One sibling photo a week throughout the year. 35/52
Blessed are the hard-boiled, for they never let life hurt them.
No, that’s not quite right. It definitely does not say that. And yet, this is how many of us live; like strength means holding it all in, keeping it all together in a tidy package, and shouldering our heaviest burdens alone to ‘protect’ those around us from the inconvenience of sharing them with us.
There have been two times in the past week that friends have cried in front of me (for valid and deeply personal reasons), and gone on to apologize for their tears, wiping them away as quickly as possible, and generally trying to zoom on past that uncomfortable zone. I do understand…tears are a very vulnerable thing. I know because I have cried buckets and buckets of them myself. They say for us so many things we don’t want to say out loud. I’m hurting. I’m scared. I’m not sure where to turn. My walls are crumbling. Things that betray the carefully-sculpted social-persona we put out there, wanting to be seen as strong, confident, put-together, etc.
But tears are not a sign of weakness. Tears are like an emergency flare, a tangible way to recognize when we’re in deep and we need someone to walk beside us. Tears let others see that we might need an encouraging word. Hugs. Or help. Tears help clue us in to the urgent sense that maybe we can’t actually do this alone, and we aren’t supposed to. We need to surrender our burdens to God and invite trusted friends in to walk with us through the dark hours.
If you cry, I do not think you are weak. I think first, how brave you are to be transparent (even if you didn’t want to cry in the first place), and I also leap within myself, wanting to draw near and make space to pray, encourage, uplift, and labor together with you through your trials. It is a familiar place for me, because once, not that long ago, I myself was in the mud of life. There were a handful of women who came near in my brokenness and did these very things for me. They prayed prayers I didn’t know how to pray at the time. They encouraged me in big and small ways to see my own value in God’s eyes and surrender my burdens to His care. They whispered words of hope when I was struggling to have any at all, and they labored with me through long nights and long years of mourning.
This is why I care about tears so much.
In my years of struggle, I had visions of bright, beautiful gardens of flowers that captivated me. God whispered to my heart that my many tears were not for nothing, that the tears I cried were the very things that watered the gardens that would come in my life. It was difficult to believe that at the time, but the flowers have now come. The journey was hard, but important for the work God was doing in me, I would have to say, the peace and joy I have found are in every way worth the struggles I faced for years. I don’t wish the struggle for you, but I do wish the gardens, and in my experience, one does not come without the other.
So, my friends, when you share and cry, don’t apologize. Your tears endear me to you, connect me to you. I resonate and I want to respond. I know the broken place well, and I’m ready to travel with you through it. I’m ready to pray for you and encourage you. I am ready to labor with you for your own gardens to come. I do not see weakness, but beauty, and I believe that God will complete the good work He has already begun in you.
From Matthew 5, Amplified Bible
“Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him.
2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
3 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
4 Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!
5 Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!
6 Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied!
7 Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!
8 Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous—possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
9 Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!
10 Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!”
Update on goals for week 35:
1) Run/walk at least 10 miles per week. Week 35 ~ 14 Run/Walk miles traveled, 407mi in 2015
2) Write 10,000 words weekly. Week 35 ~ 500 words completed, 98,600 words in 2015
991. fall colors and bright eyes, 992. time with new and old friends, 993. progress on the sewing project, 994. new photo website up & going, 995. news of a newborn baby, 996. flutters and flips, 997. bear hugs, 998. fluid communication, 999. last sunday at interbay, 1000. a thousand little things to be thankful for every single day