“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
If there is one thing I’m known for, it’s crying.
When I got married after college, I cried. When each of our three precious children was born, I cried.
When one of my little ones scraped their knee, I cried. When they didn’t make the sports team they were passionate about, I cried. When they felt hurt by a friend's harsh words or had their heart broken, I cried. First time driving with a new license … I cried. College move-in days … I cried. Graduation ceremonies … I cried. Engagements … I cried. Family members struggling … I cried. Sad movie … I cry every time.
See a pattern? I’ve always been a crier. But when my marriage problems reached the breaking point, and separation and divorce became my new story, I cried on a new level. Tears flowed often without warning or control. Tears which, at times, felt like they would drown me, leaving me wondering why I couldn’t get it together and what was wrong with me.
But over the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about tears. They are normal. They are necessary. They are nothing to be ashamed of. And they are noticed by God.
In Psalm 56:8, we are reminded God is intimately concerned with every aspect of our lives. Because of His overwhelming compassion for us, He catches every tear shed, no matter how big, small, trivial or important the situation might be.
In this psalm, we see David expressing his grief over the situation he was in. Saul wanted to murder David so Jonathan could be the king of Israel, forcing David to constantly be on the move, trying to escape. Although David had fled to the land of the Philistines for refuge, he once again felt unsafe and was eventually seized. He was grieved, fearful and unsure about the future. I can imagine him on his knees, sobbing, chest heaving in utter exhaustion and tears pouring down his cheeks as he poured out his feelings and fears to God. I’ve been there myself.
Yet David drew comfort in knowing that, no matter what he was going through, God was on his side. (Psalm 56:9) He believed God had great compassion and his tears did not go unnoticed, so much so he trusted God was gathering his tears in a bottle. David wasn’t ashamed of crying during a difficult time in his life, and we need not be either.
Tears are normal when our hearts are broken or fear consumes us. We need not be ashamed of letting them drip. Trying to hold back our tears is not only difficult but causes stress and keeps us pretending we’re fine when we’re not — eventually, that façade will end.
Tears are necessary because God created us as emotional humans, which includes crying when our hearts are hurting. I’ve read that tears are like a release valve for stress, sadness, anxiety and grief. Reflex tears (released when our eyes are irritated) are 98% water whereas tears flowing from emotion also contain stress hormones that get excreted from the body through crying. Crying is not a sign of weakness but a sign that our bodies need to excrete toxins that build up during times of immense stress. Additionally, many studies suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s “feel good” hormones, so no wonder we feel so much better after having a good cry!
David was at the end of his rope, and he cried. I have been at the end of my rope many times, and each time, I cried. Maybe today you are feeling like the tears are ready to burst forth because of situations you are facing, yet you are afraid of appearing weak or letting people know your pain.
Remember this — your tears are normal. They are necessary, and they are noticed by your heavenly Father. Let yourself feel. Let your tears fall. And let yourself believe He is there to catch each one and hold it, and you, close to His heart.
Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me enough not only to catch my tears when I cry but to have formed my body so that tears help me cope rather than crumble. Give me confidence in my ability to endure the hard times and not be ashamed for having normal emotions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Psalm 147:3, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” (NLT)
Have you been trying to hold back your tears? How might you feel better if you just had a good long cry and trusted God to catch every tear?
© 2021 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
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