[serialposts]“What are you doing,” H asks me playfully as he barges through the door. We make eye contact and the smile on his face slides to a solemn slant as he pads his way slowly into the room. “Are you crying,” he asks before I can answer his first question.
Curled up under blankets in my bed, I’m watching the movie, One Day, shredded to tears. The only light in the room comes from a floor lamp in the corner and glows from the screen hanging on the wall, but he can still distinguish the pink circles lining the rims of my eyes; eyelashes clumped together wet.
And (spoiler alert) it isn’t the scene when Anne Hathaway is shockingly hit by a truck that tugs on my emotions; leaving the love of her life in grief. It’s the small exchange between a father and son that provokes the tears: A father telling his grieving son to live his life as though his wife were still living, just like he had been doing for the past ten years, after his own wife passed away.
When someone chooses courage to rise above difficult circumstances and celebrate life, it moves me to tears. And I’ve learned to listen to my tears since Emily Freeman suggested it.
“It’s not enough to say a story moved you but think about what it was about that story that moved you. That is a hint to where you are most fully alive. They are not just tears, they are tiny messengers sent to tell you, here is where your heart beats strong, a hint to your design, your image bearing identity.” ~Emily Freeman
And perhaps those who overcome obstacles, hang on to hope and practice patience instead of panic, they remind me of the power of redemption waving surrender to the mess. That place where my heart beats strong.
When we choose to rise above it without turning back, we recognize our smallness. And exchange it bravely, for the bigness of God.
Yesterday we donned our best, celebrated victory over empty threats and shouted Alleluia to the Risen Christ. While the carpet lays strewn with yesterday’s foil wrappers and flattened jelly beans, I’m aware it takes more than one day to absorb the reality of the resurrection; the liberating power of Jesus Christ.
Here at Living the Story we’re asking the question, “How do you rise above difficulty and celebrate the realities of your faith?” We want to know what makes you pound your fist on the table, what causes tears to stream down your face, and find the wonder of resurrection in the everyday mundane.
In April, our writers will share stories on the theme Rise, telling everyday tales of awakening to the mystery of the resurrection during Eastertide. Together, we’ll celebrate and ponder the message of Christ through the lens of our unique perspectives. And we’ll give away one copy of Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg to a lucky person who comments – one every Monday in April starting today. Winners will be announced every Tuesday morning here.
Then on Monday, April 29, join us in welcoming our guest writer, Margaret Feinberg, popular Bible teacher, speaker and author, and link up your own story on the prompt Rise. One story will be selected from the collection and featured here on Bible Dude. It could be yours.
May we look upon the light casting shadow over the field of those things which brought us grief and see the goodness of the Lord in His redemption. Psalm 34
Shelly, I am not further convinced that we could never watch these type of movies together. We would be an absolute mess. What you said here,
“When someone chooses courage to rise above difficult circumstances and celebrate life, it moves me to tears.”
I completely identify with. This is me as well, and it’s that redemption thread that undoes me ever single time. I wept all the way to Easter service yesterday and coudn’t sing half the songs with that knot in my throat. God’s generous love, His willing redemption for me–for us? It’s what breaks me open again and again and again. I am so looking forward to this series!
We’d have to share the box of tissues between us Kris. So glad you are on the journey with me. Can’t wait to read your take on this theme.
Beautiful. I love this so much.
Laura, thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. You may just win Margaret’s book.
Ohh, girl. You know how to make things fun! Fantastic idea.
Always a pleasure to have you at the party Amy.
“Are you crying?”
That’s a familiar question around my house. I missed Emily’s take on tears, so thanks for sharing. So true, yet so easily overlooked.
Looking forward to this series!!
Sarah, I had the privilege of hosting Emily at a conference and she shared this quote with a small group of people. She was sharing bits of her new book due to come out in November. Glad you are joining us for the series.
Sarah, my son drew your name for the giveaway. I would love to send you Margaret’s book. Can you email me with your address? firstname.lastname@example.org
I love the idea of sharing resurrection stories for isn’t that the beginning of welcoming the Kingdom of God, now, today, among us? I look forward to this series and maybe, perhaps, I might be able to put words to my own story…for there has certainly been a pounding of fists and shedding of tears in my world–but there has also been a rising…
Would love to have you join us Holly, what you have to say is so valuable. God is doing a new thing, that is certain.
Hi Shelly! Beautiful post yet again.
Totally relate to H asking “Are you crying?” Been there with my husband many a time. One of the things that breaks me open is watching a movie with a father/daughter exchange where deep love is rediscovered after perhaps long years of struggle existed in the relationship. I know this movie is chock-full of swearing, but occasionally we watch ‘On Golden Pond’ with Henry and Jane Fonda. There is the scene at the end of the movie where she finally calls him “DAD”, instead of Norman. I cry every single time. It speaks to my more-than deep desire to truly connect with my own Dad, after years and years of struggle between us. Oh, what I would give to hear him say he loves me, or that he’s proud of me. But it is what it is and I’ve had to work through and accept that. To forgive To find a measure of peace in it. As I discovered in the movie, he has given the best way he knows, and he’s aged and is not about to change, so it is I who has had to change and readjust my thinking and my heart. And that’s a good thing. A God thing.
I’ve had to come to those same realizations in my own life Jillie. That what they give is what they are capable of giving, even if it doesn’t feel like enough. And Jesus fills in the empty places.
