by Leah Stirewalt
I was involved in a video shoot not too long ago in which I shared my story (actually God’s story, if I’m speaking truthfully). The story I tell generally encompasses the tragic loss of my husband to suicide, and it always concludes with God’s redemptive, healing power in my life.
God’s opened many doors for me to tell the story. Each time…I get stronger and stronger. Or do I? In this recent storytelling episode, I discovered something else about myself…I don’t like to cry anymore. I think I’ve simply grown weary of it. There were several times during the filming that I felt as if I were going to “lose it” emotionally speaking, but I would shove those tears right back to where they came from and press on. Interestingly, a little over a year ago, I counseled a friend against doing this very thing. Funny how we are asked to “practice what we preach” so often.
At one point during the shoot, I made the comment to my friend behind the camera, “You better stop, or you’ll make me cry.”
His response was not what I expected to hear, “Why are you afraid of your emotions?”
Who me? Afraid of my emotions? Blahahahaha! I’m a cry baby. I have no trouble crying. Or do I?
As a remarried widow, there are many people that feel as if I’m done grieving…that I know longer cry…that I’ve simply “moved on” and forgotten the husband that now lives in Heaven. Yes…I’ve moved on in some regards. I am happily remarried. I have a newly expanded family that I adore. I continue to live out my dreams, desires, and God’s plans for me to the best of my ability. But, I still grieve sometimes. I still occasionally ask the “why” question. I still wonder if I could have done something to prevent my husband’s suicide. And, no matter how hard I try not to sometimes, I still cry. And…you know what? That’s okay.
God did heal me. He did rescue and restore from a deep pit of grief. He has showered abundant mercy and grace upon me. But, He still asks me to be real. Emotionally real. He still wants to comfort me when I hurt…whether the hurt is from this past tragedy or a current pain…He’s still comforter. But, He also reminds me that not one of my tears goes unnoticed by Him. And so…when I feel the need to cry now…I let them pour. I think my friend was right…I was afraid of my emotions. I was afraid of “losing control”. But, God wants it all…even the tears. He wants all of me!
You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. ~Psalm 56:8 (MSG)