A Witness to Every Tear

A Witness to Every Tear

Tears of grief,
of suffering, of pain, of irritation, of cleansing, of release, of joy.
Each one witnessed, acknowledged, known,
allowed to be, to flow, to gush, to trickle.
Each one a story - leaving a trail back to God.
What will it be like to no longer fear our tears
or stop them up because of shame?
What if our tears are the bridge which beckons:
”God, come near.
God, come see my hurt, my pain, my suffering, my tribulations.
I allow your compassion to see me as I am
and I open myself to your kindness,
your consoling love.
I let you console me.”

Revelation 7:9-17 (NLT)
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar,

“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throneand from the Lamb!”

11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. 12 They sang,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”

14 And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.”

Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.

15 “That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. 16 They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. 17 For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
What words or image shimmered as you listened? Stay near to this gift and listen deeply with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Consider God’s sheltering presence over you and within you. Rest where he leads you.

print pdf

Follow the Trail of Tears

Tears are one of our places of greatest vulnerability. In spiritual direction we are encouraged to follow the trail of tears because our tears are a sure sign of the Spirit's presence and activity. Yet many are unable to cry or have not cried in years. Others wonder that if they begin to cry, they will drown in a sea of sorrow and never be able to stop. Finding a place of hospitality for our tears, in ourselves or another, can open up a possibility for healing, comfort and renewal. It takes courage to begin to feel our pain. Sometimes we need the help of others to contain and safeguard our overwhelming grief.

John 11:28-37 (ESV)

28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved[a in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

For Reflection and Prayer:
1. If there was a word, a phrase, or an image that sought your attention as you listened, stay with it and listen deeper with Jesus.
2. Place yourself in the story and notice which character you most relate to/with and rest into Jesus’ posture toward you.
3. If any of the emotions expressed in this passage (e.g. consoled, troubled, moved) touch you, linger there and pay attention to what else this may stir in you.

print pdf

Restore Us

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (NIV)

1 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
    shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Awaken your might; come and save us.
3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
4 How long, LORD God Almighty,
    will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears;
    you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
6 You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
    and our enemies mock us.
7 Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
17 Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
18 Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.
19 Restore us, LORD God Almighty; make your face shine on us,that we may be saved.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What word, a phrase, image, or feeling “shimmered” for youas you listened? Bring it into conversation with Jesus.

How is God with you when you experience fear or shame? Reflect on a time when God met you there.

Is there a place now within you, which cries out for restoration to God? A longing to be at home again with God?