Oh Shelly, and this is clanging like a gong and a cymbal and a harp. There are strains of beauty, choruses of pain, and melodies of sadness coming from my world. Its a loud symphony of emotion. I cannot WAIT for this series and to read stories. I heard yesterday again, I’d heard it before but can’t remember the original source, that the shortest distance between two people is a powerful story. Can’t wait to connect through the powerful storytelling here.
I like that Elizabeth, the shortest distance between two people is their stories. Our stories provide a pathway to redemption that leads to Peace, in a person, not a place. Praying for you today dear one.
Went to service yesterday needing a resurrection “refresher” …and, unbelievably it was not mentioned; maybe alluded to in a welcome statement, but not emphasized. Maybe I was overly needy concerning the resurrection yesterday. But I am overly needy for it today too. I need to hear others recount the story of the Living Savior, the one who invites us to to stick our fingers in his wounds and I am looking forward to seeing what “rises” from this place and the people who share. On a good note, J swung by the mailbox after church and there waiting for me was a beautiful message of hope sealed in a envelope. Such a blessing just when I needed it.
I’m with you Dea, I want to live it, because I need it, every.single.day. We’re needy and I pray that won’t ever change. We need the power of resurrection in our every day. Glad you liked the card. Love you friend, praying for you.
Many a human story moves me to tears. But it is the Great Narrative of God’s redemption that hits home the most. I am always undone by kindness and the kindness of the Lord leads us to repentance and faith. I will be watching out for the beautiful hope-filled stories to come and praying for the courage to share mine. Bless you, Shelly, for this lovely post and the power of sharing we can all benefit from.
It’s the power of story right Joy? Our stories of redemption inspire and give us hope. Glad you’ll be joining in here.
As Easter approached, my heart and mind overflowed with Christ’s love for me. Throughout the last few weeks and today, the kindness and surprises that others extended to me in the hard times of life, are a reminder that God sees us in our struggles and tears. He sends people our way as gifts sent by him. Gifts that are more precious than gold.
So glad you’ve been overwhelmed with His love for you Nancy, through the kindness of others, what a gift.
Shelly, this is so beautiful. And the quote is awesome! I love reading your words and the way I hear your voice. And I get it about crying at the “wrong” part, but of course it’s always the right part. I remember reading Roger Ebert and him saying something about how sad events in movies don’t make us cry–seeing courage in others does. So true. Love what you are up to here, friend. Hugs, H
Thanks Heather, hope you’ll join us here with your own story at the end of the month.
“It takes more than one day to absorb the reality of the resurrection; the liberating power of Jesus Christ.” – Yes. That I would live it, every day, deeper seeped in the reality of the resurrection.
Amen Cara, me too!
My friends always laugh at me because I cry at movies, tv, books, commercials…fist pounding passion…that is harder for me to come by.As for faith in the mundane? Well it is usually the moments between strangers that choke me up. I work in a hospital and am constantly surprised by how others help each other out and offer each other kindness and prayer. in fact these mundane “little things” are part of the reason I come back everyday!
There is something so very touching about random acts of kindness without any expectations in return. That always moves me too. Thanks for sharing your insight and perspective Erin, appreciate what you brought here.
“we recognize our smallness. And exchange it bravely, for the bigness of God.”…Yes. this is the courage I want…
Thank you for sharing your heart with us so poignantly, Shelly. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Wonderstruck (I tried to get my library to get it, but they declined). I’ll be late in reading, but intend on following along in Book Club!
Glad to know you will be joining us Nikki. And I hope you’ll share your wisdom and insight along the way. We need your perspective.
“I’m aware it takes more than one day to absorb the reality of the resurrection; the liberating power of Jesus Christ.’
I’m not sure I’ll ever soak in all the wonder of it.
Me either Sandy. But I do think we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves when it comes to this. We often feel guilty when we circle the same issues thinking we should have it all figured out. I think it takes a lifetime don’t you?
What brings tears to my eyes is remembering how much I am loved by my Heavenly Father. A few years ago I made a bad decision and turned my back on God for a man. Yet God continued to pursue and woo me until He brought me back to Himself. I have never experienced that kind of love
What a beautiful story of redemption and God pursuing you Teresa.
Shelly, I recently finished reading LL Barkat’s ‘Stone Crossings’ about her issues with her father and finding a new faith in the middle of it. The last two chapters just did me in–the connections were so strong, I just plain stopped reading for the tears. My own father left us when I was 5 and I was raised by my stepfather. I didn’t begin healing from all that until I was 40 years old. Here I am 20years later and I’m wondering if God says there isn’t more unwrapping to come. My post tomorrow is “Finding my Name in God’s Story.” (Hope to link it up here….I think?)
Thanks for asking the question.
You’ll link over on my blog Jody, can’t wait to read it. And someone, actually it was Diana Trautwein, once said to me very wisely, that we often circle the same issues in our lives but the distance becomes shorter every time we revisit. I love that imagery. And perhaps we never stop until we reach heaven.
And perhaps those who overcome obstacles, hang on to hope and practice patience instead of panic, they remind me of the power of redemption waving surrender to the mess. That place where my heart beats strong.—- these are strong words and BIG words- words that point me to the ONE who has overcome it all. Thank you for the gift today!
What an uplifting word *rise* is……bread rises, temperature rises, moon rises, sun rises, Son rises. He *is* risen! Christ is risen, indeed! And yes, because He is risen, we too one day will rise, and because He is risen and lives in us, we can rise above our circumstances. Shelly, thank you for always rising above your trials and sharing the Good News that He is sufficient for every arising. I love Is. 60:1, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD arises upon you.”
And the hymn……
“Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.”
Arise! Onward! Thank you for a wonderful post, Shelly!