Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT)
Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
Rolling out of bed about an hour later than usual, I begin the checklist in my head for the day. It’s Sunday. Time to worship the Lord together. But it is no ordinary day in church for us, it’s the day that we send off our oldest daughter and her brand new husband to serve God 21 hours north of us (said with a giant gulp). I have fought off tears since my feet hit the ground. I was at Wal-Mart twice yesterday both times forgetting waterproof mascara. For a split second I consider heading up there in my pajamas since it is only about five minutes away but quickly realize to do so would eliminate the time I get to spend alone with God. Today, I need Him more than ever before. I am a proud mommy. I am a heart broken mommy all in the same skin. Although I have tried to hide my emotions at this natural life transition into a supernatural opportunity for those two to serve the Kingdom of God, they have been just beneath my skin as the tears glisten right behind my eyes. For a week, I cry at the dumbest things as my body tries to release the reservoir that has been building. My crockpot died last night and I began to cry. I just cannot even fathom surviving this day and not looking like a complete mess. While others watch closely our reaction, I do not want them to be confused. Our faith is in God. Our hope is still alive. It’s just our humanity that is being exposed.
“They week as they go to plant their seed” and this my friend is one of those times. There will be seasons in our life when we plant out of obedience and not because we want to. These are the times that our faith is required because we are not sure the benefit is better than the risk. As we invest our life in Jesus Christ fully surrendering to His Will and Way, there will be days that we water the seeds that we plant with our tears. God knows. He understands. He is not mad at us because we are human but loves us all just the same. When we choose to plant in these times of hurting with willingness, our faith blesses God’s Heart. I have to believe that this will boost the potential of each seed. When I think about these two kids moving so far to see others come to Christ, I know it will be worth it. But when I think about them being so far from their earthly home here with us, I am devastated.
“But they sing as they return with the harvest” is the promise that I hold on to. They will come back in prosperity. Not just seeing the lost come to know Jesus, but God will prosper their heart, soul and marriage in this step of independence. God always will give us a promise if we ask. This is mine for this day and however long it takes for us all to be together again. I know that God has a lot of awesome things ahead for our family because we have been sowing some serious seed over the last few years. My prayer is that my faith will last until the harvest and my hope renewed day by day especially on days like today when the planting is so hard.
Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
With vivid recollection, I remember standing in the darkness before dawn as dew began to fall with three busloads of young soldiers leaving on deployment. The tears did not begin until he was safely aboard. I did not want to put the burden of my devastation on top of the call on his life. I wanted him to be ready and equipped to fulfill this mission but I was already ready for his return. God was faithful and returned him safely. Not a hair on his head was harmed despite being in a country where he was hated surrounded by the enemy. I remember the night they diagnosed our son with cancer. I can feel my heart quake in the thought. It would happen and again and again over the course of three long years. God was faithful and our son is cancer-free today. As I prepare to send forth our daughter on her mission in life, again the tears are coming and ready to overflow. But I can say with confidence that God is faithful. He has been all this time so I cannot believe that He will not be in this. I can remember all of this as my children sit with me in church today to support one another. But beyond my recognition of these sorrows that I have faced as a mom, more importantly God is keeping track of every tear and sorrow that produced it. I cannot believe that my God would waste His Time on something that is not meaningful and worthwhile. I think that this is part of the culmination that He considers when making Romans 8:28 come together in our life as all things begin to work together for our good!
Luke 7:37-38 (NLT)
When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
Jesus knew the price of the expensive perfume in the woman’s alabaster box that day. He understood the wealth of the tears that she used to wash her feet. This woman was desperate in her worship of the Lord and she didn’t care who knew it or saw her. Most of the time, I am comfortable to live for Christ out in the open and tell others of His Goodness and Grace. But there are sometimes when it is uncomfortable to share our tears, hurts, pain and sorrow with others by faith. Will I be misunderstood? Will I be judged? Will they get where I am coming from? Will they know that I am weak? Will they know that I mess up? What will my tears say to others? Hence, my need for waterproof mascara today. Maybe the Lord is telling me not to worry so much about what others think and just let my tears flow. Perhaps He is telling me that it is okay to be human as I haul myself to the altar. The message is clear it’s not about me – it is all about Jesus. He knows me inside and out yet Jesus still decided to die for me. He is fully aware of every shortcoming and the sin that I hold on to, yet every single morning He sends me knew mercy. He doesn’t stop working His Plan for a future and hope in my life even when I consider giving up or throwing in the towel on this thing called faith. He lifts me back up, dusts me off and sets me back on track walking with me every single step.
Psalm 116:7-9 (NLT)
Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!
For those of you poor souls who will join us in service today, my apologies in advance. I will not be wearing waterproof mascara and there will be many tears. Please just hand me a tissue and understand that things are not as ugly as they may appear with black streaks running down my face. I will get it together for next week I promise. This is real life. The people are not actors but those who have been given a wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord. We will survive this experience and one day reap a harvest because I refuse to give up. Lord, I ask you today to please let my soul be at rest again. The whirlwind of the past couple of weeks have left me exhausted in my soul and weak in my heart. Lord, I know and acknowledge to everyone who reads this that You are always good. This has been my constant experience in my pursuit of You, Lord, and Your Kingdom. You have saved me. I ask you today to save me from my tears. Keep my feet from stumbling as I try to get a grip with tired hands and weak knees. I know that You will be my Comforter just like You have so many times before. It seems that season after season it has become a requirement that I walk in Your Presence just to survive but my intent now is to thrive just as You have promised. Thank you Lord for keeping each tear and tracking my sorrows for they will be a great harvest in my life!
Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!