For most of my life I have hated crying. For me it was synonymous with weakness and I hate feeling weak. I know there are things I do not excel at because I am not naturally talented or gifted in areas like athletics or math, but I pride myself in having a “high pain tolerance” (at least according to a doctor and a tattoo artist (spoiler alert, I have tattoos) so I’m runnin’ with it). I had to. As a kid I was made fun of on the playground, a lot. When I was the one being mocked I tried to operate under the “say nothing at all” mentality and just ignored them, but if it was one of my friends they hurt, I could hurl insults right back like a champ. Still, I didn’t cry. There were a lot of things I was told I was “not” during those elementary school playground days. I was not pretty enough, I was not fast enough, I was not smart enough, I was not strong enough. Because I chose not to cry about those comments I convinced myself I wasn’t affected by them and I truly was strong. But, for a long time, the inner narrative of my life had been that I am not enough and that crying makes me even weaker.
I was wrong.
Crying is not a sign of weakness. Crying is not a bad thing. Crying is something that can be, and often is, healing for the soul. AND I am enough. I am enough because God made me on purpose and for a purpose and so I am enough.
Don’t get me wrong. I still have days, most days, okay almost every moment of every day, where I feel as though I am not enough and I have to fight hard to remember that I was made on purpose and for a purpose and that makes me enough.
One of my favorite parts about teaching at a private Christian school is getting to worship together on chapel days. On those days, I feel content and can dwell in that balance of being just enough. I love knowing God is in that place and that there is a body of people gathered together to worship Him. And most of the time my heart is just glad. No tears, just contentment and a feeling that this is enough.
At one of the very first chapels of the 2017-2018 school year our worship team starting playing “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. As I sang, I wept. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have heard and sung that song, and not once cried , until now. I know the lyrics without even needing to see them and yet, this last year, in this season of life and of feeling as though I am not enough, those words took on new meaning.
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
It’s still raining. The thunder is still rolling. And yet God is still merciful and gracious. God is still good. Oh how I love the sound of an “and yet” statement. You see, up until recently I hadn’t realized just how much I was feeling I am not enough again. If I was enough, God surely would have allowed our daughter to live. If I was enough, surely God would have given us another baby by now. I am not enough…I am not enough…I am not enough.
This post originally began at the end of February, but I wasn’t done grappling with it yet, and so, for some reason, today I felt drawn back to this post. In February I concluded it was okay to cry. Crying is not a bad thing. God is still good. And that still resonates in my heart today, but as we come up on the one year anniversary of our daughter’s birth, I realize I have fallen again into the pit of feeling not enough.
I was sure by now God would have reached down and wiped our tears away, stepped in and saved the day, giving us another little life to love and cherish here on Earth. But once again, I say “Amen”, and it’s still raining. And as the thunder rolls, I barely hear His whisper through the rain, “I am with you”.
I listened to another podcast episode of “That Sounds Fun” with Annie Downs recently (seriously, I am continuously encouraged by her podcasts and the guests she invites). Her guest, Christine Caine, brought up Psalm 119:68 and reminded me, once again, I can hold tight to the fact that I believe in a God who is good. Good, even when I don’t understand His timing or the things He allows to funnel through His mighty hands. Even on days I feel I am not enough, God…is…still…good.
The verse says this, “You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees.”
And so instead of stepping back, instead of holding in the tears and trying to be strong, I am choosing to lean in and let myself feel all the emotions. I am leaning in on the promises that God is still good and that I am enough. I am leaning into His Word and remembering that God made me on purpose and for a purpose and even though this season is painful and the waiting is difficult and the tears may come…He is still here leaning in with me. God does not waste hurt. He allows facets of beauty from it to pierce the darkness and provide a warmth to soothe your soul while you walk through the valley.
If you have taken the time to read this post and your inner narrative is one of feeling “not enough” please know there is someone else who understands. Not fully, because I am not you. I was not created to be you, just as you were not created to be me, but you ARE enough. You were created on purpose and for a purpose. Trust that God has a plan and a purpose for you and He will not abandon you.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.” ~ Psalm 138:8