I was reading an article this morning while Audrey played with her baby dolls called Talk to Your Tears. “So here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears ‘Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).’”

Those words struck me. They are so perfectly descriptive of grief and living through it. I’ve been feeling less sad most days but that doesn’t mean I’m never going to cry again. It doesn’t mean that when those sharp pains (though fewer and farther between) hit me and I’m a sobbing mess I need to just stop my life. I can’t stop my life. Time doesn’t stop. My goodness, if it did, I would certainly be tempted to stop it on February 10, 2017, so I could continue holding, loving, and learning my sweet son. I would stop time on his day so that his family could get to know him. So that no one had to deal with the pain of saying good bye. So that I wouldn’t have to live through this grief. If time could stop, that’s where I would stop it. But time can’t stop and my life has moved forward. “Go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic.” Its such a comfort to hear someone put that so bluntly.  

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. -Psalm 126:5-6

The premise of the article was those verses from Psalm 126. Everyday I search my life for the things that I can be thankful for and the things that I can find joy in. Everyday, whether through tears or anger, or motivation, or happiness, God has given me something to be thankful for. I don’t always feel the joy in the entirety of my day, but even having a glimpse of it makes the very worst day seem bearable. Those words from the Psalm are so encouraging. One day, I don’t know when, but one day, I will reap with shouts of joy! I don’t know what the time frame is for understanding all of this or for reaping the product of these current tears, but God promises there will be shouts of joy. He promises that even though life is hard right now I need to keep doing the work put before me. Many days I don’t even really know what that is (beyond the obvious: Audrey) but I don’t have to. God knows. God is doing. God is loving. God is working things out for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). 

What a gift it is to have people who have gone before me in journeys through grief. To have their experiences written down or shared with me in whatever form they come, has been such a blessing. It has been tremendously helpful in giving me a bar with which to know when my grief is not just grief. Am I suffering from postpartum depression? Is today’s sadness something to be processed because I’m grieving or because of the hormones? There are so many questions I ask myself about this journey and having the experiences of others at my fingertips is great. I know that no one’s grief is the same. I know that my journey is mine, and mine alone, and won’t look like anyone else’s. I also know that grief follows certain patterns and even though those patterns reveal themselves differently - and are dealt with and processed differently - its nice to know what those patterns are. God has shown himself to so many people through their grief and hearing those stories is so encouraging. He really does love us. He really does care for and sustain us. Not just me, not just Adam, not just the people in our small little circle on this earth. God sustains all of His kingdom. Today I’m finding my sense of gratitude abundant toward those who have shared their own experiences of grief. Who have studied God’s word and left pieces of the wisdom and comfort He gave to them for others to glean.