DO YOU SEE ME?

Have you ever felt completely invisible? Or maybe sometimes you’ve even WISHED you could be invisible! I suppose there could be advantages, like when you want to hear what your friends and family are REALLY saying about you! Or like when you want to sneak through a crowd without having everyone stop you to ask, “How are you doing?” That’s probably a more realistic application for a widow who truly doesn’t know how to answer that question. She puts on a smile and straightens her shoulders and walks through the people, shaking hands and say, “Just fine. Thank-you for asking!” (Inside her head she may want to scream, “How do you THINK I’m doing?”)

For many of us, it feels as though when our husband died, we truly DID become invisible! Dave was so very public and visible here in Omaha, that people mostly saw him. When he was gone, it sometimes felt like they no longer saw me at all. We’ve talked in other posts about the fact that widows typically lose 75%-80% of their relationships. It’s all part of becoming invisible. The months go by, and it seems as though we’re forgotten even by people who should remember!

Sometimes our hearts are crying inside when we go to church alone, sit alone, and worship alone. We look fine on the outside, but our hearts are saying, “Does anyone notice that I’m hurting?” “Does anyone see the real me, the one who weeps in the dark night?” “Does anyone see inside the cleaned up, dressed up lovely actress that I’ve become?” “Does anyone even notice that I’m here today?”

God has put a deep need in us to know and be known. When our husband dies, a shell closes around the empty hole in our heart where he used to reside, and it becomes difficult to feel “known” or “seen” any longer.

In her book, “The Grieving Mind”, Mary Frances O’Connor explains this need for closeness and what it looks like on brain scans. While we always maintain a sense of “self”, our brain maps the dimension of closeness as to how much our spousal “other” has grown to overlap our area of “self”. When the Bible speaks of two becoming one, brain scans can now show us what that looks like in our brain activity! When our spouse dies, there is literally a gap in our brain where they used to exist, overlapping my sense of “self”. Suddenly I don’t “know” like I used to, and I no longer am “known” like I used to be. How fascinating!

The good news is that God always sees us. One of His names is El Roi, “The God Who Sees”. We only see this name for God used in one place in the Bible. In Genesis 16, we find Hagar having run away from Abraham and Sarah, finding herself under a bush in the desert with her son, Ishmael. God speaks to her and makes some very powerful promises to her and her son. Her response is to say, “You are the God who really sees me!” When we, like Hagar, feel the most invisible and forgotten, we can rest in the knowledge that God is the One who truly sees us.

We’ve talked at various times about journaling and writing our story. Now is the time to go back and read those things you have written. Remind yourself of all that God has done to show you He truly does see you. He has seen and provided for your needs every single day since you became a widow. And because it is impossible for Him to change, He will continue to see you and provide for you throughout your future days. Every. Single. Day.

In “Jesus Calling”, January 14th, Sarah Young says: “It is easy to touch up your outward appearance, to look as if you have it all together. Your attempts to look good can fool most people. But I (Jesus) see straight through you, into the depths of your being. There is no place for pretense in your relationship with Me. Rejoice in the relief of being fully understood. Talk with Me about your struggles and feelings of inadequacy.”

Hebrews 13:5 says: “…for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] Amplified Bible

This God who promises never to relax His grip on us, or let us fall, surely sees us even when it seems as though no one else does. When it seems that no one remembers you, God does. You are written on the palm of His hand, dear one, and He sees every desire of your heart. May this bring comfort to your heart and help to heal the loneliness. You are never truly alone.

Your comments are welcome. Please feel to share this with others you know, or you can email me at sheryl@freshhope.us

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