You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8 NLT)
I just read a beautiful, heartfelt post from Jodi Karren this morning, and one verse of her prayer spoke to my heart, and I need to share it this morning. It’s one of those words that the Lord sometimes gives that just burns within you until you release it. 🙂
I remember as a child, willing myself not to cry when I was cursed, rejected, beaten or abused, sometimes I was successful, while other times, I was unsuccessful in my endeavor to shed no tears. You see, at the time, I had no idea how good tears are. I had no idea that they were important.
All I knew at the time is that I didn’t want to give those who hurt me the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I didn’t want people to see my “weakness,” and so I worked very hard trying to swallow that lump in my throat and trying to harden my heart so that the pain couldn’t touch me. I remember how hard I tried not to cry when I received a beating, because it was my way of rebelling against the abuse being inflicted on me. When I was laughed at and made fun of, I tried very hard to laugh at and poke fun of myself, so that those who were trying to hurt me would feel thwarted in their efforts. At the time, it made sense to me. It was my way of coping with the pain — by not coping with it.
The problem with this is that when you harden yourself like this, the pain within you doesn’t go away. It isn’t released, and so it festers on the inside, and like an infection, it poisons you. Because I was able to stop the faucet of my tears, the tears of others irritated me. My heart became hardened to the pain that others felt.
And then there were times, when we are supposed to be able to cry in order to appear human… such as at the death and funerals of loved ones. The problem was, that I had become so adept at stopping the tears and stopping my feelings, that I was numb in the face of tragedies. When a loved one was sick or dying, even though I wanted and needed to feel something, try as I might, I couldn’t feel, and I couldn’t cry.
It left me feeling empty and incomplete, as though a vital part of me was missing. I felt inhuman, and unloving, therefore, I must be unlovable. Do you see? In trying to protect myself… in trying to shield myself from pain, I also shielded myself from feeling the good things as well, like love and joy, peace and grief. Yes, grief is a good thing to feel as well, because as we grieve, we are able to heal. It’s when we are unable to grieve that our wounds continue to fester and poison us.
After so many years of stifling my tears, I was now unable to cry and feel, and heal. So, I began to pray for tears. Does that sound crazy to you? Understand this, holding those tears back does not get rid of the pain, nor the tears. It just buries them, and the more you bury your pain and tears, the more they build up… and then you begin to have small explosions, as you are only able to hold so much in… and because that pain and the tears have been festering and boiling within you for so long, when they are released in an explosion over some trifle little thing, you end up spewing poison on people who don’t deserve it… often on the very ones you love the most.
I didn’t realize the value of tears, until I didn’t have any. Then, one day, my counselor, a very wise woman, quoted this scripture to me, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8 NLT)
Wow. Did you know that God keeps track of all our sorrows? I’ve had so many different sorrows in my life, that I’m not sure if I even remember all of them, but God does. Our tears are so important to God that not one of them is wasted. Think about this. God has collected all of our tears… all of my tears… all of your tears…
Do you know what all means? Dictionary.com defines all as:
- the whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration)
- the whole number of
- the greatest possible
There are more definitions that you can check out by clicking the link, but you get the point, don’t you? All means all. That means that God has collected every single one of my tears, every tear I have ever cried in my lifetime, and placed them in a bottle, and He’s done the same thing for each one of you. Now why would He do that? Could it be that our tears are valuable to God? Could it be that He loves us so much that each and every tear we ever have shed and ever will shed are so precious to Him that He saves them, much as some people save a lock of their children’s hair?
And think about this, not only has God collected each and every tear that we’ve shed, but He has also kept a journal of them. “You have recorded each one in your book.” This absolutely blows me away. Think about the magnitude of this. I can’t remember every tear I’ve ever cried. I can remember some, but not all. However, God not only collected each tear and placed it in a bottle, He also took the time to make a written record of those tears. I wonder how many pages He’s filled with my tears? I wonder how many pages He’s filled with your tears?
My beloved friends, don’t feel foolish when you cry. Never feel ashamed of your tears, and don’t let anyone else ever make you feel ashamed of your tears, because each and every one of your tears is precious to God. Each one of your tears cleanses you and helps you to heal from the wounds that have been inflicted on you as you walk through life.
In Jesus’ name, I pray that each and every one of you will feel free to cry, and that you will embrace those tears. Grieve when you need to grieve. Allow yourself to feel pain, because even though it’s unpleasant, it is better to feel it and deal with it immediately, rather than letting it infect your heart, soul, mind and body.
May the Lord bless you abundantly, and if you are unable to cry because you, like I, have pushed those tears down, pray for tears so that you may heal. God will hear your cry for tears, and He will give them to you. I prayed for tears for several years, and they came back slowly, until eventually, it was as though a dam had burst. It was frightening to me at the time, and I was afraid I might be losing my mind. Therefore, my instinct was to cut those tears off, but I ignored that instinct, and when I finished crying, I was healed from much of the pain that I had been carrying around. I was able to look at some of the things that had caused me pain before, and find that they had lost their power to hurt me any longer.
If you’ve felt tears welling up within you as you read this, don’t quench them. Allow them to flow and cleanse you, knowing that those tears are valuable, and that God is taking care of them for you. Embrace your tears, and discover the blessing that is found as you release them. God bless you all!
Cheryl A. Showers