Our daughter was born with jaundice. It’s not uncommon, but she was our first born and when the Dr. stood beside my hospital bed and told me she might have to stay an extra day, I’m sure I stopped breathing for a moment as my tears formed in my eyes and I fought to hold them back, to not crumble before this medical professional merely telling me the facts.
“If her numbers don’t go up, we’ll let her go home with you” he finally said.
We went home together but I had to take her to the hospital for blood tests every few days. This 6 pound 9 ounce infant who fit between her daddy’s hand and elbow, this helpless baby was placed on the table while I held her for the nurse to draw blood from the heel of her very. Tiny. Pink. foot.
Her cry was delayed by a split second and when I heard her wail, the kind of which echoed off the sterile walls of the small room, tears streamed down my face too. My baby, less than a week old was already feeling pain and not only did I have to watch, I felt like a participant.
Tears weren’t welcome in our house growing up. I learned early on daddy didn’t like them. He said something about me crying like mama but I couldn’t remember seeing her cry. I’d heard her voice soft and restrained but I don’t remember tears. Even when her dad died.
There was something in daddy’s tone I took to mean tears weren’t good. It was years before I understood what he meant was, tears made him uncomfortable.
We’ve all been places where someone’s tears made us squirm and unsure of what to do and shouldn’t we do something?
We used words like sissy and crybaby and we say ‘suck it up’ and ‘big boys don’t cry’, so we stuff the hurts away with the tears or we say it’s allergies, or contact lenses. I’ve used both excuses with great success.
My memory doesn’t recall the nature of our conversation, just the part when Judie said, “honor your tears”. Her words have found truth in my heart.
I don’t know if I cry any more than you but I’ve been made to think myself a bit of a crier. Or at the least, a person who desperately tries to hold back the tears, to hide my emotions that, at times, take me by surprise.
Happy tears, sad tears, I feel weak and embarrassed. Strong women of faith can keep her emotions in check. Right?
What the Psalmist writes tells us how deeply God cares for us, for our heartbreaks. Our tears become beauty marks on his ledger.
My husband has never been scared off by my tears but has given me assurances they are part of how God created me.
I’ve found acceptance in a group of men in recovery. Men who know what hitting bottom is, who know loss and hurt and labels and struggles beyond my experience. But when my voice cracks and I pause to take a breath, they sit in stilled silence, one or two saying in gentleness, “it’s okay” and with them I regain my strength to be me.
For me, it’s tears. For you? How does God wrap his arms around you in His assurance of love? What are the expressions of beauty in you that you’ve tried to hide or ignore?
May our tears be the beauty marks of His grace.