Complaining to God


Stephanie Darling has spent an extended Home Assignment in the UK because of the restrictions due to Covid-19. She used her time to continue studies with the Trauma Healing Institute, and learned how to complain to God through lamentation. This is her story

During my last term in Malawi, I trained to be an Apprentice Trauma Healing Group Facilitator. Here in the UK, I’ve continued to attend the Trauma Healing Institute’s seminars and training sessions. Recently, there was one for people in Africa, focusing on Lament.

Laments are complaints to God.

Nowadays we often see complaints as a lack of faith, but almost half the book of Psalms are laments, and the book of Lamentations is one long lament. So, it would seem God is encouraging us to lament, to be real and honest with Him.

When you’re lamenting you’re not hiding your feelings from God, you’re bringing them to Him, the one person who might actually be able to do something about them. So lamenting is actually an act of faith, not doubt.

God wants to be with us, even in our pain, disappointments, doubts and fears. Lamenting and pouring out our hearts to God, enables God to heal us and, in time, makes room for joy. Facing suffering and loss in a healthy way develops character, prevents our hearts from becoming hard, and expands our ability to feel love and compassion for others.

Out and about: Stephanie Darling on the moors near her Home Assignment base

During the training session we were given eight minutes to write, draw, dance and create a lament, and then time to share with others and be heard without anyone making any comment.

Here’s what I wrote:


Where are you?

My heart is filled with pain.

Each day I hear of so many people that have died.



People I know.

People I don’t.

It’s overwhelming.

I hear the cries of doctors, nurses, paramedics.

There aren’t enough beds.

There’s not enough room.

I hear the cries of those grieving.

My Mum

My Dad

My brother

My sister

My friend

All crying out.

All on their own.

Who hears their pain?

Who sees their pain?

So much loss.

It’s easy to become numb.

Stephanie’s Prayer Points


Please pray for


Abusa Gift Mphongolo

(The new EBCoM Principal)

EBCoM Staff and Students as they cope with the changing Covid situation.

SIM Malawi and the Church as people step back, review (discipleship, pastoral training and leadership development), do some research, be creative and look at how to train pastors and leaders in a more culturally relevant and appropriate way for Malawi in 2021.

For Stephanie to be open to the Holy Spirit and all that He wants to do as she journeys with God and others.

To deny what’s going on.

To focus on other things.

To fill my time.

To look away in a search for joy.

What’s going on Lord?

What are you doing?

What do we say?

What can we say?


There is no answer.

The world’s crying.

My country, my people, they are crying.



What have we done?

Why have you abandoned us so?

Or is it really … what have we done?

Why did we abandon you so?

Why did we push you out of our families, our schools, our lives?

Why did we push you out of Government and pass all those ungodly laws?

Why did we scream and rage and blame you and fail to look at what we had done?

Why did we fail to trust?

I’m sorry Lord.

Forgive us Lord.

Draw us back to you.

Help us to see.

Open our eyes.

Open our hearts.

Establish us once again in your love.

Put our feet on your rock.

And give us a firm place to stand.

Home from home Stephanie met up with a group of Malawian women in Macclesfield, Cheshire, on her Home Assignment


For anyone that would like a go at writing their own lament, they often include:

• Address to God

• Review of God’s faithfulness in the past

• A complaint

• A confession of God’s sin or claim of innocence

• A request for help

• God’s response (often not stated)

• A vow to praise/a statement of trust in God

The only part that is mandatory is the complaint.

Happy complaining!