Bottled Tears

I stood on a bus last week, my cell phone pressed up to my ear. I listened intently to the woman on the other end of the line. And then she handed the phone off to my mom. Mom came onto the phone and was adamant about moving to a new nursing facility. Even though she has been struggling some with her health this summer, this came completely out of left field. I finished the conversation with my mom and hung up the phone. The minute I hung up the phone, tears began welling up in my eyes. I turned away because I was on a bus filled with my youth as well as several other youth and adult leaders as we were returning from the ELCA National Youth Gathering. Immediately my youth and several of the other adult leaders whispered the words “Are you okay?” to me.

A moment of peer vulnerability! I didn’t expect the tears to flow, but they did.

As a child, I was a very emotional child. I cried often. In fact, I have even been known to cry at Hallmark commercials. As I have grown up, those tears often have found their way into my eyes yet again. Those holy tears are a part of me that I wish didn’t come so easily. Yet I can count the numerous times that my eyes have filled with tears. More times than I care to even admit. And so often, those tears appear at the most inopportune times.

Yet those tears are so much a part of who I am. They are like the waters of Baptism that continually flow over me and cleanse me. Those waters also always call and claim me as one of God’s children. God has gifted me with this gift of holy tears. Yet so often I want to force the tears back down. I want to hold them back and not share that part of me. I don’t want to break open that piece of who God has called me to be!

But what I have come to realize is is that God has gifted me with this gift, because in sharing this gift with others, we realize we aren’t alone. Some of the holiest times in my life are times when I have sat and shared tears with those that are near and dear to me….and also with those that have been complete strangers. In those moments, I am reminded of one of the shortest verses in the Bible “Jesus wept.” Jesus wasn’t afraid to weep. Jesus wasn’t afraid to shed his own tears. And Jesus keeps track of all of our tears as well. In Psalm 56 verse eight, we read “You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle (ESV).”

Jesus has kept every one of the tears I have wept and put them in his bottle. It is so easy to think that God doesn’t see our tears. But the truth is that God sees every one of our tears. God wants us to know that we are not alone. God wants us to open up to those moments of vulnerability and like a waterfall cascading down, God wants us to release our tears and let them shower God with our tears.

Last week on that bus and many other times throughout my life, it has felt like my tears are paralyzing and drowning me. Yet God wants me; wants all of us to know that our tears are a gift from him to us. God collects every tear we shed and places them in the bottle of grace, forgiveness, hope and love. So the next time you feel those tears welling up in your eyes, simply let them come, knowing that God collects them and accepts them from us in all of our grief and brokenness.

I am linking up with Holly for Testimony Tuesday, Katie and Kelly for the RaRa Linkup, Holley for Coffee for Your Heart, and Jennifer for Tell His Story:


16 thoughts on “Bottled Tears

    • Thanks friend! We believe the best thing is for her to stay living where she is. Mom is doing ok. Prayers that she would get back to 100% soon would be much appreciated!

  1. Tara, I cry as easily as you! A couple of my friends have said "I wish I could shed tears like you do." I'm am so thankful our God bottles every tear we shed. I'm pretty sure He has some gallon bottles on hand for me!

  2. I am going through a similar time of life with my mother and it can completely overwhelm me. I will be praying that you find moments of joy with her in this season. I'd love for you to share your post on the reflect link up. http;//

    • Oh Jann, so glad to know I am not alone. It indeed can be sooo overwhelming. Prayers for you all too! And thank you for the invite to the Reflect Link Up. I did indeed link up.

    • Nothing really has transpired with Mom moving. We believe the best thing for her is to stay living at the BLC. This is totally coming out of left field. She is not 100% yet. So prayers for that would be much appreciated friend!

  3. Sweet Tara, tears are a beautiful thing. They show our heart and sensitivity to those around us and to His Spirit. What a beautiful thought remember He has seen every tear and bottles them up. Thanks for these encouraging words!

    • Thanks Rachel! I have always thought of them as a gift from God, but some days I'll admit that I see it as an unwanted gift. God does indeed see every tear and bottles them up. Thanks for stopping by and I am so glad you found my words encouraging!

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