“I love how much you cry.” Heather gave me a sheepish grin. Outspoken and straightforward, Heather was one of the thirteen foreign English teachers at this Fresh Start retreat in East Asia. I was drawn to her adventurous spirit and appreciated her questions and perspective. “Well, I certainly cry a lot,” I said half-apologetically.
I couldn’t tell if Heather was teasing me. She had a great sense of humor and was always laughing at something. “I think it’s great!” Heather assured me. “Seeing you cry as you share your stories makes me feel like its ok for me to cry.” I was taken aback. Heather gives the impression of being pretty tough. An outdoors girl, athletic and adventurous. No-nonsense.
Not one that strikes me as needing permission to cry.
The Power of Tears
I don’t usually think of my tears as a good thing. No matter how many times I share about going through a period of severe burnout and depression a few years ago, the tears always flow when I get to certain parts of the story. Some of it is still painful to talk about, and I’m often embarrassed at my sniffling and nose-blowing and snotty tissues. I worry at times that people will think I’m being overly emotional. I’m tempted to think I should compose myself and cover up my tears. In Psalm 56:8, it says God collects our tears in a bottle.
For my tears, I think He needs an Olympic-sized swimming pool! Yet I was willing to be vulnerable in sharing my emotions and some of the painful parts of my past, and because of this Heather realized she didn’t have to keep her tears hidden. She was able to honestly begin to face her hurts and let the healing process begin. Our Heavenly Father sees your tears. He knows your pain. He cares about your heart. Don’t be afraid to be real with God. Begin to process the issues of your heart today!
“Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God, on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.” Job 16:19-21, NIV