple prayer to say at night before bed. Every morning, I felt inspired to say the Lord’s Prayer (found in Matthew 6:9-13) aloud on our ride to daycare. About the time I thought she should start memorizing the Lord’s Prayer, she surprised me by saying the whole prayer all by herself!

My daughter received lots of colorful children’s books with Bible stories. She read about Garden of Eden, Noah, Jonah, Daniel, and Jesus’ death and resurrection. I felt it was important to regularly stress the idea that the Bible and these Bible stories were non-fiction unlike her Dr. Seuss books and the many other books that filled our bookshelves.

As she grew too old for the children’s books, the Lord led me to buy her devotionals with prayers and encourage her to read them every night. We could not afford to send her to a private school or for me to stay home from work to homeschool so she attended public school. Since I felt like public school was the only open door, I hoped this was for a reason. I prayed for it to be her opportunity to be a light in her public school and to share Christ with her life. The decision of where to attend school is a hard one for Christian parents, but God shows us the special place that is right for each child.

Ever since I was saved, the Lord helped me to realize how important regular church attendance is to a happy and healthy Christian’s spiritual life. Since I attended church regularly, my daughter went to church her whole life. She was dedicated to the Lord. She sang in the children’s choir and was even chosen for a lead role in a church play. Being in that environment exposed her to regular opportunities to accept salvation, which she did. She was baptized by the age of ten. In church, she was encouraged to memorize Bible verses by her teachers and rewarded with small toy rewards.

Outside of church, I felt inspired to spend a little time teaching her about the disciples, the differences between being a Protestant and being a Catholic, and some other facts like who wrote the books of the Bible and when they were written. She was always eager be involved with her youth group and to serve in the church. Now she helps me teach Sunday School! (She hopes to one day become a public schoolteacher.)

I am so proud of the faithful young woman she has become, but I cannot take credit for it. God is her guide, and I just try to be His servant. I say “try” because I have certainly made my share of parenting mistakes along the way. Even then, the Lord has been strength in my weakness. I hope this blog will inspire you with some ideas on how to enrich your own child’s faith or maybe just to keep on trusting God as He leads your child on his or her own journey of faith.