RelateHER: Fighting Back Tears

Written By: Bonnie Pue


We often associate tears with weakness. We don’t cry when we feel confident. We don’t cry when we feel exhilarated. We don’t even cry when we feel angry at injustice.

We cry when we feel weak. We cry when we feel powerless. We cry when we feel surprised. We cry when we feel vulnerable.

And something in us hates that. We learned when we were young that if we expressed our sadness freely, we could be an easy target for mockery. Our tears would be like a siren blaring, demanding unwanted attention, so, we learned to fight back tears.

I’ve spoken with so many women who boast, “I don’t know the last time I cried.” They speak of the methods they use to contain their emotions. Biting the inside of their mouth. Pinching underneath their thighs. Distracting themselves with Netflix. Anything to get their minds off of the inner turmoil.

Because tears are a sign of weakness.

But, what if we are weak?

What if, after all these years of screaming about the strengths of women, we’ve forgotten to allow women to also have moments to express their weakness?

Weakness is not the same thing as sin. Weakness is about recognizing the finite nature of humanity and the needs we all have. We have need of grace-filled relationships, rest, beauty, purpose, and physical sustenance. Can we admit to the things that God already knows about us? Weakness is about recognizing that we are not the Eternal One.

Psalms 103:13-15 says :

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

The Bible also speaks about how the Lord completely validates our sadness; why do we refuse to do the same? Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

Now, certainly we must hold this truth in tension with the fact that God calls us to be brave, bold women who WIN. We can handle far more than we think possible and we cannot let fear reduce us. Psychologically, to cry is to open our hands and release the situation. It is to admit our frustration about that which we cannot change, and in doing so, we find that our mind is refreshed. In this humility of soul, we find the hope to rise again and the strength to face what has caused us despair.

We are determined to continue on in the journey of obedience, but we need to know that on that road, the Lord welcomes us to release the sorrows, frustrations and disappointments. He considers it worship when we present our hearts to Him.

We must learn to not fight the tears.