I might wish for some things in my life, but I could not want for more. I am well cared for. I am fed, clothed, housed, encouraged, loved, enjoyed, celebrated and heard when I need to be. I really could not want for more…but sometimes, if I am really honest, I do want for different things. Not more…because I have been given so much and my life and heart are full….but sometimes I want for different. Have you ever wished for something different?
My friend Tracey is married. She is blessed with the best of the best kind of husbands and we are close. She is the kind of woman who helps me see who I really want to be as I grow up. I love both her and her husband. They wrap me up in love and I am beyond grateful. I am single, yet they love me and have become family. I sometimes think I would really love to be married to that kind of man. (Gary may be humbly blushing right now). I see what Tracey has as a woman of God in her marriage. They are growing together in Christ. They have their days of disagreement and irritability, I am sure, but they are journeying together and they are a blessing to one another. They encourage one another and they laugh together and they cry together. They see each other and witness each other’s lives from day to day. We all need that, right?
When the Lord sent me my daughter 13 years ago, I had no idea what a bundle of life lessons she would be. She came to me as a teenager who really needed love and I was a single woman who lived alone for a long while prior to her. I had learned to live with less of that. I had to adjust to having daily interaction with someone. I have never been married, so having a young adult move into my home at age 17 really challenged my world. I had to make decisions that placed someone else before me. I was not selfish, but I had become self-centered in the way I lived. Even my choices to serve others were scheduled only according to my convenience without the need to consult anyone but the organizer of the program I was serving in that day and my dogs who needed to be fed.
As I look back on my journey together with my daughter now, in preparation for her soon getting married, I recognize the gifts she has given that she never really intended to give me…the ones I will never be able to repay her for. I have mattered to her on a very deep and personal and daily level. I had never really had that before in my adult life. I mean, as a kid, my family noticed me and I mattered. They knew when I came and went and when I was late. It mattered to them and I had an impact on their personal lives. When I became a journeying single adult, I lived on my own and did not have anyone but my dog who wondered where I was in the evening if I was late.
When my daughter came, she needed me to be focused on her. She cared about my coming and going. She was intimately interested in my days and what I did or what upset me. She was deeply interested in the way I was deeply interested in her life and day to day experiences. We witnessed each other’s lives.
In the movie, “Shall We Dance,” with Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon, there is a line that captured my heart during the 2014 Women’s Deepening Weekend with Zoweh Ministries. It went loosely like this: (wife, Susan Sarandon, struggling in her marriage but hoping for the best) asks:
“Do you know why people get married? Because they want a witness to their lives.”
That line made me feel the worth of my daughter and the experience I have had with her in my home from young adulthood to her adulthood so far. She has witnessed my life. She has gifted me with purpose and value in ways I have never experienced.
Single people often feel that void very deeply. Who notices when they are home late? Who notices when they are sick? Who cares for them and all those other dependents in their home when they are sick, such as animals and children? Who sees them? Who cares? Who wonders how their day was? Who would notice if they were not out and about if they did not send out social media notification for themselves? Who notices if they disappear for a day or two?
Well, I am wondering about that adjustment back into being single and on my own again when my daughter marries. While I cannot see or say that all of those voids will be filled, I can tell you this: The Lord SEES me. He sees the real me from the intense joy to the deep despair. He sees the hurt and the celebrations. The Lord is with me. He notices. He cares. He puts others in my path to move me and to reach in and witness parts of my life. HE witnesses ALL of it AND it MATTERS to HIM.
God is El Roi: The God who SEES me.
Hannah was at her darkest moments in the desert and the Lord visited with her and showed her she was significant. I loved reading in Genesis how God saw her and acknowledged her in her pain.
Genesis 16:7-13 it shows us God SEES us in our desperate places:
“The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” The angel of the Lord also said to her: You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi…”
JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH-The Lord is present. When the Lord was building a new place for His people and had given instructions as to how to build it and portion it out, the city was named. Jehovah-Shammah. The Lord is present. In my heart and my body, the Lord resides. I have a witness to my life. Jehovah-Shammah: The Lord is present. Every moment of my life and my life in its totality is HIS. He is there. He witnesses my life. He makes it count and valuable and HE SEES YOU AND IS PRESENT WITH YOU AS WELL. Single or married, YOU matter to HIM.
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