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  • Alane Stanton

No Apologies

The dinner hour was filled with laughter, a few hugs, and some chatting about life in general. Trays and trash were cleared from the tables as we readied for Bible Study. It's Wednesday evening and our mid-week church service is about to commence. The music starts and worship begins. Then I hear the introduction to the next song. I smile remembering how special this song is, but then it happens.


Tears. Not just a few, but a steady stream. I dab at the corner of my eyes, trying to be inconspicuous. Not working. I pick up my dinner napkin that remains on the table. There goes the makeup. By the final verse, I'm fairly composed. OK. Barely would be a more appropriate term, but at least the stream had slowed its flow to little more than a trickle.


Raising my voice ... and my hands ... I give all my worship (praise, thankfulness, adoration, joy) to my Father.


The song? In Christ Alone.


The version? Standard hymn.


The significance? My son's favorite.


My son loved attending Passion every winter in Atlanta. A packed arena full of young adults on fire for Jesus ... Worship that raised the roof and lifted their praises to God in Heaven ... 65,000 strong. Oh, to have been there to experience it like he did. Past tense.


My son died of an accidental overdose, BUT he loved Jesus with all his heart. He loved the Passion version of In Christ Alone, and we had it sung at his celebration of life service by his "brother." (From another mother, but brother just the same.) In the midst of that song, during a time I should have been bawling over the loss of my son, I closed my eyes and raised my hand in worship ... In praise ... KNOWING I would see my son again one glorious day.


"In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song."


Back to today, Wednesday, and the hymn. It was a slightly different version than sung at my son's funeral, but the tears came streaming anyway. Did I try to hide the tears? No. Not anymore, and here's why. God gave them to me!


Tears are a beautiful reminder that we love BIG; loved BIG. That our hearts break. That we hurt. That things don't always go as planned. That life happens. That death happens. That we feel ALL THE THINGS.


AND that's OK!!!


Tears are God-given. Tears cleanse. Tears ease our pain. Tears sooth the hurts. Tears bring about comfort from others.


In the past, I would have done everything in my power to hide my emotions and fight back the tears while screaming, "Don't you dare fall down my face!" However, I have learned much about my grief, my emotions, and yes, my tears. So now? NO APOLOGIES!


Following our worship time, the man sitting next to me pulled me into a wonderful hug. He's a new member who had no idea what was happening or why, but he felt I needed a hug. In the past I would have been mortified for "the new guy" to see me cry. But how comforting to know my new brother in Christ knew exactly what I needed in the moment and wasn't afraid of my tears! (More on how we react to others in the moment will be in my next post.)


Tears are a language God understands. Tears are a language others who have loved and lost understand. Tears are a language other grieving mamas and daddies understand. Tears are nothing for which we have to apologize. Tears provide much needed healing for our hearts, and our Heavenly Father knew all of this when he beautifully and wonderfully made each one of us.


So go ahead and feel all the feels. Let the tears and snot fly. They are a gift that we are allowed to unwrap, use when necessary, and pack away when not needed. And don't be surprised when a song, a memory, a smell, a moment triggers the need to reach for that gift once again (along with some tissues) to wash away the hurt, the pain, the brokenness. And remember ...NO APOLOGIES NECESSARY for needing to use the good gifts God gave us. Gifts for which I am so thankful.


As for my son ... In Christ alone, my son found hope. In Christ alone, he is experiencing Passion in Heaven 24/7 with his hands lifted high, just as I will continue to do on this earth until we have our sweet reunion one glorious day. Then... we will have eternity to live forever IN CHRIST ALONE.


_____________________________


I am praying each one of you reading this post will experience the strength, healing, comfort, and peace that only comes In Christ Alone.


"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him." Psam 62:5


"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." Lamentations 3:24


"Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!" Psalm 126:5


"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also He said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." Revelation 21:4-5


"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:13-14






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