Don’t you just get tired of being emotional and having tears brimming just below the surface? I am so tired of it. This has been quite the year of being super emotional and having to deal with it… daily.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m emotionally immature, or even emotionally constipated, I’m just feeling EVERYTHING.
When I first dropped off our eldest daughter last January at the Hillsong College in Australia, and then took that long flight home alone, I experience the worst heartache I could imagine. The physical pain in my momma’s heart would take my breath away.
But soon after, the intense pain was replaced with a surprising numbness, both emotionally and physically. At the time, I was grateful not to feel for a while. In fact, it took almost 3 months for my taste buds to return to normal so I could even taste the food I was eating.
Gradually, my senses began to return to normal, and the rest of the year was spent finding the delicate balance between soreness from her absence, and gratefulness that she’s exactly where God wants her.
Numbness or pain… I can’t decide what I like better
But I must admit, that, this week, I think I’m ready for some numbness again. She’s decided to stay in Australia to complete her second year, which means it’ll be our first Christmas apart. On top of that, our eldest son has to leave South Africa before December 31st (visa issues… long story), and we have about a month left to help him pack up his life so he can move back to Canada to live with his grandparents and attend university.
- Yes, I’m delighted that he has a purpose and a calling to walk towards.
- Yes, I’m delighted that, after spending the last decade in South Africa, he’s going to be able to live with grandma and grandpa and connect with his cousins again.
- Yes, I’m grateful to see our daughter thriving and growing in maturity.
But the thought of saying “goodbye” to yet another member of this family is just too sore for my already weary heart. Yesterday, as I was driving the kids to school, the tears came again. No warning.
“Hey mom, this is my second last exam for high school… ever.”
Oh, look… tears.
“Hey, Josh, when are we going to throw your farewell party?”
Oh, look… tears.
“Erwin, what suitcases should Josh take with him to Canada?”
Oh, look… tears.
It’s ridiculous! And although I know it’s completely natural, I’m simply tired of tears.
But if soldiers can cry, then so can I
In the middle of this struggle to contain these unpredictable leaks from my eyes, I’ve been finding such comfort in the story of David and his mighty men. Do you remember when they were away fighting in a battle (see 1 Samuel 30) and they returned home to find that the Amalekites had attacked their cities, burned their houses to the ground, and STOLEN their wives, kids, and everything they owned?
Are you kidding me? Think about this scenario for a moment. These guys weren’t being punished for their sins. They hadn’t broken laws or committed crimes. They had been OBEYING GOD and DOING WHAT HE HAD TOLD THEM TO DO.
The Bible says that when they discovered what had happened, they
“cried until they had no more tears.”
Oh, Father, what that must’ve looked like! These mighty warriors (the equivalent of the Special Forces in their day) were the elite. They were the war-machine heroes who would make their enemies quiver in fear. These weren’t wusses. They were strong, brave, courageous, and fearless!
And THEY cried until they had no more tears.
So, why am I beating myself up for MY tears? If they had permission to cry, then certainly I do.
You can’t stay in the pit forever
But here’s the difference between this story and many of ours. After King David had cried his tears, the Word says that he withdrew himself from the people because he was afraid they were going to kill him in their grief… and
HE ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD.
Another version says that
HE FOUND STRENGTH IN THE LORD HIS GOD.
That means that he didn’t just roll over and die. He didn’t crawl under the covers and have a lekker party with self-pity for months on end. He went to the source of his strength… GOD!
It means that he turned off the noise around him, and he stopped listening to the negative reports from the people who wanted to kill him. And he silenced the unbelief that was surely raging inside of him.
And here’s the beautiful part… after he had encouraged himself in the Lord, God gave him strategy to go take back EVERYTHING the enemy had stolen from him. God doesn’t leave us in our pit! He always gives us a plan to conquer the enemy and live victorious lives. Always!
Life lessons from the pit
So, here’s the takeaway for today for anyone who is feeling like the tears won’t stop and the heartache won’t end. It doesn’t matter if your tears are because your kids are leaving home, or you just got the worst news from your doctor, or if you’ve just been served divorce papers.
Here is your strategy for getting out of the pit. Repeat this after me…I am allowed to feel this way... but I can't stay this way. Click To Tweet
I am allowed to feel this way… but I can’t stay this way.
Let the tears come; get them out. And then pick yourself up and spend time with the Father. Put worship music on and let it wash over your tired soul. Read the Word and let it refresh you. Or if you don’t have the strength to read right now, listen to it on MP3 and let the Word wash away the dust of the battle.
Strategy and strength will come from His presence!
David didn’t know what to do to fix his situation when he was in the middle of the trauma. That’s not the time to make massive life-altering decisions. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing what to do right now.
Go. Retreat to a quiet place.
Pour your heart out to your Heavenly Father and allow Him to pour His strength into you!
Allow His presence to overwhelm your emotions.
Only then will you know what to do.
Only then will you receive the answers to the questions raging through your mind and heart.
Only then will you be at peace again.