“Tears in a Bottle”
|By: Kristin England; ©2000|
|When your sorrow is overwhelming, where can you go to find solace? Is there any relief for the Christian who is suffering over loss? Kristin England tells what she discovered through her own experience. This is part eleven of a series dealing with the after-effects of abortion.|
Wednesday afternoon December 22, 1976 I sat in a pew watching everyone cry but I had no tears to shed. I didn’t really know this man lying in the casket before me. I felt sad that my father was dead but you’re supposed to cry when your father dies and I didn’t remember any good times with him that I would miss. I hadn’t spent time with him to know what he was really like. The only things I knew about him were what others had told me. This all seemed so very cold to me and I was embarrassed by the fact that I wasn’t mourning as others were.
My mother had wanted to protect me from the pains she had suffered because of his drinking, so I hadn’t seen my father but a couple of times since I was four years old. I’m thankful I didn’t have the disappointing times; the times he couldn’t have been there for me because of his drinking, yet I didn’t have the chance to have any good times that should have been there either. In spite of this I’ve never doubted the fact that my daddy loved his little “Punkin’ Head” and I’m thankful for that.
At the gravesite they folded up the American flag and presented it to his cousin even though I was next of kin and it should have gone to me. I had no memories to speak of and nothing to remember that I had a father so this was hard. My stepfather had erased all mention of my father from my mother’s diary of my childhood. Many of his pictures had been thrown away. It was as if my father had never been.
When I got home from the graveyard I fell apart. The tears I had held in for so long came pouring out. I wasn’t crying for the father I would miss. I was crying for the father I had missed. I missed the love that should have been shared between us. I couldn’t stop crying now. The grief was too much to bear. He was gone and I could never tell him that I knew Jesus now. He wasn’t there for me to talk to. I couldn’t tell him that I forgave him for his drinking and loved him anyway.
This pain I felt was similar but small in comparison to the pain I felt for the loss of my baby boy that I never had the chance to know and hold. My son I would never see grow up to be the man of God I would want him to be. This boy that I couldn’t tell how much I loved him and how very sorry I was that I had murdered him. I can’t put into words the torture this was for me.
Neither of these important men in my life would I know. The emptiness was overwhelming. As in the Old Testament days I mourned with bitter wailing. “My life was spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength failed because of my iniquity, and my bones were consumed” (Psalm 31:10).
I was the cause of my grief for my dead son. I cried out to God as David did: “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning. My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body. I am feeble and utterly crushed; I groan in anguish of heart. All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes” (Psalm 38:4-11).
“I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears” (Psalm 6:6). There were many, many nights that I cried almost all night long for my son. I buried my face in my pillow so no one could hear me crying. When morning would finally come, my pillow would be wet with tears. I would be so tired I would have to struggle to make it through the day. My sorrow brought physical pain as well as the emotional pain.
I didn’t think there would ever be an end to my suffering: “Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent” (Jeremiah 4:19). Almost daily would “Streams of tears flow from my eyes… My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the LORD looks down from Heaven and sees” (Lamentations 3:48-50). “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:2).
Let me share with you the most wonderful truth: God cares! He does see our tears. He actually writes about each tear in His book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16). Sometimes early Christians would catch their tears in bottles and bury them with their loved ones because they knew God valued them. “Thou numberest my wonderings; put thou my tears into thy bottle. Are they not in thy book?” (Psalm 56:8). To know that God cared about each and every tear that I had shed meant so very much to me. God promises us that “Those who sow in tears will reap in joy” (Psalm 126:5).
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple he heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears” (Psalm 18:6). Our Sovereign LORD will “comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:2-3). God comforts us to bring glory to Himself!
Dear friend, have hope “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’ The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (Lamentations 3:22-26).
Until next time remember “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:18-19).