Could Crying be Good for You? (The Surprising Benefits of a Good Cry.)

“For crying out loud!”  I grew up with this phrase and I’ve said it myself from time to time. Today, I found myself literally crying out loud.

My “good cry” started with just a few tears and I wasn’t sure what particular emotion to assign to them. I think it was, disappointment, then in crept sadness, followed by fresh grief and after that I was pleading with God. I received his comfort and it finally turned into a time of full on thankfulness.  I was still crying but they were happy tears.

adult alone anxious black and white

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I heard years ago that the chemical compounds are different in the different types of tears we cry. When I heard this, I was amazed and thought, “Of course, that’s so God to make our bodies operate that way. We cry for a variety of reasons and the tears themselves are different too. You are amazing God!”

I briefly read an article in Medical News Today- Eight Benefits of Crying: Why it’s Good to Shed a Few Tears.  *I’ll include a link at the end.

Basically, we cry and shed tears of three types:

  • Basal – tears when we blink the simple tears that keep the eye moist.
  • Reflex – tears that occur when we cut an onion or smoke blows in our eyes while sitting around a camp-fire.
  • Emotional – tears that are in response to a wide range of emotions and have higher stress hormones – so crying could be good for you.

I know I have times when I experience “tear build-up,” it’s like pent-up energy perhaps? But nothing else helps me, until I have a good cry.

I remember years ago a friend of mine told me her daughter would lament, “Mom I know I’m in need of a good cry but I just don’t have time right now to do that. I’ll come home later and cry it out.”

I truly love that! It showed self-awareness to what was needed in her body, heart and emotions.

Could Crying be Good for You? (The Surprising Benefits of a Good Cry.)

  • releases toxins
  • has a soothing effect like when a baby cries before falling a sleep
  • is a way to deal with emotions
  • can reduce pain and lead to a sense of well-being
baby child close up crying

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So crying is normal and has benefits too? I love that! (Of course crying too much and too often could be a sign of depression, but that’s not the purpose of this blog nor is it the type of crying I’m referencing here.)

Let me share a few verses which have been true anchors in my life.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:17-18 NIV

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.Psalm. 34:6

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children… Lamentations 2:19 (I’m sure any parent can relate to this verse.)

So what was the scoop with me today? Well, I simply had a good cry. It was needed and beneficial. It brought me near to God. I know He heard me and like I said, it ended with a time of thanksgiving. I was truly comforted and later, rose and took a walk.

I’m certain God knows when we need a good cry and when we need to get some exercise. He designed us and I’m amazed by the way I respond to both tears and movement. My response was relief.  I felt so much better.

So how about you? How are you doing? Are you in need of a good cry?

adult alone black and white blur

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Do you think you might need some exercise? If you haven’t done either of those things in a while, I highly endorse them. Cry out! God hears you and he loves you like CRAZY!

Let me leave you with one other verse – NOT related to crying but one that I hope will encourage you nonetheless. The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

*Eight benefits of crying

 

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“You’ve got to be kidding me!” A Divine Appointment!

We’d been planning for years and finally the day arrived. My cousin and I were headed to Bethel Church in Redding, California. We’re both part of Bethel’s on-line community. The Carr Fire in California has been so horrible, yet gratefully even the fires near Redding did not cause a change in our trip dates, our desires or our plans. It was a go!

We flew from our perspective locations and met in Phoenix. Once we hugged at the gate we knew the fun had begun! “It’s good to see you I’m so excited!” I told Annie. We stood in line at the airport Starbucks and rattled away and giggled a bunch too.

While we were first together there in Phoenix, we prayed.

We’ve been praying for years. But that day, seated in the airport, we thanked God for safety and for being together and prayed “God give us divine appointments.”

You know how once you pray something your awareness is boosted a little bit more because you’re looking for what you’ve just asked of God?

Well both Annie and I were in heightened awareness mode. I boarded the plane first and secured my seat and Annie was going to join me.

I always pick an aisle so I can get up and go to the bathroom she came in and sat in the middle seat.

Annie blurted out quickly, “I just heard a lady say ‘Redding’ so I spoke with her briefly. I figured we are probably both headed to Bethel.” She chuckled.

No sooner had she told me when the woman came down the aisle and they visited for a minute. Then she asked, “Could I just sit with you guys in this row? I may as well take this window seat! ”

“SURE!” We answered in unison.

