It has been a difficult season. In the past weeks and months, I've felt the need to draw aside and refill, often. The harshness of holding onto life wears on me. I feel the urge to seek out that soothing Voice which hammers out what tears at my soul. I love that he dances over me, yet most often, I need to be held, to seek out quiet moments, to allow the silence to be filled with reassurance and rest.
Today I began reading in Zephaniah chapter three. Zephaniah often spoke of catastrophe and destruction, of judgement for a rebellious people. Yet, when I read carefully, I find the book is not as depressing as it might at first appear. Chapter three speaks of punishment for oppressors, and their removal from places of power. Nestled within these pages is a declaration of the Lord's great love for his daughters.
Zephaniah 3:17 declares,
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
I love this image of the all powerful Lord God wrapping me in his arms and quieting me with his love. Anyone who's perused my personal blog knows that since November, my family has been walking through the metaphorical fire, medically. As a new year dawned, my oldest son, who has type one diabetes, had two separate life threatening experiences within a few weeks of each other, and only a few weeks ago my husband ended up in the ICU after routine surgery due to a bad reaction to morphine. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, normal to see a loved one laying on a hospital bed turning gray, as medical personnel surround, trying to sustain life. Nor is it normal for people in scrubs to be running down halls calling out that a precious life is in danger. It tears at my heart just to speak it. No matter how many times this happens it never becomes normal. But what I am grasping despite all of this is that regardless of my circumstances, God has already seen to my needs.
When there is stress, or fear, or grief- and I've know each repeatedly this year- God provides in a myriad of ways. One of which is through the biological design of our bodies. Most notably, our tear ducts, designed as a conduit of release. Surviving trauma of any sort requires the release that comes through the cleansing, salty, stress releasing gift of our tears. When we don't cry, our bodies suffer. In his great love for us, God has provided a way for us to pour out our burdens emotionally and physically. We don't have to hold it in. He designed us to have a way of natural release. No detoxifying spa methods needed. He's already given us what we need, through gifts he created in us from the beginning.
When my son lay in the hospital as "diabetic emergency" was being shouted through the halls, I leaned over him, fighting back the tears, assuring him that "Mommy is here", taking that comforting stance because he was awake and afraid. When my husband was unable to stay awake, and having difficulty breathing, I was forced out of the tiny hospital room so that medical equipment could be moved in. I was, for the moment, no longer in the role of caregiver. I took a break to relieve myself, and found that instead what came was the relief of tears.
I sobbed. I wept, I cried out. Release overtook me, and for a few minutes, I simply surrendered to the tears. And then, as suddenly as the flood surged, it ceased. I stood, speaking out loud, words unplanned springing forth, "God, here I am- use me." And the healer of my soul stepped in, equipping me. I returned to the room, and with the removal of the x ray machine, I was able to enter in again. This time, surrounded by the strength of the Lord, filled with his wisdom, and ready to do battle. For the first time in my natural life, I was able to pray over my loved one fighting for life, rather than be consumed by fear and grief. I was able to stay emotionally present in the moment, rather than simply survive.
I placed my hands on my husband and prayed as I'd never prayed before in such a moment- calling down God's healing hands, asking for restoration of breath and life. I spoke the words given to me in the moment- that God is not finished yet, that my husband's time here on this earth is not yet complete. I prayed until the words no longer came, and then, I rested, in quiet peace, knowing I'd prayed in partnership with the Spirit, not grasping my own way. The life struggle continued, and I was held. Like the daughters of zion, I knew what it was to be quieted by his love. And I am convinced that the conduit which connected me to his strength was my tears. As the tears removed the toxins in my body (built up through stress), both my body and my spirit found release. I was bouyed up emotionally as I cried out and connected to the One who holds me through the madness.
In times of stress, fear, and even loss, we have a choice. As daughters of the King we have the privilege to seek out his comfort, his help. When we are hurting we can hold him at a distance and try to survive. Or we can seek the sweet release that comes from a good cry on his shoulders. When I reach out to him, he gathers me in, holding me close. As I cry out, he listens, he sooths, and I find that he is my strength. He is indeed Mighty to Save.