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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How To Become Invisible

How many times have you wished you were invisible? The time the elastic in the waistband of my slip decided it was never going to work for me again stands out in my memory. Or the time I was singing at a friend's wedding and forgot the words. I've wished the floor would swallow me more times than I can count.

But how about the times you've bent over backward, knocking yourself out for the people most important to you? What about the days you've neglected to do what you wanted to do and did without something you desired so you could meet the needs of your family? Did they notice? Not likely. When was the last time your spouse or your children showed their gratitude for clean laundry in their closet or a nice meal on the table? Feel invisible?

I watched a Youtube video recently by a motivational speaker. What she said really opened my eyes. Watch and listen for yourself:


There have been numerous times in my life when I felt invisible. Most of those times, I whined to God about it, complaining that I was unappreciated, and stupid for allowing people to take advantage of me. "Doormat" was my middle name. The people I loved the most were the worst offenders. I grumbled under my breath, muttering that these people wouldn't be able to function if it weren't for me.

When the threads of my life began to form what I saw as a hopelessly tangled mess, I accused myself of not doing my job as wife and mother properly. I pointed the same blame at myself that I'd leveled at my family--if it weren't for me. . .

If it weren't for me failing as a wife, maybe my husband wouldn't have lost his job or maybe we wouldn't have had that arguement. If it weren't for me failing as a mother, maybe my son wouldn't have strayed from God. If it weren't for me failing as a Christian, maybe a particular friendship wouldn't have crumbled.

When my son, Jonathan, got sick and I became his caregiver, I accused myself almost daily. I wasn't just his caregiver, I was his mother. I was supposed to be able to fix him, but I couldn't. There were many days that I felt invisible and ineffective in the face of his disease. I didn't care what the statistics were, I didn't care what the doctors told us, I should have been able to do something to turn around this evil monster called cancer.

It wasn't until I spent an agonizing night of crisis at Jonathan's bedside that God explained something to me. His finger pressed squarely in the middle of my heart as He pointed out to me that I must think a great deal of myself if I thought I could change the course of my son's illness by being some kind of super-mom. I was taking on burdens that weren't mine to carry, and my knees were buckling under the load. But like any good mother, I took a deep breath and pushed on, determined that my efforts, my care, my hands, my sleepless nights, my sacrifice would culminate in my son's healing.

But that one sleepless night at my son's bedside swept the scales away from my eyes, and I saw that my hands were broken, my efforts were impotent, and my sacrifice was dust. This wasn't about me, and it wasn't even about my son. This was about God and the way He carried and comforted me, about the way He worked in me, for me, and through me. It was about His masterpiece: the breathtaking beauty of a heart that God has reclaimed for His kingdom. God took all the prayers, all the tears, and all the little invisible things I did, and sprinkled them over Jonathan's heart. Then He scooped up the prayers of hundreds of other people and layered them around Jonathan like bubble wrap. Finally, he nudged the servant's heart of one man whom He used to speak the words to which Jonathan listened. If any of those ingredients had been missing, the end result might have been different. When God revealed this truth to my heart, I was so grateful that He allowed me to perform all those little invisible tasks. In the end, God was glorified.

In our humanness, we sometimes complain that nobody appreciates all we do, who we are, or our importance in the grand scheme of things. It's not until we put everthing in the right order and see ourselves as God sees us, that we understand the priority. The role of a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, neighbor, coworker, or church member is not given to us so we can be put on a pedestal. The speaker in the Youtube video makes an enlightening point. If you do your job right, nobody will notice except God, and He's the only One who matters.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.


1 comment:

Linda said...

My husband's favoarite line is, "What am I? Chopped liver?"

We all feel invisible sometimes.

Thanks for sharing.