Anyone who has gone through a loss in his or her life knows what it’s like to shed many tears.  I have to admit that with the loss of my husband, I fought more times to hold those tears in than I did with any other loss that I had gone through. Yet, I would tell others how our tears help cleanse our wounds so we could heal.

A good friend of mine asked me why I did not like to cry. My answer was that I supposed it was because it feels so bad. When I would cry, it often would last over an hour and it felt awful. To that she replied, “Well, God gave us those tears so don’t you think you are saying that you do not like something that God gave us. Isn’t it almost rebelling to fight it so much?”  That gave me food for thought. I realized that she did have a point. If God gives us those tears, He has a reason for them and I should accept them as a part of my grieving process.

A couple weeks ago I heard a man say that our tears “honor our loved ones.” I never thought about it that way before, but I do agree with him. Hearing that has helped me to not be so embarrassed to shed a few of those tears around others.

With those thoughts in mind I decided to take a further “look” at our tears and crying. There are several places in the Bible where they are mentioned.  I googled “tears in the Bible” and found many verses. Tears were mentioned as being shed over many things besides the loss of a loved one. Hannah wept before God because she wanted a child, Esau wept over Isaac. In the Psalms we find King David speaking of his tears. Jeremiah was called the “weeping” prophet.  There are many recorded incidences where tears were shed for sins and disappointment.

A friend sits behind me in church used to pat me on the shoulder and say, “God keeps all your tears in a bottle, Kathy. Isn’t that special?”  Psalm 56:8 says the following; “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” If God knows how many hairs there are on our heads and if He knows when a sparrow falls, He most certainly knows how many tears we have shed. That is a precious thought to me.

In Genesis 23:2 “Abraham came to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her.”

In John 11:35 we find that Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus.

In Luke 19:41-44 we read Jesus wept. As Jesus traveled to Jerusalem after His triumphal entry, “he broke into loud weeping.” Klaioo is the Greek word used for this weeping and it means to weep audibly, to burst into tears.

I attended a thirteen week seminar called Grief Share. During one of the sessions this question was asked. “What purpose or value, if any, does crying have in recovery from loss?” was asked. The answer stated that crying can represent a physical demonstration of emotional energy attached to a reminder of someone.

When studying about tears, I found that tears really do get rid of toxins in our body. When we keep our emotions inside of us and do not release them, it makes us feel worse. The emotions become suppressed and can cause depression. For me it would cause such a build- up of emotions that I felt deep turmoil. It was only after I allowed myself to cry or sometimes willed myself to cry that I would get relief. I have learned that the reason I felt better after releasing those tears is because crying releases endorphins. These are hormones that act as a mood elevator. Each time I wept I was releasing these hormones and elevating my mood.

I’m sure some of you readers also have struggled with your tears. I can reassure you that God did intend for us to shed our tears and they really do help us heal. I also know that as you allow yourselves to cry, (and by doing so honor your loved ones), you will one day realize that your tears are coming less often and with less intensity. We are all different and grief does not come with an expiration date. Allow yourselves to be YOU and give yourself all the time you need. It does not matter if it has been only six months or two years. Release those tears when they come.

May God bless you. Remember, there will come a day when God wipes all our tears away. Revelations 21:4 “And God shall wipe all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying.” Praise His Holy Name!

Ponderings at Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving approaches I think of so many things I could thank God for. First and foremost I thank Him for my salvation. I thank Him for loving me just the way I am and for sending His son to pay the penalty for my sins. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to hear of Jesus and the leading to give myself to Him at the age of 16.

I am thankful that God led my husband and myself to each other later on in that year. He too was a Christian. I have come to realize that God gave Him to me for a season. As much as I wish our time together as husband and wife could have been many years longer, I still am so thankful that God allowed us those 32 years together. After my husband became ill, he apologized to me saying he was sorry I married someone who “was sick”. Naturally I told him I did not feel that way at all. I am thankful that I was the one that God ALLOWED to marry him. The Bible says , “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me” , or in other words, “He will fullfil His purpose for me.” God fulfilled His will for my husband and will continue to fill His will for me.

My house sits on a hilly piece of  land.  I do not have to walk very far to be uphill where I can look down and see most of our property. Each time I look back down from the top of our yard I am thankful for the way my husband provided for me.  I realize that he worked hard for that provision and to give me this security. My home is not a new home, but it is comfortable and I am secure. In many ways I feel like he made me safe and secure in my earthly home before he moved on ahead to our heavenly home.

I am very thankful that God has surrounded me with my family. They are very close both in proximity and in our relationships together. He has also provided me with a wonderful caring church family. Aside from my Lord, I would never have made it this far down my journey of grieving if it were not for all of them.

Although I could write all night on the things I am thankful for, I will end with this last thing. I am thankful that I will never be alone. God promises He “will never leave me nor forsake me.”  Hebrews 13:5.  In Isaiah 54:4-5 it says “… for thy Maker is thine husband…” in reference to widows. So with those thoughts in my mind I say, “Praise be to the Lord for all His goodness and mercy He hath bestowed upon me.”  I could never thank the Lord God enough for what He has done for me!

Quiet my heart Lord

10-31-1012  written during a battle…of sorrow…won with the Lord.

Oh my soul, why art thou dishearten within me?

Knowest thou not that God is with me? Do not look back! Keep your hands to the plow and your face forward! Or better yet, heavenward. How can one feel so calm in their spirit for days, even weeks, and then fall so far in the other direction? Why does my heart suddenly yearn for my loved one so very deeply tonight?

Why did my mind take me back to the days, weeks, just prior to my dearest husband’s death? Why did I need to remember the night I sat up on the couch and sobbed loudly, awakening him from deep sleep? Why must I remember that sweet man, rising from his couch to shuffle over to me try to comfort me? Or why must I remember the time I started quietly crying in the restaurant after his last treatment? I can hear him now responding to my apology, “It’s alright. I would be the same if I were you.”

Did I say all of the things I feel now would have been important to have said? But does it really matter? Why must I allow Satan to torment me? My soul, arise up and pick the torch back up. Continue to be a comforter, not one that needs comforted. Know that you have loved and been loved, and that is one of the greatest gifts here on earth. Know that you are surrounded by the extension of that love daily by his children and grandchildren. You have been left comfortable and well taken care of. You can look everywhere and see where your beloved’s  hand has been and where he left a reminder of himself. Faint not. Forge on ahead and continue to pave the path for others to walk on after you too are gone.

All the possessions left here will deteriorate unused. But the memories, the love, the example in dying, will be remembered in my heart and soul for as long as I am still here.

God, lift me up again, that I may hold my head high and forge forward again. Please give me wisdom in all areas of life. Keep my path straight. Thank you Lord, for giving me all your promises and for fulfilling them day by day.  Thank you for never failing me.  My soul is lighter once again, Lord.  I will praise your holy name forever.