She sat near the window and explained why she was going where she was going. She told us she was flying to Sacramento because her daughter was going to be attending a school out in Northern California and she was going to meet her there and get her settled in a bit.

We asked her where the school was located and she told us Bethel Church in Redding. We quickly replied “Oh, we’re going to Bethel Church this weekend. That’s the purpose of our trip.” I introduced myself, “I’m Rachel.”

She said, “I’m Jill.” She later mentioned her husband and her daughter were traveling from Michigan all the way across country to Redding. “But I told them, guys…I’m gonna just fly out. That’s a long way-I’ll fly and meet you.”

During the course of the conversation we found out things about one another and then I asked, “Could I pray for you?”

“Absolutely!” She replied.

The three of us agreed together in prayer. We prayed for protection as Jill’s husband and daughter traveled across country. We prayed for her daughter’s ease of transition in going to this new school far away.

I prayed for Jill’s “mama’s heart” I know what it’s like to miss a daughter, so I prayed for her as she said goodbye to her daughter in the next few days. I don’t remember the rest of the prayer but that was pretty much the gist of it.

We visited the duration of the flight and then we didn’t see her again. It was as if she were “POOF” gone!

We secured our rental car, decided who would drive and who would navigate, strapped on our seatbelts, logged our destination in the GPS and headed to Redding.”Phew it’s warm in here!” we agreed. “Let’s start the air conditioner.” Then we snapped a photo and peeled away!

We traveled awhile and decided to stop for lunch. My cousin Annie, had never been to California so she wanted the experience of IN and OUT Burger. I mainly eat a plant-based diet so I spotted a Panda Express just down from the IN and OUT.

“Can you find somethin’ to eat here?” She inquired.

“Not really.” I pointed. I’m going to head over to that Panda Express, grab some veggies and noodles and meet you back here. We can sit outside on the patio.”

“Sounds good,” She said.

I ordered my carry-out quickly, exited the restaurant swinging my white carton of food in its plastic bag and was going to meet Annie.

Just then, our new friend Jill came walking out of Starbucks which was next to the Panda Express.

I took one look at her, and said, “Oh, my! Well hello again!” We hugged and visited for a few minutes. I found out that she got her rental car and that she was safe and was making her trek north. “Well, isn’t it funny running into you here at lunch?

“I’ve just eaten at Panda Express, so now I’m grabbing a coffee for the road. God is good!”‘Jill reported.

“Great! Well, who knows, maybe we will see you at Bethel Church on Sunday!” I said. And walked away.

I thought that was the punchline. So odd to see someone again and be able to encourage them and laugh together. Timely encounters.

We continued our jaunt north. We had the address of our Airbnb logged into Google maps. “We are almost there!” Annie exclaimed.

We were both so excited as the GPS was giving our final directives. We pulled up to the row of condominiums, double checked the address to confirm, as the phone said, “Arrived at your destination.”

I opened my door, felt the heat and smelled the smoke, stepped onto the sidewalk nearest the condo and looked up.

“What?” I clapped my hands together and exclaimed simultaneously, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” There was Jill!

“WHAT?”

I stood frozen for a second.

Our new friend from Michigan walked toward me. I looked up to see a man, her husband, carrying hanging clothes draped over his arms and a young woman, her beautiful daughter, holding a box. They were moving in!

Jill approached me and started talking super fast, “I couldn’t believe it, I went up to my daughter’s room and the room adjacent to it had a sign on the Airbnb door that read, ‘Welcome Annie and Rachel.’

I stood looking at the sign dumbfounded thinking, ‘are these the ladies I just met on the flight that I was seated next to on the airplane? These ladies are my daughter’s weekend roommates?!?’

God calmed my mama heart with his attention to detail. He brought people from the Midwest to meet me on the plane to stay in the house with my daughter during her first weekend here. I couldn’t believe it! That’s so good of God!”

She was raving and gleeful…we ALL were.

We entered the air conditioned condo and introduced ourselves to her husband. I’m sure he was spinning…three woman were all jabbering at once trying to explain the story of our divine appointment to him.

We tried to recount the story so we could tell it to Jill’s daughter. “We met your mom on the airplane today she said ‘Redding’…blah, blah, blah.”

I ascended the steps and confirmed the whole deal; our room was adjacent to her daughter’s room. “No way!”

We had prayed for the transition of Jill’s daughter as she went off to school in Redding, California and there she was right before our eyes. Her eyes sparkling as she smiled and said, “Nice to meet you guys!”

