Several years ago a dear friend of mine, who I know prayed for us very very often in the midst of our grief, met up with us in church one Sunday.  We had just walked into the building and she said that she had something for us.  She had told her mother-in-law about the death of our son, and her mother-in-law had been praying for us.  My friend handed me a small bottle full of water and wrapped in toile and held together with a ribbon.  With the verse attached to it, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” Psalms 56:8   When she handed it to me, she said, “This is from my mother-in-law, do whatever you’d like with it, but she’s thinking and praying for you guys.”  I took it.  Said, “Thank you.”  And put it in the diaper bag. 

I’m not a really sentimental person.  I don’t always keep a lot of stuff that holds a lot of value to me.  I tend to keep things, thinking that I may have some use of it in the future.  

That little bottle has reappeared a few times over the last several years.  I had kept it on the windowsill behind the desk for awhile and then we moved some things around.  Josiah found it yesterday in a drawer in the kitchen.  He pulled it out and held it up and said, “What’s this, Mom?”  In the moment, I didn’t know what to say.  I said, “Just a bottle of water.”  He said, “Can I drink it?”  I said, “NO!!!!”  I suddenly became very protective of that little bottle.

I think that at the time when I received that bottle, I understood it’s symbolism, but I didn’t believe it.  At this point in my life, I had felt like Jesus had abandoned us.  The tears were flowing quickly and frequently, and I felt like they were landing on scorched land and they were absorbed quickly into the dirt.  I was a little bitter when I thought of the fact that Jesus was just holding onto all of my sorrow, but nothing was coming from it.   I didn’t understand Jesus’ purpose, and I honestly can’t say that I understand a lot right now, but I was mad.  Just really really plain old mad.  Everything was working against us and it seemed that Nobody was doing anything for us.

A couple of years ago, our church started singing this song: “All My Tears” by Emmylou Harris.   When they first played it, I thought, “I can’t wait to get to heaven.  I want to go right now.”  I had this get-out-of-dodge attitude.  My heart was not in the right place.  I wanted to go to heaven because I was sick of what was going on in my life and I wanted to escape it all.  But today, when it was sung, I felt so much more joyful about the idea of heaven.  I was thinking that Jesus has seen each of my tears.  He’s wept with me.  He’s wept alongside of me.  He has them stored up in a HUGE ‘ole bottle.  (There is no way, a little bottle could contain all of the tears that I’ve shed!)  And right now that is really really comforting. 

All My Tears by Emmylou Harris

“When I go don’t cry for me

In my Fathers’ arms I’ll be

The wounds this world left on my soul

Will all be healed and I’ll be whole.

Sun and moon will be replaced

With the light of Jesus’ face

And I will not be ashamed

For my Savior knows my name

It don’t matter where you bury me

I’ll be home and I’ll be free

It don’t matter where I lay

All my tears will be washed away

Gold and silver blind the eye

Temporary riches lie

Come and eat from heaven’s door

Come and drink and thirst no more

So weep not for me my friend

When my time below does end

For my life belongs to Him

Who will raise the dead again

It don’t matter where you bury me

I’ll be home and I’ll be free

It don’t matter where I lay

All my tears will be washed away.”

Today, I was encouraged that Jesus has seen my sorrow and that I will see my son again.  He does not promise that I will not experience more sorrow as long as I live, but He does promised that He will be with me.  I trust that.  As simplistic as that may sound.   I trust that, and I’m ok with  that. 

My tears are stored up in a bottle.  They were not shed for no purpose.  He knows my hurt.  He understands.


This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jenell

    I’m a friend of Sara’s and she passed along your blog to me. Thank you for this post…it really touched me! I also would need a HUGE bottle for my tears. I’ve been in a funk a lot lately and wish to go to heaven for all the wrong reasons. I just want to see my girls again, but I know God is not finished with me yet. I know He is walking alongside me through my sorrow.

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Many, Many Tears…