I’m a crier. No seriously. I cry all the time. Happy or sad, it doesn’t matter. I will find a deep and resonating spiritual meaning behind absolutely anything and then glass over with tears. Now, I use this to write and communicate with others, but there was a time in my life I hated this little fact about myself. I couldn’t make it through a church service, a song, or a good Folger’s commercial without ruining my mascara. When I was a teen, I had the honor of praying with a young girl while she asked Jesus to save her, and I remember her asking me afterward why I was crying more than she was. I began to feel foolish over my tears. I had a preacher even once tell me that I was emotional, and that kind of behavior made me appear weak and too womanly, not strong and of sound mind.
I pondered on these thoughts and struggled to keep my emotions and empathy in check. On a hot summer day a few years later, I was helping some older and more seasoned Christian women cook at church camp. I was lamenting about how all the kids must think I’m nuts because I cry every time one of them makes any kind of spiritual decision. One of the kindly gray-hairs next to me stopped, put down her knife and said, “Aimee, I used to have a broken heart like you. I cried everyday, and because of fearing the same kind of judgment, I worked hard to shut off that part of me. I started to swallow the tears, and stifle the compassion. I would even think of other things when my heart was moved, just so I wouldn’t cry. One day, it wasn’t so hard to not cry anymore, and then later the tears wouldn’t come at all. I had calloused my heart to the joys and heartaches of the people and lives around me so much that they couldn’t even break the surface. I wasn’t a Weeping Wanda anymore, but I was hard, unfeeling, and unable to comfort others. So I got down on my knees and asked God to break my heart just one more time. I promised to never hold a tear in again if He would just let me feel. It was in that prayer that a single tear trickled down my cheek. I began to laugh, and then I just cried. The dam I had built to hold it all in had broken, and the river has never gone dry since. Don’t hold in your tears. A broken heart is a heart God can use.”
Of course, when she said it, I was crying…like I am now while typing it, but I have never forgotten it.
Recently I traced the trail of tears back to the first time I felt foolishly and uncontrollably heartbroken, and found something big, something momentous. Of course, most things are big and momentous with me, but just keep reading, I think you’ll agree this one is pretty good.
I was 12 years old and had finally worked up the nerve to walk down the aisle of my huge Baptist church. I was a ball of nerves and can’t remember even stepping out on the blue carpet, but the moment I uttered the words, “I want Jesus to save me” is as clear as a bell. I also remember what happened next, I started crying. They led me and three other girls to a room where they talked with us about our decision. I kept crying. A sweet woman named Mary prayed with us. I just kept crying. She asked us a few more questions and talked about baptism. More tears. Finally she dismissed the other girls and asked me, “Aimee, are you okay?” I wiped my cheeks and smiled, “I am. I just can’t quit crying for some reason.” She smiled back and handed me a box of kleenex.
Looking back, I now know the reason. The Holy Spirit broke me, and called me to be a Weeping Wanda from day one of my new life with Him. My heart was overwhelmed then, and it pretty much stays that way all the time. Yes, it breaks and bleeds all over the place, and eye-makeup is usually a moot point on days like Sundays. Perhaps that does make me too womanly or too weak, but I believe it’s not just how God created me, it’s who He re-created in me on March 12, 1989.
So do I have any kindred spirits out there? Any fellow Weeping Wanda’s? There are three things I can offer. Sometimes our greatest weakness is our greatest strength, God can use a heart broken for what breaks His, and Lancôme Definicils is a really great non-smudging mascara.
“Those who sow with tears,
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
Will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.” Psalm 126:5-6