Author Archives: aliciachall28

About aliciachall28

Wife, writer, missionary and mother.

For the Weepers

Not long ago, my kids completed a social media questionnaire about me. (You know, the see-how-well-you-know-someone kind.) Their responses were entertaining and proved their knowledge, but one answer stuck with me —bothered me a bit, if you want to know the truth.

“What’s one thing your mom always does?” Even though they answered the questionnaire at separate times, they both had a quick response: “cries.”

I laughed it off along with them because we all knew it was an accurate answer. I do cry — a lot. Just last night a Christmas movie caused an overflow of liquid to spill from my eyes. Usually, I try to hide this. It’s gotten somewhat embarrassing that my tears flow so easily and often for the most random reasons. (Case in point: if some wins Showcase Showdown on The Price Is Right, I’m a hot weepy mess.)

While I do cry easily, I don’t cry with abandon. In fact, the more I’ve become aware of my tears, the more I’ve come to resent them. The automatic boo-hooing reminds me of my frailty. And in a world where women are valued for being “fierce,” I realized I wasn’t measuring up. My tears signified weakness, emotionally and spiritually.

If I trusted God enough, why am I crying? If I believed all the Bible’s promises, why did tears come so easily and so often? I’ve chanted to myself, “Pull it together! Weeping is for wimps.” So I’ve fought the tears, kept them at bay in most situations. My “fierce” womanhood dominated as I lied to myself to prevent the sobbing.

One of Satan’s biggest jobs is to take the simple truths and turn them into believable lies, and I’d bought into one. The world wants to tell us that crying is a weakness, whether you’re a man or woman. It means you can’t handle life, and if you’re a Christian, you don’t trust God when shedding tears over difficult situations. Recite a verse, say prayer, but whatever you do, don’t cry!

A quick look into the Word proves this to be untrue. Isaiah 25:8 speaks of how God will wipe away all tears. Psalms 56:8 says He keeps track of all our tears, bottles them in fact.

Why would God do such a thing if our tears were unacceptable to Him? Both these verses confirm the opposite. Our Creator God’s acknowledgement of tears is an acknowledgement of our frail humanity. His choosing to bottle them and track them in his heavenly ledger demonstrates his tender care for us, his complete understanding of the not-so-nice world in which we live.

Judith Orloff, M.D. gives the perfect perspective on crying in her article in Psychology Today: “Tears help us process the loss so we can keep on living with an open heart.” When I cry, God takes account of my pain. When He validates my hurt, I know he cares. When I know he cares, I can dry my tears and keep walking with Him.

The truth is we will all encounter days, maybe even weeks and months, when tears are plentiful. Yet, as they fall, God catches them, and we can rest in his tender love for us. Tears aren’t a sign of weakness; they signify an open heart — the kind God uses. And isn’t that where we all want to be?

 

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Advent: In the Waiting

As for me, I look to the Lord for His help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.  Micah 7:7

The birth of Christ was a whisper of God after a 400-year silence. An answered prayer the people of Israel had waited generations for God to send.

I like to consider myself a patient person. But in reality, if it is something really important — say like Christmas presents or a long-awaited vacation — I stink at waiting. I mean can’t the good stuff just get here already!

This is basically my attitude on prayer, so when I read Micah 7:7, I had to take notice. Micah speaks of waiting confidently. We’ve all waited for God to move, to answer, to speak, but many times, it feels like the 400-year silence Israel endured. I imagine many had long given up on God answering their cries for salvation. Even if they hadn’t given up, I’m sure very few were still waiting confidently for the Lord to save them.

If they were anything like me, I can tell you how they waited: fretfully, angrily, impatiently, and guiltily.

Just a few nights ago, I tossed and turned for hours before falling asleep. Not because I wasn’t tired but because I was mad. A situation I’d been praying about was not changing, not even one tiny bit. I wanted to yell at the person involved; I wanted to tell God just how I felt about having to wait. Sure, I was waiting for God to answer my prayer but I was not confident in his timeline; I was angry.

Anger isn’t my only waiting mode. I’ve been plenty fretful while waiting as well, which is actually the opposite of what Micah says. I conjure scenarios in my mind in which God comes along too late, or the answer to my prayer is incredibly painful and not at all for what I’d hoped. My stress level peaks and I lose it — and that ain’t pretty. (Just ask the ones I live with.)

On the other hand, in order to avoid the fretting, I wait impatiently, taking action in my own wisdom. I plot; I plan. I get things done. I’ll just help God with answering my prayer. Usually, all of which just make the problem bigger. Semi-confidence takes over as I try to do “my part” in helping God. (Just typing the words out makes it laughable.)

And then there’s one final way I find myself waiting on God: guiltily. That conversation is ALWAYS the same. “Alicia, you deserve his silence. The answer won’t come because of your actions, your words — because of YOU, YOU, YOU!” This no-answer is punishment, so don’t even bother asking again for God to move on your behalf. I’m sure the Israelites looked back over their many years of disobedience to God and thought the same thing. We’ve finally gone too far and He will not help us now.

That is not the God we serve. He is loving, forgiving, and faithful God and can truly be waited on in confidence. Micah knew it hundreds of years ago; we can know it now.

Confidence indicates a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way. It speaks of a relationship of trust and intimacy. Every time my prayers have been answered, they have been in the manner that deserves confidence in the one who works on my behalf. His love for me and care for every detail in my life should strengthen the trust I have for Him.

The end of the verse speaks of certainty that not only does God hear me but he WILL save me. As my confidence grows, so should my faith.

God hadn’t forgotten in those silent 400 years. He was only preparing the most perfect gift as the response to the Israelites cries. And in the seemingly silent moments between prayer and answer in our lives today, He is doing the same.