Over the course of our extended weekend, we saw them again in passing between the services as they were in line for coffee.

“You guys should try MiMi Grace for breakfast. I tried it last time I visited before I decided to come here for school.”

We had to try it because we both like avacado toast and it was called Mimi Grace…my daughter is Grace.

We had prayed for months but this is just ONE of the divine appointments we had along the way. I could share so many more. “God-incidences” But this one will have to do for now.

God is the kindest person I know. He delights to delight my heart. I’m convinced of it. This made me have a perm-a-grin.

What are the ways God has been showing up in the little details of your life? Do you have a devine appointment you’d like to share?

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm‬ ‭139:16‬ ‭b NIV‬‬

Custom made clothing – the tailor made suit.

I was asked to be part of a team comprised of such quality ladies in its lineup…so of course I said, “Yes, I’m in!” I was thrilled to be involved and it was truly amazing!  Although it was years ago, I will never forget our wonderful team, nor the women we ministered with and in India. While there, I spoke to hundreds of incredible women who came to the sessions.

As they filed in, the stream of them continued until the large, well-lit meeting room was packed full. I was awestruck with their beauty and by the full array of colorful garments they were clad in. It was a parade of noticeably vibrant color! Whoa! It blew my mind.

woman in sari dress

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I am slowly coming out of a long, dark stage of colorlessness. In other words I wear a lot of black. But I really do enjoy color!

After spending time and traveling through India, I told a friend, “It felt as if I were in a dream and an artist’s paint pallet had exploded. The result was many bright hues which remained everywhere and on everyone. It was glorious!

One of my mentor friends told me, “I remember the first time I visited Guatemala.” She reflected,”Oh, Rachel I was drunk with color!” I could relate because that’s exactly how I felt while in India, it was mesmerizing, bright and wonderfully intoxicating.

woman wearing blue traditional indian dress and silk thread bangles

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I marveled at the rainbow of colorful elegant saris and salwar kameez outfits the women wore. A sari is just one of many outfits traditionally worn in India. Another is the “salwar kameez” which is worn both as an everyday outfit and in more formal settings as well.

A salwar is a pair of loose drawstring trousers that are tapered and fit more tightly around the ankle area. The salwar is worn underneath the kameez, which is the long tunic worn on top. The out fit is completed with a scarf. My dear friend told me the scarf is to cover our bumps.

man walking on street carrying metal bucket

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I had the privilege of riding through the streets observing as our driver maneuvered and obeyed the”rules of the road” which felt more like mere suggestions to me than rules. Our team of women were delightedly given an opportunity to go shopping.

man holding white sack walking beside street stores

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It was a lot to take in. A time of major sensory overload. We witnessed so many sights, sounds, smells and colors in the streets and in the local shops. It was bustling and loud yet quite invigorating! I remember going into a bit more up scale shop, it was air-conditioned and was deep and narrow inside. I want to get an outfit from here!

The store housed so many bolts of fabric, all displayed on dark wooden shelves which lined the walls from floor to ceiling. There were hundreds of fabrics we could choose from. Oh, my gosh, look at all these fabrics I get to choose from! I’m going to get a tailor-made outfit…What?

The shop clerk attended to us and pulled many bolts off the shelves, placed them on the counter in front of us to examine and select while the others got fitted.

It was my turn. I was struck by how precise the thin tailor was as he pulled out his tape measure, took my measurements and wrote them each down on his small pad of paper he had on the glass counter top.

He finished rather quickly and I asked, “Is that it?”

He bobbled his head back and forth, then emphatically answered, “Yes! You come back in two days.”

We returned a few days later and both of my tailor-made salwar-kameez outfits were waiting for me. Each had optional longer sleeves attached with a safety-pin to the top of my Kameez. What’s with these?  It was explained to me they were longer sleeves in case I wanted to have them sewn on instead.

I loved wearing my new salwar kameez. I looked fabulous and all put together, but was really super comfortable. It was almost as if I was wearing a set of my favorite PJs. I could grow accustomed to this!

The whole custom-made clothing thing was truly amazing and a lot of fun. I’ve never had anything fit me so well. I wore my two new outfits during the remaining part of our trip.

I remember thinking, I LOVE THESE CLOTHES! they fit me perfectly.

