May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hope in your word…. Now let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant. Psalm 119:74,76 (NLT)
Vanessa rolled over and reached for the screeching alarm on the nightstand. She had every intention of getting up early today to study for that math test but the bed was so comfy and the room was so dark…. she hit the snooze button and rolled back over. This was her last year in elementary school. Next year she would be in the big middle school across town. Riding the bus instead of getting a lift from her big brother. So many changes were ahead of her. And so many behind her.
Vanessa felt that familiar knot in her stomach and the all too common tears forming in her eyes. She felt like such a baby when she cried and she tried to stuff those feelings back down inside. But it didn’t work. As the tears started to come and the catch in her breath, Tabby lifted his head from where he had been dozing at the end of the bed. Quietly and quickly, the little orange cat came to nestle in Vanessa’s arms. As she buried her head in the cat’s soft fur, Vanessa let the tears flow freely.
She remembered her friend telling her recently that “big” girls didn’t cry. But she knew that wasn’t true. She had often caught her mom with tears in her eyes as she quickly turned away and tried to hide what she was feeling. Vanessa knew that her mom was trying so hard to keep things together this year as they faced a lot of firsts without Dad in their lives.
She heard Mom’s gentle knock on the door and quickly swiped her eyes with the back of her hand. Mom had enough to worry about without her adding to it. Light spilled in from the hallway as Mom leaned in and asked Vanessa if she was all right. All she could do was nod and bury her head deeper in Tabby’s fur. Mom came to sit beside her on the bed and gently stroked the orange cat.
“Vanessa,” Mom began. “It’s OK to be sad. I’m sad, too, sometimes. It’s OK to cry because crying is a way for us to release some of that sadness to the Lord so that it doesn’t overwhelm us. It’s not good to keep it all inside. God knows that our hearts are hurting and that our lives have been turned upside down. Our tears are important to Him and He sees each one that falls. Not only does He see them, but He captures them and stores them up to turn them into little pieces of joy when His promise is fulfilled. He has told us that in His Word.”
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! I praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. Psalm 56:8-10 (NLT)
Mom went on, “God doesn’t get upset when we cry. He doesn’t tell us to be big girls and not let the tears come. Even Jesus wept at His friend Lazarus’ tomb. But when we do cry, He reaches down to wrap us in His loving arms. He lifts us high above our hurts and feelings. He takes those tears we shed and holds them close to His heart. And one day, when He has everything ready, all those tears will be turned into gems of joy as He fulfills His promises to us.” With this last sentence, Mom opened her hands and lifted them skyward. Vanessa could almost see the tears sparkling in Mom’s hands. Tears that had been turned into gems of joy.
Those who cry as they plant crops will sing at harvesttime. Those who cry as they carry out the seeds will return singing and carrying bundles of grain. Psalm 126:5:6 (ICB)
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
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Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.