Yesterday I saw a lady crying in her car as she sat at a four way stop. I’ve wondered for years why I don’t see more people crying in their cars because this was definitely a “safe” place for me to cry.
When my husband passed away I had a 30 minute commute to work so with my two year old daughter safely away with her grandmother I’d drive crying the whole way, suck it up to teach for a few hours, and then cry all the way back home. It was exhausting…the crying. Grieving is physical work.
But now I realize why we don’t see more people crying as they drive. It’s not that it isn’t happening.
It’s the sunglasses.
Man, it felt so safe behind my sunglasses to let tears flow and strangers in their cars wouldn’t be the wiser. No one would be uncomfortable or weirded out by me.
But yesterday this sweet lady didn’t have on her sunglasses. I could see her tears and you know what–it didn’t weird me out or make me uncomfortable in the slightest bit. I wanted to yell “Me, too!! I’ve been there!” But through our closed windows it would be useless so instead I prayed out loud. In the safety of my quiet car I could call out to the One who can and does help. I know first hand what prayer does and it’s nothing short of a miracle. I prayed for the peace that surpasses all understanding for this lady. I have zero doubt God heard this prayer and helped her.
And it helped me.
It’s reminded me that just because we can’t “see” people crying very often, they are. It’s not just me. And often it’s hidden because of those sunglasses shielding us from the light.
We think we can hide there, but obvious to the world or not, God knows our pain. When we let down our guard and bring the pain into the light, hope is able to fill the darkness.
I know this can take time to get there. Lots of time.
If only we can remember the hope will be there when we are ready to receive it; it can help us hang on until then.
The lady may have been crying because Rick’s bakery canceled her big order of holiday cookies or a diagnosis was received . Either way prayer helps. On any given day either of those circumstances can feel overwhelming.
My busy day ended with a celebration of answered prayers and hope. Some of our girls gathered to shower our friend who is the proud foster momma to a precious baby and to see another dear friend before she moves away with her family to spread God’s kingdom even further. As they finished sharing just the tip of the iceberg of God’s goodness in these life changes, another friend announced her pregnancy, a rainbow baby for this family. No kidding, we barely finished exclaiming our excitement when someone shouted in disbelief, “It’s snowing!!” I truly thought someone was playing a trick on us as I saw the flakes falling outside the door.
The story goes I knocked down no less than four children running to open the front door, but who’s counting? Most of us were able to rush outside to witness this amazing surprise, as it has been about 60 degrees for over a week.
I am still marveling, as I type this, at how well our God loves us. Earlier this same day I had remarked to the lady checking out my groceries (just moments before seeing the lady crying in her car) “My kids are praying for snow, but it will take a miracle with the weather we are having!” She agreed . And then just a few hours later, the biggest snowflakes I have ever seen…the picture is blurry but the joy is clear:
God sure put an exclamation mark on the day for me. “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
This crying stuff may not apply to you, but it might be the anxiety of the season or fear or some other emotion that takes control under stress.
Last night Jen Hatmaker’s emailed newsletter came through and it speaks to this season for all of us trying to survive…and I believe it applies to all four seasons.
“Finally, a short word to those of us who…endure some stuff during the holidays. This is a time to dig deep for grace and patience and forgiveness, no doubt. In the name of Jesus who came for the love of people, we too can use this time to be radically merciful toward those who’ve hurt us, who are hard, who aren’t sorry, who still struggle.
But it can also be a time for healthy boundaries, safe spaces, hard but productive conversations, and the word no. You have permission to make your home a sanctuary. There is no amount of crazy you are required to bear the brunt of. You do not have to go to everything, help at everything, host everything, or do everything. You can set your own odometer. Whatever takes you further away from Jesus and love and generosity and goodwill, shelve it. The earth will not spin off its axis and you will not retroactively prevent the birth of Baby Jesus. Be healthy, be merry, and may this season be wondrous all over again, because unto us a child was born.
Joy to the world.” –Jen Hatmaker (emphasis mine)
Good to know.
Lower your shoulders, breathe deeply and remember no matter what happens–we can’t retroactively prevent the birth of Jesus!
Love and blessings to all of you! -Bonnie