A few months ago, as many of you know, I was in Nicaragua for about 3 1/2 weeks. Once the team left, I’d been given several very hefty warnings that there things coming my way. I was told that the warnings were coming so that I would not get blindsided.
One of those moments came, unexpectedly, in an unexpected manner – even though I was ‘watching’ for it. I was dealing with this one of the evenings that we have our prayer worship nights at the church.
I found my ‘resting’ spot for the evening, as the guest worship leader began. I was sort of separate from the others, even though the coffee house is pretty small. I was doing my best to connect to God and not focus on the concern at hand, which was weighing on my heart pretty good.
At some point, I heard her singing about God collecting our tears in a bottle. Psalm 56:8 (NLT) reads…
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
I remember thinking.. oh God! I’m so tired of crying… I can’t even imagine how many bottles I’ve overflowed with tears.
I vaguely remember hearing, or maybe I was just thinking it, that she also sang something about Him pouring them out. Just then I saw what looked like 2 gemstones falling. I remember a service at a former church, where, wow, I was on my knees crying pretty good, and the pastor’s wife saying she saw our tears falling on the carpet like gemstones.
Suddenly I had a thought. What if, just what if, these bottles of tears He was catching and holding on to, were like His Alabaster Boxes? Precious and valuable to Him. Especially the tears that have been poured out in times of extravagant worship, when all hell has been coming against, and in the natural, worship is the last thing that makes any sense.
Some of us had been (and continue to be) in many discussions regarding the woman anointing the feet of Jesus and other women who encountered Him. So the story of the alabaster box was a resident concept. There are even two songs that I love regarding the alabaster box… one by Julie Meyer and the other by Cece Winans. Cece tells the story of the woman coming to the feet of Jesus through her eyes. She transports you right there, and you are aware of nearly every step and emotion that she went through, but then also opens the door for you to find your own place in this story.
Julie’s song is a personal one, but one that all can plug into and pour out their alabaster boxes of extravagant worship before Him.
But this night, I guess was one of those nights. I was trying to worship even within a place of deep pain. And that thought about Him having our tears stored up in treasured containers caught my breath. And I thought, and maybe caught a glimpse of Him breaking open these jars of our tears, only they did not pour out as liquid, but as beautiful gems. I thought wow, He treasures our tears and values them as precious? Suddenly my tears in a bottle had new meaning.
And then! I went recently to a women’s conference named Beloved. There was a woman there who sold jewelry. Every piece that she procures, she prays over and attaches a name and a verse. I was looking at them and almost immediately was drawn, like a magnet to one piece. I was one of those rose gold pieces with a double chain. It was box shaped with the main sides of the box clear glass like. And in this container were little gems of a couple of different hues, sparkling in the light. Instantly I saw it as ‘my tears in a bottle’. As I reached for it, I was undone as I saw what she named the piece – ‘Extravagant Worship’ with the alabaster box passage as the scripture from Matthew.
I was just a mess holding in my hands a tangible representation of what I’d seen in worship. Then, the next day, it was placed in my hands as a gift from a friend. It is a precious gift, not only from a friend, but the One I Love.
God takes our brokenness, and He crafts something beautiful out of it. Usually its something to help another on their journey. We are His Body, and when we are broken, He can take those broken pieces to feed the multitude. The next post after this, will be such an example as I share what my friend posted on another site this morning. I believe there will be many more to be added, so I believe we’re making “Tears in a Bottle” a new series. If you have such a testimony, or an encouraging word that has come out of your own brokenness, give me a shout and we’ll see about sharing it as well!
As soon I as figure out how to get the photo uploaded, I’ll share my Tears in a Bottle with on this post as well!