I’ve always had a tender heart. When first married, my husband was astounded by how much I cried. “She even cries at commercials,” he’d explain to friends in utter frustration. For a thinker like him, living with a feeler like me became a difficult transition.
But I love my tears – even when they embarrass me, like when I am seeing a movie with friends. I look around and it seems I am the only one in the theater moved to tears by the intensity of the scene on the screen. “Geez, Myra, get with it! You are an adult,” I silently scold myself.
But we all cry. And we cry for different things: happiness, sadness, feeling overwhelmed, hopelessness or even just plain tiredness.
Tears also have a purpose. They are a great stress reliever; they lubricate our eyes; remove irritants and contain antibodies to fight infection. How cool is that!
But what I like best about tears is that they express emotions so powerful they simply can’t be conveyed in words. Tears capture it all – the disappointment, the defeat, the drama. Messy and bold, striking thoughts jumbled in water, they are an effective way of letting go. My tears remind me I must embrace rest, grace, prayer and self-care.
But not because I want to rid myself of crying. Oh no, quite the opposite!
Psalm 56:8 states: You have put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your Book? All my tears stored in God’s bottle! What wonderful imagery of God nurturing me.
Tears are honest and they are about admitting need, even when tears of joy are shed. They call out to the sense and strength of God’s spirit. Of realizing life is about being instructed by God’s voice and not fear and weakness. Tears are about grounding yourself to God at time when sifting through life’s intense emotions requires a greater perspective.
Tears remind me of the discipline of holding on to God; of accepting His choices for my life. For they are the ones that will ultimately set me free and get me through stressful seasons. And God is all about making the unbearable bearable through His presence. Following in His footsteps brings a clear-mindedness not possible at the height of a whirling, intense season.
Tears cut to the quick. They tell us we are over our heads and need to rush into God’s arms to find safety, love and acceptance.
The bottle God created to hold my tears may be much larger than most, but that’s what brings joy to my heart. For each tear was a pathway to understanding the supreme love God has for me.
What are some of your practices for rushing into God’s arms when you are in the midst of a rough, intense crying spell?