August 23, 2013
Where Your Tears Go
"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 one of my little ones scraped their knee, didn't make the sports team, or were hurt by a friend's harsh words ... I cried.
The first time my sixteen-year-old daughter pulled out of the driveway with her new license, when a boy broke her heart, and as she strolled across the stage last year in her blue graduation gown, I cried.
So when it came time to move her into her dorm room a couple months later, I feared my tears might be uncontrollable.
Although I was proud she was going to college, and it was time for her to spread her wings, the thought of her leaving seemed unbearable. The idea of not seeing her sweet smile every day, coupled with concern over her well-being, made my heart heavy.
I had a flashback of tears shed many years ago as my little girl, dressed in her tiny denim skirt and purple butterfly shirt, stood waving goodbye from the door of her kindergarten room. As I turned to leave my daughter in her dorm room, my waterworks started.
There were tears of happiness, gratitude and excitement. Tears of sadness, anxiety and motherly worry.
A part of me wondered if I should be crying in this situation. Many mothers would be thrilled to be dropping a child off at college. Was I being selfish with my tears?
In that moment of mixed emotions, I desperately needed God's comfort and reassurance, and I found it in Psalm 56:8.
In Psalm 56:8, God reminds us He is intimately concerned with every aspect of our lives. God doesn't judge whether our sorrow is "valid." But because of His compassion, He catches every tear that is shed. It doesn't matter how big or small, trivial or important, the sorrow might be.
In this Psalm, David expressed grief over his situation, which was truly dangerous. Saul wanted his own son to be king of Israel and was hunting David in order to murder him.
This forced David to constantly be on the move as he tried to escape. David was grieved, fearful and unsure about the future. Apparently tears flowed as he poured out his feelings to God. "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).
David drew comfort in knowing that no matter what he was going through, God had great compassion on him and gathered all his precious tears in a bottle. David trusted God with his life and his future. He wasn't embarrassed about his tears, and we need not be either, even when we wish we could hold them back.
Life challenges us. Children grow. Seasons of change bump into our normal status quo. When this happens, tears often spring up and efforts to contain them fall short.
Dropping your child off at kindergarten, college or any grade in between can evoke a variety of anxieties and emotions. As back-to-school season approaches, let's remember God has compassion on us and our children.
He is present with every tear shed, and we can count on Him to collect them. No matter what sorrow we face today, we can have confidence God cares.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving my children even more than I do and for having compassion on them and me. Help me feel Your comfort and reassurance when I face new seasons of life and emotional challenges as a mother. Please tuck my babies under Your wing, guide them in their decisions and keep them safe. Amen.
Visit Tracie Miles' blog for tips on managing back-to-school chaos and the mom-emotions that accompany it.
The Mom I Want to Be by Suzanne Eller
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Reflect and Respond:
Has there ever been a time when you felt God collecting your tears?
Consider how God has touched your heart with His promise of compassion in your life. Take a moment to acknowledge Him and thank Him.
Psalm 147:3, "He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds." (NLT)
Psalm 91:4, "He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection." (NLT)
© 2013 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 23 August 2013.