I’m 5 foot 2 1/2 so often, off the rack pants, are way too long. Plus in the shirt category… the darts of a standard blouse are way too long, clearly intended for someone who has a little more on top, if you know what I mean. These special tailor-made “salwar-kameez’ garments fit me splendidly!

fabric scissors needle needles scissors

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Let me turn a corner here and tell you this. I think my life and yours is designed and being made to fit us perfectly,  by a perfect tailor. One who knows us inside and out and doesn’t even need to collect any measurements, because He is the one who designed us. I know God is fitting me for a purpose and he is fitting things for me at the same time. What a grand design!

I really believe God knows us intimately and uses everything in our lives for our good.  I mean every thing. No wasted sleeves attached with a safety-pin to the “kameez” of our lives. Nope! He uses it all. Each circumstance, situation, trial that we live through or joy we experience is tailored for us. All of it is used to make us more like Jesus.

I don’t believe that God causes the hard things. He sure does use them though. Sometimes the hard things are a result of living in a fallen world. Other times its our own decisions or pain inflicted on us, or the choice of another that directly affects us. But I do know God uses it all. Nothing is wasted.

Whatever you are going through right now, God will make it fit you so that you are beautiful as you parade throughout the kingdom. He is for you not against you and he is fashioning us day by day. We can live lives of color and display his glory!

All things can work for us and make us wear the most beautiful tailor-made garment as we love God and minister to others.

You, dear reader, are dressed by him and ready to bless others. You lead a life of color and are fitted with his grace. Let your light so shine before men, that they see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16 And may your life and mine be ones of noticeably vibrant color!

 

Friday Night Live

“Should we go tonight? I think it would be fun! We haven’t been yet this summer and it’s supposed to be great weather,” I asked. My husband and I discussed our evening plans before he left for work. We both agreed we’d go downtown for Freeman Friday Night Live.

I could picture the streets bustling with people and music filling the air. I had a full on day-dream thinking about it in advance. As he fired up the engine and mounted his motorcycle, I was snapped back to reality and said,”Okay, just text me when you’re leaving work so we can figure out if you should come home for me or if we should meet there.”

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Freeman Friday Night Live is an enjoyable recurring summer event. Our local Main Street is blocked off, police officers patrol on bicycles while people walk and dance in the middle of the street and listen to a variety of bands stationed throughout.

Each band plays a different type of music and draws a unique audience. People swarm in from all directions and sections of life. I enjoy it because I love people and I get a kick out of people watching.

Summer time is so much fun and Friday Night Live is a way to mingle with a wide variety of people from all ages. Dressed in summer sundresses and shorts, they bring their toddlers in strollers and young kids ride in wagons as they eat ice cream.  Others are with puppies or dogs on leashes. Some folks are slightly more dressed up and go out for dinner or drinks with friends then walk around and greet their friends.

person holding ice cream with cone

As my day unfolded, I hoped we’d get to ride together on the motorcycle and I wouldn’t have to find a parking spot or coordinate meeting my honey.

Then late in the afternoon, I received a text from a friend, Hey, Rachel if u are not doing anything tonight, we are going to Friday Night Live to walk around. Welcome to join us. Let us know, it will be good see u and get tattoos.

Jill always teases me about drinking margaritas, smoking cigars and getting tattoos, mainly because she knows none are big draws for me. It has become a standing joke the way she hassles me.  I texted back, Yep! We talked about it already but I need to wait until Michael gets off work. So we will see you there.

On Friday night I didn’t drink, smoke or get a tattoo, but I got my photo taken with my friend Jill so we could document the occasion of me getting close to the tattoo parlor.

J7zKwtgBRQOkSD72Tj+yyAimg_2986We had a good time. We walked and talked and saw some other friends we knew and gave them each a big hug, “We saw you ride in on the Gold Wing and I thought, that kind of looks like Rachel…Well it is Rachel and Michael!” I grinned and said, “Yeah it’s me!” We visited with them for a while and then headed home.

It is always good to be with friends and be in the community. I think summertime is one of my favorite seasons because of it.  I got my fix of people watching, chatted with strangers, giggled with friends, took a ride on the momo with my man and strolled through downtown with ease.  It was a good day and a night that did not disappoint.

Let me ask you:

  • What do you enjoy about summertime?
  • If you were to get a new tattoo what would it be?
  • What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
  • What’s your favorite season?
  • What genre of music would you stop and listen to, or dance to?

When the Going Gets Tough…

Have you heard this phrase? “When the going gets tough; the tough get going.” I’d have to admit, when things get hard sometimes I’ve just quit. Here’s a silly little example I’ll share to illustrate.

