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I hate crying.

The salty tears, the runny nose, the burning eyeballs. I especially don’t like how my contacts get all gunky and dry. Not to mention the embarrassment of being well, a crybaby.

Sure, I was a little emotive as a kid. My brothers teased me, I cried. I fell and hurt myself, I cried. Kids were mean, I cried. I dropped a brownie, I cried.

My brothers nicknamed me “Crybaby” and I wore the name well.

“Let me play!” Stamping my feet, tears on my cheeks.

“Crybaby.”

“Give me it!” Sniffling and reaching for the toy.

“No, Crybaby.”

“Stooooop! Or I’m telling mom!” Angry tears streaming down.

“You are SUCH a crybaby!”

As I grew, I began to cry less. I tucked away all the tears and toughened up. i took pride in my lack of tears. “I never cry,” I told my friends. “Tough as nails,” I bragged. And it was mostly true.

And then I met Jesus. And while I like most of the remodeling he did on my heart, I take issue with bringing back the tears. I mean, really?

These days I cry the most when I’m telling my family what I love about them. At birthdays we go around the table and share with the birthday person what we love. My kids are so trained to my tears that when it’s my turn they run for the Kleenex box. “There she goes!” But I don’t mind those tears too much – they are endearing, love spilling over as I try to find the words to speak my heart.

It’s the grieving tears I still have trouble with… the tears that come from a deep sadness that springs up and spills over. 

When a friend loses a child in an unexpected and tragic way.

When my kids experience racism or bullying.

When sickness sidelines a family member.

When strong people stop fighting for good in this broken world.

When teenagers lose hope and choose to end it all.

Those are tear-worthy events, tear-worthy moments. These are the tears that are hard to cry because it feels like once I start, they may never end.

Just this week I comforted two of my babies through major meltdowns. They cried so hard their bodies were shaking and their eyes were red from the strain. The tears poured down and both were inconsolable for a good long while. I held them. I rocked them. I reminded them, “Sometimes you just need a good cry, and I’m going to sit here as you let it out.”

But we don’t do that as adults. I don’t have many friends who can go into a full on melt, sobbing hiccups and all. Most of us tend to fight tears. We see tears as weakness and shut them down as soon as they flow. We apologize when one leaks out. We feel embarrassed – even though the weight of emotions is even greater than what we experienced as kids. Rather than be a crybaby or viewed as weak, we self-medicate with our drug of choice – TV, food, alcohol, sleep, control. We hide from our emotions and take pride in our stoic facades.

But here’s the truth. Sometimes we just need a good cry. The bury-your-head-in-the-pillow, tears-streaming-down, nose-running, sobbing-hiccups, eyes-burning kind of cry. For the losses, for the heartache, for the loneliness, for the failures, for the pain of it all in this broken world. It hurts and we need to let it out.

Then, just like we sit with our own children, our God sits with us. Sometimes, He whispers, you need a good cry. And I’m going to sit here with you as you let it out. And It’s so good when we do. It’s so good when we can. After my kids have a good melt, they’re in the best mood for days after. They’ve released the pressure, let it out, cleansed their soul – and the joy comes.

So cry, baby. It’s okay. The emotions are there. Quit ignoring them. They aren’t going away. We can’t medicate them away or numb them forever. They need to come out.

Sometimes we just need a good cry.

Grab a Kleenex, grab a pillow and let ‘em out.

Jesus is there.

14 Responses

    1. Right? I think sometimes God will use a show (or a sentimental commercial even) to remind us of what’s inside. He does that with me anyway – like “Pay attention to these feelings!” 🙂

  1. Truth! Music is often my strongest “trigger”… which I’m usually listening to when I drive! So that’s NOT a good plan, but definitely still very cleansing foe my heart and soul. . Holly

  2. I was called a crybaby as well as told to stop crying as it shows how weak I am – both within the last 12-15 years – and from different fellow adults. Both were from people I had previously respected; it absolutely changed my perspective on both of them. As a child I was told – “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” My history with crying has not been positive – so I tend to do it away from others and put on that brave face in public. Unfortunately then I sometimes completely lose it because the brave face wanes…and I’m completely embarrassed. Glad to hear I’m not alone! #proudcrybaby

    1. Im so sorry you didn’t get the encouragement we all need when it comes to tears. Tears DO NOT show weakness – they show strength, bravery and a willingness to actually look inside at all the turmoil and heartache. I’m proud of you for forging on – Hugs, friend!

  3. Dearest Elsa
    As I sit here reading your beautiful words of sharing – the tears are flowing
    I feel the love you have in your heart for your precious – and the tears are flowing
    I feel the caringness you have for so many friends – and the tears are flowing
    I feel the gift of friendship with not only you but with all the Kok’s and Colopy’s
    I feel the LOVE YOU HAVE FOR GOD – and that is such a tearful blessing for all of us.
    Hugs and love from another tear filled heart

    1. Denny, thank you so much for your kind words! I love you – what a treasure you are to us and our whole family! Love and miss you and can’t wait to see you in July!

  4. Once again you tug at my heart and speak to my soul. Thank you dear Elsa. I miss meeting with Brian and getting updates on you all. But it’s okay. God has brought me another young father and our hearts have connected deeply. But back to tears…in the past 12 months on July 24the we lost the 12 year old first son of one of my nephews to spinal cancer in a short 9 month battle. Then Feb. 5th we lost my 59 year old youngest brother after a 14 year battle with a cancer that “should have taken him” within 5 years. That has brought tears like nothing else has. And I didn’t even have that close a relationship with him. I don’t know what it is but the tears are there, all the time, right close to the surface. Grieving. Cleansing. Renewing. Thank you, sweet sister. The permission and affirmation is healing. Blessings and love to you and your dear family.

    1. Oh Jim, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your brother. Even if you weren’t close, you grew up in the same environment and there is a deep connection there. I’m sorry for your loss. And for that sweet 12 year old boy? Heartbreaking to imagine. I’m so sorry. Warm hugs to you!

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