Life is hard. Life is broken. This is not the way it was meant to be of course. This isn’t Eden anymore. At the same time there is such deep beauty and splendor amid the pain. As Diamond Rio sang, “It’s a beautiful mess.” I think that is why one of my favorite verses is Proverbs 14:13:
“Even in laughter the heart may ache and the end of joy may be grief.”
This verse is just so true and honest and raw. In our best happiest free-est moments there is still a tinge of sorrow, and in our darkest hardest scariest moments there seems to be an element of sweetness. In the church today most folks aren't comfortable with sorrow. People who are sad tend to be seen as a downer. The truth is God is not uncomfortable with our pain. In fact he cherishes our tears as treasures.
My beautiful wife Lindsey battles a dark reminder of the sheer brokenness of our world. Lindsey has Lyme disease. (To read a bit of how nasty Lyme really is read this post http://deanneleblanc.com/writing/2014/grey-matters/ ) Put simply Lyme destroys the body. Lindsey lives in chronic pain and severe fatigue. It is common for me to get up in the morning only to find that my wife never went to sleep - because of the pain. I simply cannot imagine always feeling awful...I would lose my mind.
Despite all of this my wife has launched a website designed to bring comfort to others who are hurting. Who does that? That is not normal. That only comes from the redemptive work of Jesus in someone’s life. Considering Lindsey’s circumstances “normal” would be to act mean as a snake and bitter towards the world. Let’s be honest, most of us get snippy and short with those around us when we just have a cold or feel a bit off due to our seasonal allergies. Most of us would kind of justify strep or the flu as an excuse to bite others’ heads off. However, what Lindsey experiences is like the worst flu of your life lasting every day...and she’s still seeking to show compassion to others! That is beautiful. That is joy despite grief. God has allowed Lindsey to live in chronic pain and in the process shown her how to empathize in a whole new way. Lindsey is in rare company.
The deeper story is that Lindsey launched Bottle of Tears in faith. She did it because she felt God was inviting her to. Again for most of us when we have a thought like that we just set it to the side and tell ourselves, “yeah that would be cool...maybe I’ll do that one day.” Most of us wait until the “perfect time” to launch our dreams (and often never get to it). Lindsey chose to step out though she’s still in the midst of the worst phases of her disease. Technically it’s unwise to launch a ministry when you are so sick that you can’t get out of bed...but real faith often leads us to do things that appear “unwise”! So often when we have a an idea that's all it is- just an idea. Lindsey had an idea and went for it. So many times she has asked me what am I doing? Answer: she's being obedient. Lindsey is one of the few who have the faith to take the risks. Every bottle represents a story. A story of pain and loss and hurt and sorrow. Lindsey is providing an avenue for someone to reach into to those stories and give comfort.
Every Drop Matters is the tag line Lindsey chose for Bottle of Tears. I think that is so profound. It’s a strong reminder that our hurts are significant. We so often compare pain and feel that our hurts don’t really justify the comfort or attention of others because they are not as severe as so and sos. That is hogwash. You simply cannot compare pain because all pain hurts.
I am so proud of Lindsey. She built the Bottle of Tears website, designed the packaging and contents, found the bottles and now fills the orders and ships them out all by herself. She also prays over each person’s story as she does it. This is what she is all about. Lindsey is a natural gift giver. She loves giving thoughtful gifts. Giving the gift of comfort through Bottle of Tears is her allowing God to use her natural gifting for his bigger Kingdom purposes. Way to go Lindsey. I am so proud of you. I can’t wait to hear how God brings hope to the hurting through these simple gestures of comfort!
Go visit her site and send a bottle to a friend in need: www.bottleoftears.com!
Grace and Peace,Chris Wheeler
Also, you can join her on the facebook page for Bottle of Tears!