Well, I already sobbed my eyes out at 6:00 this morning… how about you? Please don’t hear me making light of depression. There is such a thing as excessive crying and, who knows? Maybe I’ve reached that point. I’ve been stuck in sadness plenty of times but I also believe if I have the feelings, they should be expressed. And I’ve got a lot going on right now, from my illness to loneliness to missing my friend to loved ones who are going through so much. I’m sure I’ll be able to share more as time goes by and test results come back. Sometimes abundant tears are warranted but if you ever experience excessive sadness, I definitely encourage you to seek a counselor. I have one who has helped me through so much (Thank you, Wendi!). Actually, I don’t think it’s a bad idea for everyone to have a counselor. Many of us try to hide our feelings and do life on our own but it helps to speak them out loud to someone we trust. It helps the thoughts and feelings to lose some of their power over us.
Sadness has been following me for quite awhile, sometimes consuming me and sometimes just poking me where it hurts. My depression was quite a bit better for about a week (taking it one day at a time, friends) but for some reason it’s been especially lurk-y the last few days. I’ve tried so hard to stay out of the pit by ignoring it but, as we’ve already established, it doesn’t work that way. So I just keep pouring it out to God and trusting that He hears and holds me. And He has been faithful to help me cry, but miraculously faithful to help me laugh in the midst of it all. It’s important not to forget that part. I have been guilty of forgetting that joy is allowed in the midst of sorrow. I haven’t been able to experience joy in a very long time, but I also haven’t prayed that God would help my joy either. I was neglecting that important step.
Lately, God has given me glimpses of my previously silly self and I kind of miss her. It is definitely amusing my husband and a nice change to hear laughter in this house and realize it’s coming out of me. I’m not even kidding you, I was trying to test our bark collar (the citronella kind, not the mean, electrocuting kind) so I was barking… and then my dog started to bark too… and I’m glad no one had a video camera. Then last night Jason and I were watching something on TV and it was so hilarious that I couldn’t stop laughing, and he was mostly laughing at me! It’s been awhile since my stomach hurt from laughing. In the midst of so much weeping, God has helped me find laughter again. Allowing ourselves to experience emotion without holding back doesn’t just allow the negative emotions to pour in and out of us, but the positive ones as well. We can’t let God help us cry while skipping the laughter. Blocking one emotion blocks all the others. All emotions are His gift to us and He wants us to fully experience them.
I love the passage that non-coincidentally showed up in my reading the other day so I will include the whole thing:
“When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” – Psalm 126
I wrote about dreaming in several recent blog posts so I found this amazing. The footnote in my Bible says “men who dreamed” could also be translated as, “men restored to health.” It’s just another God-wink for me, underlining the importance and health of allowing God to help us dream and hope. But the last two verses are my current focus. They highlight the benefit of allowing ourselves to weep. The passage is also careful to point out that we still have a job to do while weeping. There are two important messages I receive from this Scripture. First, we cannot completely give up in times of sorrow. Sowing may mean resisting Satan’s lies, continuing to serve others, talking to a counselor, or even just clinging to God instead of letting go and walking away from Him. Second, we need to sow our actual tears, to bury our faces in God’s loving shoulder, allowing ourselves to cry to Him. In doing this, the tears that we sow will grow into a bountiful harvest of joy one day. It is often a precious ministry to continue clinging to God while weeping. It can lead to a harvest of joy for other people as well as for ourselves. But we absolutely cannot experience the sheaves (the bundles, the heaps) of joy without allowing ourselves to feel the sorrow. We can’t have one without the other. Perhaps I should start looking at my sensitive heart as a beautiful gift, one that will eventually bring me heaps of joy.
Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh” (Luke 6:21b). Jesus blesses our tears and, one day, will fill the ache with laughter. I wonder if that’s why God keeps our tears in a bottle. Maybe one day He will rain them back down on our dry, thirsty ground. They will water and grow our fruit (Galatians 5:22), not the least of which is… JOY.
"I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing" (Ezekiel 34:26b).