Never apologize for tears of grief that help you heal.
Tears are the first words in grief.
After Dan died, it’s like a valve was turned allowing my tears to tumble easily throughout the day.
I cried alone, I cried during my morning quiet time, I cried with my kids. I cried while running, I cried with friends, I cried in the car. I cried myself to sleep and cried in my dreams.
Sundays brought an overflow of tears. I usually made it through teaching with just a few tears and held them back when talking with friends.
But worship undid me. It seemed the song set was picked just for me helping me express deep groanings of my shattered heart. There, wrapped in the presence of God, tears came hot and steady, a messy mix of grief for who we’d lost and hope because of Who held us.
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I never knew a person could cry so many tears.
I never knew a person could cry so many tears for so many months.
Never apologize for your tears.
God who created us also created our emotions and in his flawless design has given humans alone the unique gift of emotional tears.
It’s no wonder science keeps uncovering the incredible benefit of our tears.
Tears helps us release stress. While tears that lubricate and tears that come from dust or cutting an onion are 98 percent water, emotional tears are filled with stress hormones and toxins. The trauma, pain, changes and fear that come in grief are enormously stressful. And yet, God in His wisdom created us with an outlet to cry out that stress.
Tears help calm us. While grief and despair make our heart race and stomach churn, crying lowers our heartrate and blood pressure. It’s a desperate calm we need in the turbulence of grief. That’s why crying may be difficult in the moment but often feels so cathartic afterward.
Tears help soften the pain. When we cry, our body releases endorphins that simultaneously reduce the negative feelings of pain while increasing the positive feelings of pleasure. Even in grief, God has provided a protection. A buffer to pull us from the pit of despair and remind us of the hope we have in Him.
Tears are a language God understands.
God’s Word has so much to say about tears, but I want us to see 3 things:
1.God sees every one of our tears.
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)
God sees our tears. He counts every single one. There’s no way I could begin to measure the volume of tears I’ve cried, but God can and does. God not only measures it, He records it.
Why? Because He cares. When our heart is shattered and our life is upended, we don’t have a God who stay far off. He is close to the broken-hearted and walks with us in grief.
2. God experienced tears.
Jesus wept. John 11:35
Is there any more poignant verse in scripture that tells us Jesus has grieved just as we grieve? That Jesus knows the emotions that trigger tears?
Let this sink in —
Standing there in front of his friends, his apostles, a mass of followers, his critics, the Son of God did not apologize for his tears.
Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
God understands grief and tears because He experienced grief and tears. We never need apologize for our tears because Jesus never apologized for His tears. We have permission to cry and let our emotions out because God also walked that deep pain.
3. God promises tears will turn to joy.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Psalm 126:5-6
Our tears are not the end of the story.
Our despair and brokenness, pain and loss are not cul-de-sacs where we will keep circling forever.
Along with the tears, make sure you tell yourself that it won’t always feel like this.
Because God is a restoring God and a healing God and an abundant-life God.
He delights in bringing beauty for ashes and gladness for grief.
Your tears need no apology.
They are pure gift from our good God who is using each one to bind up the broken places in you.
And one day, the same hand that puts each tear in a bottle, will reach up to wipe them all away.