What I wish people Understood: I can’t praise away sorrow, and I don’t want to.

I won’t always cry. 

But sometimes, sadness and loneliness just need to be felt.  They are the truest expressions of faith in God’s ability to meet me where I’m at.

Disappointment, regret, loss… these things can’t simply be prayed away, cast out or replaced with praises and singing.  They are real life companions for anyone really living life fully. 

What I wish people could understand is that I have asked God to awaken all of me, which includes my ability to grieve fully, to fully feel and express all emotions, without fear or fakeness.  And He’s answering me.

I get that my darker moods aren’t attractive, or easy to be around.  But please, before you chastise me, or come over and passionately pray away the darkness around me, remember, God himself  hides us in shadows – shadows being where light isn’t found.  Sometimes, that darkness you see is His protective covering around me while my heart is bleeding.

See, if I want to fully rejoice, to be thoroughly precent in gladness and joy, then I have to accept the depths of sorrow and sadness that life brings.  When prayers don’t get answered and lives are lost… when I hurt the ones I love most, my heart aches with regret – aches – and when I’m counting on a promise that is delayed or denied, I am utterly disappointed…  When I am faced with my own depravity, I am grieved deeply…  

I cannot demand joy from God or myself, and deny sorrow in the same breath – not with death and pain still present.  For now, while on this earth, I cannot fully embrace all that is good without acknowledging what is utterly horrible.

I cannot authentically express joy without being thoroughly authentic with grief.  

I am truly sorry if I make you uncomfortable while I’m learning how to steward all the emotions God has entrusted to me.  But please, before laying a hand on my shoulder and speaking to things you think you know… will you just pause?  And maybe instead of using your voice, just stand with me in the moment.  Just be present with me.  More often, simple presence is more healing than any words. 

I assure you, I am still thanking God.  Even as the tears are falling and the questions are swirling, even though doubts linger and lies flurry around like gnats,  I am grateful.  Even in this state, and maybe because of it, I recognize His nearness, His willingness to see me as I am, especially while I’m vulnerably real with Him.  Honestly pouring out my heart before Him. 

And when you have emotions that are not joyful, praise worthy or upbeat, know that I’ll understand.  My prayer will be that you stretch out fully into whatever feeling has captured the circumstance at hand, that you’ll trust God enough to express it fully, not being ruled by a feeling, but submitting your heart to His promise to be near the broken-hearted. That you’ll find the courage to wait until He lifts your head… even if it takes a while longer than you’d expect.  Completely trusting Him with all your emotions. 

This is what I wish people understood:

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

Ps 126:5-6

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