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Cry Baby Cry

Image“She’s such a cry baby!” These were words often used in describing me when I was a little girl. This title was given to me because of the extreme emotional nature others felt that I exhibited in response to various situations. I used to hate how easily I cried. I wanted to be “tough” like other girls I knew who appeared to have greater control of their tear ducts. I remember moments when my fair skin would turn beet red as I struggled to hold back the tears burning in my soul, waiting to be released. I hated the fact that for many of the people that I related to, tears were a sign of weakness.

When I was entering early adulthood, my emotional nature and my tears became a source of anxiety for my mother. Having experienced some pains of her own, she was always afraid that people would take advantage of my free flowing tears. I think she wished that I had more of a value system like a very popular television commercial of the time, “never let them see you sweat!” She would have added a slight edit, “Never let them see you cry!” My mother was probably very similar to me in nature, but had learned over the years to toughen up her sweet tender heart. I believed she was afraid to allow a tear to shed for fear that she would never stop crying. The pains, disappointments and betrayals of her life had been many.

As I began to deepen my relationship with Christ, I learned some very important things about the value of tears.

  • Shedding tears signifies something has worthJesus wept for his friend Lazarus because he loved him. (John 11:35) Jesus being fully God and fully man is a great model to us. As God, he knew that he was all powerful and would raise Lazarus to life again; however, in his manhood, he empathized with the grief of those around him who loved Lazarus. In Roman 12:15 it says, rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. The relationship Jesus had with Lazarus and his sisters had value to him. In the world, we experience contrary teaching that encourages us to just move on and live as if a lost relationship never mattered at all.
  • Tears are never wasted: There have been seasons in my life where I shed tears till it felt like the tear ducts went dry. I’ve cried until I couldn’t cry any more. I’ve felt embarrassed by the tears, even though many of them were shed in secret, believing that no one cared, that my tears didn’t matter. But they did matter. They do matter. They matter to God.

Psalm 58:8

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
    through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
    each ache written in your book.

  • Tears are strategic in Battle: There are times when tears are shed because we are at our wits end. We just don’t know what else to do. Psalm 56:9 says, “When I cry unto thee, then shall my enemies turn back from me – this I know, God is for me.” This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are right in all of your choices, but that God is always for us, no matter what the circumstances look like. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know God causes all things to work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are the called according to Purpose.” There is a purpose for every battle and we always win! If God be for you, who can be against you? (vs.31)
  • Tears are a wise investment: Every wise investor counts the costs before making an investment. They want to know if the investment will reap benefits in the short term, or if it is a more long term investment. When investing for the long haul, investors realize that the returns may show variable results along the way. When the uncertainty occurs, they stay the course because of the anticipated return. Psalm 126:5 says, “those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”  Joy the sense of abiding well being and happiness. Not worldly happiness that is based upon happenstance or circumstance, but that which is born of faith – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Webster’s dictionary describes tears as secretions that clean and lubricate the eyes. That is essential to our seeing.

So I say to you all, my fellow men and women of God, “Cry baby Cry” – It helps us to see with the eyes of Jesus, to feel what he feels, to allow our hearts to be completely aligned with his heart. If tears are considered to be weakness – great! For Paul said in 2Corinthians 12:10 – …for when I am weak, then am I strong!

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At Winters End

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Darkness descends upon us earlier and stays longer. Flowers cease to bloom; they either die or lie dormant under the ground. The cold gray air requires pulling out heavy coats and sweaters, hats, scarves and boots. People are wrapped in so many layers that they are barely recognizable until they run indoors to shed the protective layers. Heated homes are both a refuge from the elements as well as places of isolation and loneliness.

We all have winter seasons in our lives. We’ve experienced emotional and or spiritual darkness; darkness that seemed like it would never end. We have watched helplessly as the garden of hope in our lives has either died or found itself buried deep in the soil of our lives, dormant like floral bulbs. We feel cold, alone, isolated. The seed we have sown, choices we have made, or circumstances that have occurred beyond our choosing, loom large and ominous like the endless dreary winter day.

Winter is not my favorite time of the year except for the occasional snow fall that comes during this time of year. Unlike most people, I don’t just want a light dusting that makes things look picturesque, I like blizzards! The snow storms that upon prediction, make people run to the grocery store to buy milk and bread. I like the kind of storms that make us hunker down and stop our normal routines. It’s a time of reconnection internally as well as with those around us.

When these blizzards come, they completely change the landscape. Everything is covered with glistening purity that symbolizes a fresh start. The morning after a fresh snow fall, the sun reflects off of each surface with such brilliance that protective eye wear may be necessary. Neighbors emerge from their homes chatting lightly with one another about how man inches of snow accumulated. There is a camaraderie and a sense of community that doesn’t seem to occur amidst the normal routines of life.

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Many people suffer with an illness called SADD (Seasonal Affected Depression Disorder) during this time of year. The long, dark, cold days and nights seem to heighten the loneliness they feel inside. It reminds me of the opening line of Shakespeare’s play, Richard the III: “Now is the winter of our discontent” – the story of a man who feels rejected by the world and thus creates an exaggerated deformity that justifies his negative relationships to those around him.

There are believers who have a more acute form of this disorder. I call it Spiritual Affected Depression Disorder. They suffer the chronic pains of each season of their lives like it was an incurable disease. They view the struggle of the season as if it is just their “lot“in life. They miss the wonderful inheritance we have through Christ called GRACE! Grace that is sufficient for every season of our lives. Like a major snow storm over powers everything in it’s wake, so the love and grace of our Lord over shadows every circumstance we may be facing. Like snow storms, the storms of our lives can be a catalyst for connection with each other as we share what has happened in our lives with others.

The bible says that we overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Re. 12:11).

Like the glistening blanket of freshly fallen snow, we can enjoy the glistening refreshment of God amazing grace. Many of you may not enjoy snow like I do, but it really serves a purpose in nature. Shoveling snow can be difficult, but it has many health benefits as well. It gets the heart moving, makes you sweat out the toxins in your body. When you come inside, your body is ready for rest. 

Get out there and shovel some grace today…it’s good for your heart!

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

1Timothy 1:14

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