That moment when you feel all tangled up inside. Happy and sad. How can these two emotions be felt together? Aren’t they opposites?

Yet somehow, we women, experience it often. Happy and sad, together. A swelling, emotional tank full. When a good friend gets married and moves away. Your child graduates high school. Your family feels called to become missionaries.

Many, many times in life our emotions collide. Our tank is splashing around inside, threatening to spill over. Happy to sad and everything in between. How do we sit in a church pew and witness wedding vows and not lose a few tears of joy and sadness? How do we hug our child on graduation day and not hold them extra long not ready to let go yet feeling so proud? How do we face our family and friends with the news of God’s call to the mission field and not feel excited to do His will and yet dreading the far move? The moments when we are tangled, tangled up inside.

How do we breathe? How do we “be strong” with our full tank splashing inside? I used to put a lid on it. Afraid to let anyone see, anyone know. That ended in a disastrous spewing. Then for a season, I would splash my emotion tank all over my husband. Expecting him to understand and provide insight and relief.

But the more I live, the more I see God’s character, His way in us all. Our emotions display our hearts, our minds. Our emotions tell our friend on her wedding day that she is cherished and will be missed. Our emotions tell our child, “Well done and I love you.” Our emotions show that we are surrendered to the Lord, that we are willing to follow Him even if it is painful. Happy, sad and a little of everything in between.

Emotions are like sensors, giving warning or just simply letting us know where we are at. Emotions shouldn’t rule us, but they shouldn’t be ignored either. There is beauty. God has made all things beautiful. Just think of the Psalms–David’s emotions displayed. Meaningful, beautiful.

When your tank is full, when your tank is empty, recognize. Take time to sit, reflect and let God into your heart tank. Let Him sort. Let Him direct your splashing. He knows when and where it’s best to spill. He knows. He cares.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ESV

Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation. ESV

Psalm 31:7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my afflictions; you have known the distress of my soul, ESV