I could tell the moment she walked through the door that she’d had a hard day. Middle school is hard enough. Middle school during a pandemic while transitioning from remote to in-person is a whole other level.
She has been trying so hard to roll with 2020’s punches. To cope she’s become a craft ninja. The girl can whip out craft supplies and be an hour into a new creation before I even know she’s awake!
She’s taken each new guideline, change and mandate in stride—with as much grace as her thirteen year old self can muster.
But it’s been a lot. And she finally hit her breaking point.
Tears she has fought so hard against for months escaped the dam, finding passage down her freckled cheeks. And yet still she fought hard against the tidal wave of emotion. Trying to rein in the tears. Willing herself to be strong.
I was looking at my daughter—I was seeing myself.
Seeing how hard I’ve tried to keep moving forward when all I want to do is hide under the covers. Seeing how hard I’ve tried to fight against despair, frustration, sadness, anxiety, anger and fear. Seeing the effort it has taken to keep my own tears locked up tight behind the dam of “holding it all together.”
But as I looked at my baby girl—as I gazed into her blue eyes shimmering with tears—I heard myself say, “Strength often comes through our tears, sweet girl. It’s ok—it’s good to let them out.”
I was talking to my daughter—God was talking to me.
As I pulled my girl into my arms, I felt God pull me closer into His.
“How about we take 10 sad minutes,” I suggested, pressing my lips to the top of her head.
She nodded her agreement.
We sat together and allowed our tears flow. They fell for different reasons. They signified different hurts. But in that moment we didn’t need to talk about the reasons, we just needed to let them fall. And as people with big feelings—and a bigger desire to want to control those feelings—we needed a time box. Knowing there was an end to our temporary surrender, allowed the tears to flow more freely.
Ten minutes later we wiped our faces, giggled at our puffy eyes and snotty noses, gave each other a hug and continued with our day.
Nothing was solved, yet everything felt a little better.
And we felt a little stronger.
As I snuggled into bed that night, her head poked into my room.
“Is it ok if we take ten sad minutes again tomorrow if I need them?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” I promised. “I’ll always be here when you need to take ten sad minutes.”
The words came from my lips—they were spoken by God’s heart.
It was a hard day.
It was great day.
It was the day I learned that strength truly can come through tears—especially tears shed while in the arms of a loving, strong, and most compassionate God.