Though books like real women cry (and real men let them) outline the truly abundant evidence that supports the place of emotional tears in times of pain and suffering, many women– including Christian women–struggle to give themselves permission to cry. Whether as a result of inaccurate teachings, past abuse or a false sense of needing to appear that “we have it all together,” Christian women struggling with depression battle feelings of guilt and shame born out of the lie that there must be something wrong with them (and their faith) if they just can’t “pull it all together.” This can be especially true for women leaders and pastors’ wives who believe they have to be “strong for everyone.” In some situations — even though a woman may show up for church on Sunday morning with a smile on her face — feelings associated with depression can result in a deep sense of isolation, and at its extreme, thoughts of suicide.
The Bible has much to say about this widespread subject, and gratefully, the God of the Bible is One who lets us know that it’s ok to cry. In fact, rather than believe the lie that tears are a sign of weakness, God through the love of Jesus Christ encourages us to pour out our hearts to Him. (Psalm 62:8, NIV). When we go to God with our pain and allow our tears to fall where they may, He makes a “record” of our cry, validates our suffering (it’s real, you know) and places (or “lists”) our tears in His bottle. (see Psalm 56:8). He is a God of Great Comfort who never seeks to have us feel ashamed. Through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross, God is in the business of replacing feelings of guilt with the knowledge of His love and acceptance. It is never His will for us to suffer in complete isolation. Our life on earth has a purpose!
If you are struggling with depression, please let someone who cares about you know what you are going through. Then pick up your Bible and read through the Psalms. Hear the cries of those who have gone before you and know a God of love Who truly cares about your pain and has granted you permission to cry.