Once upon a time, in a house of a home school family, mine, a magic marker was dropped down inside a blue glazed piece of pottery with a small narrow opening to the “mouth” of it. I tried for a while to dislodge the marker. First, I turned the pottery over, attempted to guide the magic marker toward the small opening.

“Lemme see, maybe this will work.” I said. Next, I shook it, inverted it and checked the placement of the marker. Then I shoved my index finger in, wiggled it and felt around trying to grab the end and guide it out. I followed this by a feeble attempt of my pinky finger. “Rats!” I exclaimed. “I’m so close, I can touch it!”

I tried other things too, but to no avail. I remember I looked down at my young daughter and said, “Let’s just set it aside for now and have Daddy take a look at it when he gets home!” I just quit. Is that pathetic? (I am married to a man who is mo-ti-vat-ed by a challenge!)

bright colored markers colorful colors

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Just so you know the rest of the story. Michael took a look at it when he returned from work and did something amazingly clever to free the trapped marker. I call him MacGyver, from the television series starring Richard Dean Anderson, because he fixes most anything using bizarre methods.

I believe someone out there is frustrated, discouraged, or losing hope and I want to encourage you… Don’t give up! The stuck marker and pottery scenario seems small, but it’s the stick-to-it-tive-ness, perseverance and overcomer’s attitude and testing of one’s will or strength I’d like to highlight.

Let me start by telling you this truth. You are stronger than you think, will last longer than you know, and are capable of doing more than you can imagine. (God knows this about you and about me too.)

What’s kind of funny to me is how we love the pain and struggle, in some areas of life, and are even drawn to it.  I have a few friends who’ve done the Iron Man multiple times.  I’ve seen how we can enjoy the toil involved in sports and athletics. I know I’m hooked by the background story of the training process of dedicated Olympians. The amount of sheer determination and grit that led up to the metals ceremony amazes me.

blue and red superman print tank top shirt

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These athletes undergo rigorous training routines as we cheer them on. Their training is excruciatingly difficult, but I have never heard anyone accuse the athletes’ coach or trainer of being too tough.

Rather, the coach is appreciated for pushing the individual and bringing out their best through the hard process of testing. The coach pushes hard which makes a better athlete, period. (A few movies display this well. Miracle, Facing the Giants, Remember the Titans)

action active arena athletes

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adult coach communication face

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However, when it comes to our own spiritual lives or another person’s faith journey, we don’t have the same mindset we use with sports. Instead, when faced with a difficult situation or grueling trial, people doubt the goodness of God or easily assign blame to Him. But God is good and only good. Yes, life can be both hard and good. Yet God is FOR us.

Here are a couple of truths which keep me going when the going gets tough and have helped me thrive and make it through more than I knew I was capable of enduring:

  • the example of Jesus enduring the crucifixtion ‘for the joy set before him’
  •  the fact that God promises to be with us in hard times: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor for sake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 

Going through hard things in life, a trial, struggle or a PIT of some sort often makes people doubt the goodness of God. Whether we are the one going through it or we observe someone else in the PIT. I heard Graham Cooke once say, “PIT stands for ‘Prophet in Training’ or ‘Person in Transition.'” Are you going through a hard thing? Are you in the PIT?

I’ve spent some time in the PIT  I hope to see God working to make me a prophet in training and I know I’m a person in transition. I believe God only wants good for me and He is able to do the impossible in my life. Knowing Jesus in a deeper way is the result of my time in the pit because it’s where His presence became so evident to me and my encounters with the Living God increased. So I am actually grateful for the circumstances I’ve seen in my life. We are all in process.

The other day I ran across this verse from Isaiah 42:3 NIV. It is one that ministered to me and helped me believe in God’s goodness for me years ago. But it was needed again the other day as a reminder of that fact that God is NOT out to break me nor does He desire to squash me like a bug. “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;”

So remember dear believer:

  • God is for you NOT against you.
  • God works all things together for your good.
  • God will never leave you or forget about you.
  • God lifts up his smile upon you and gives you peace.
  • God blesses your coming and going both now and forever more.
  • God promises to be with you in hard times.
  • Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might.
  • God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory.

Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 New Heart English Version

When we rely on the power of God and trust in His character and rest in His promises, We are stronger than we think, will last longer than we know, and are capable of doing more than we can imagine.. “So when the going get’s tough…Let’s cling to God and get going!”