Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. (Psalm 126:5)
A friend of mine came over yesterday to drop off a new Bible study our group was starting. We chatted for a bit, and I told her that I am so amazed at what God has done in my life. I truly feel like the most blessed woman on earth.
It wasn’t always this way. The last four years of my marriage were inordinately painful. I sowed many tears with the prayers I offered up during that time. Then, finally, when I left my marriage knowing that God would go with me, I spent a year going through an equally painful divorce. It was an odd time, because half of me was really happy to have been set free from daily hurt and rejection, the other half of me was sitting across a table from my husband, accompanied by two attorneys, and seeing a side of my husband I didn’t know existed. If I’d thought he had any feelings of protection or provision toward me at all, they were absolutely dashed. It was a feeling of total abandonment.
And because my children and I had moved an hour away from my husband so that we could find a more affordable area to live, my younger daughter was angry that she had to leave her social circle of friends. For an entire year, she raged at me, wanting to move back with her dad.
My older daughter was just fine and dandy with our new community. Our move placed us within blocks of her best friend–a friend who, it became apparent, wasn’t the best influence. Without her dad around, my older daughter felt like she’d come into the promised land, and every waking moment, when not in school, she wanted to be with her best friend. I tried to keep her home at times to give her some balance and get her to do her homework, but I felt like I was trying to tie down a tornado.
I sowed many, many tears. And many, many prayers. One evening, during that horrific year of divorce, I was at the end of myself. I walked outside one night with a hot cup of chai in my hands, looked up at the night sky, the moon and the glittering stars, and there, I swear to you, were the letters spelled out in clouds: Peace. I’ll never forget it. Our awesome God spoke to me in the most amazing way.
And now, a year and a half later after moving to our new community and into our new house, I am awestruck by the grace of God. My older daughter–the very same tornado–has been recruited to play softball at West Point Military Academy, one of the top universities in the nation. Her education is completely and utterly paid for, and her future is secure. My younger daughter has established a new circle of friends, and said to me the other day that she’s glad we’ve come here, because she’s been able to bring at least six friends to church, whose parents don’t take them. She’s on a soccer team that she loves. And she was the one who set foot in our new church, and although I still wanted to look around at other churches, she made it clear she wasn’t budging. She loved the church, period.
And me…I have 3 wonderful new friends, all of whom are Christian. And wonderful neighbors. And a wonderful new client who gives me just enough copywriting work to handle while I parent my girls. And a Goldilocks house that is “not too big” and “not too small,” but “juuuuuusssssttt right.” And I’ve decorated it exactly the way I like–very country. My realtor came into my house for the first time yesterday, and she said, “This is definitely a girl’s house. No boys allowed.” And I smiled and said, “Yes! Exactly!”
Forgive me if I’ve said this before in other blogs, but I asked God when we first came here, to please “knock my socks off.” And boy, has He ever. Completely and totally.
Sometimes, in the early mornings, when I am talking to God, I wonder why I am so wildly blessed. I was the captive who was set free. I am the woman with the Perfect Husband (our God). I left what was familiar, and went into a new place, and have been embraced by a new community. But then, I remember. I sowed so many tears, for so long. Even my neighbors in my old neighborhood used to tell me, in those final few years, how downtrodden I looked. But God, who is faithful, has caused my tears to grow, and now I am reaping with joyful shouting.
I love the idea of sowing tears. That’s God’s idea of redemption, taking something the enemy meant for evil, and turning it into something glorious. Tears turned into joyful shouting.
If you are sowing tears, lift your head. God is faithful. The other half of the promise is true. You will reap with joyful shouting. Trust Him for that. And ask Him to knock your socks off, because He will.