Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Cried Tonight ~

I cried tonight. It wasn’t just any old cry, the kind where you cry a few tears here and there and then you’re good. No, it was a heart-rending, soul-cleansing cry that I couldn’t make stop. The kind where you think it’s over and so you move on to something else and then it starts up again. And again. It’s the kind that makes me think of that verse in Psalms where it says that God stores up our tears in bottles.

Psalm 56:8 – “You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?

Then I start wondering if it’s a whole bunch of bottles or just one huge bottle because I’m sure that I’ve cried a lot of tears, more than most people probably. Especially tonight.

I’ve been kind of nasty and grouchy all week, I will admit to that. Part of it I want to blame on the weather and how much I got harassed about whether I was coming to work or not. The other part could be the arctic chill in the building where I was working - the one nobody seemed to care about. Another part of me wanted to blame it on the fact that I had a test coming up that I was supposed to drive to Dallas for and the roads were like oil-glazed glass. I stifled the crying part under this nasty and grouchy façade and muddled through it. All week I managed to keep pushing it down and blinking fast enough to overcome it.

Not tonight. Tonight the floodgates opened and the tears tore off the hinges. I’m not exactly sure what started it but I knew when it was coming and that there was no stifling it anymore. I was chatting with a friend on Facebook. Not a “friend” friend on Facebook, but a true friend that I’ve known for almost all of my life. We met in the 6th grade. That was also our last year together in elementary school and, over time, we lost touch. I came across her on Facebook last week and instantly sent a friend request.

So then tonight, as I said, we were chatting for the first time in 25 years. As you would guess, we started asking each other how things are in each other’s lives, are we married, what about kids. She is married, has kids, is finishing up her law degree, and is a housewife who helps her minister-husband with his work. All the while I felt a wall beginning to rise, my defenses went up, and I was panicking and felt like I couldn’t breathe. I wanted to know all about her but I didn’t want to tell her all about me. What was I supposed to say to her? I didn’t want to lie but I certainly didn’t want to tell the truth. I didn’t have to make this choice tonight because she had to go get her kids to bed. As we said our good-nights the floodgates opened.

This is what I have battled with for years and now battle even more on a daily basis. I want to have real friends, women that I can talk to about anything and everything and really spend quality time with. However, I know that in order to do that, I have to be transparent and honest about my failures as well as everything else. I’m not a perfect woman, not even close. I have what some would consider serious character flaws. That’s what I consider them too!

The past few years have been complete and utter failure. So much so that I avoid talking about them at all cost, especially to people who know nothing about them to begin with. I was not the perfect wife, daughter, sister, employee, friend, or Christian. I sought acceptance – I wanted to be loved and it cost me everything. In return I got absolutely nothing. The shame goes on and on and the fear that it will all somehow suddenly be uncovered pushes me further and further down.

So tonight I wept bitterly and my heart was raw as I poured it all out. I was soothed as I imagined God gathering all those tears up. I thought I was disqualified from serving God. I thought I had no right to move on or to be happy. That’s what guilt does. But that’s why Jesus came, isn’t it?

John 10:10 - “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

It has taken time and the journey is still not over. It is painful now and there will still be scars when the healing is complete. I hear this song by Tenth Avenue North on the radio so frequently and it always speaks to me:

'Cause this is not about what you've done, 
But what's been done for you. 
This is not about where you've been, 
But where your brokenness brings you to 

You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You've been remade.

God has picked me up and is putting me back on track. He is freeing me from the fear that has kept me shackled in silence and restoring me. So go ahead and ask if you need to know because now I can tell you why I cried a whole bottle of tears. 

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