Originally published Wednesday, 23 January 2013.
Hagar called Him, "The God who sees."
He really saw her. He knew she was a slave obtained in Egypt. A by-product of Abram's lies to Pharaoh about his "sister" Sarai. A slave given to her master to bed. Now pregnant, bitter, lonely, hated, cast aside, running.
And He saw so much more. Every thought, sin, circumstance, hope, fear, desire, despair.
Hagar felt deeply known by this God who met her, not on the mountain top, in a moment of great triumph or success. He met her in a time of loneliness, solitary motherhood in the desert. And she felt so deeply known, so truly seen in her soul, that she named him "The God who sees."
This frightens me. And thrills.
I never say it out loud. I never even admit it clearly. But when I wiggle deep down, what I know I believe is this: the more people really see me, the less they will love me.
To love me is conditional.
I don't get why those closest to me love me. There has to be a reason. Love can be earned and lost. Every fault of mine is a reason for you to walk away. Every accomplishment, admirable quality, a reason for you to stay.
I fight these lies, the training of my youth.
I shrug them off, battle them from within. But they resurface when I'm at my worst. When I haven't earned love in a while. When I haven't been pretty or fashionable or talented or amusing in a little too long. The questions creep back.
What happens when they see you?
When they see your failings and faults? When they remember where you came from? All the sins you've waded through? Your lack of higher education? Of Christian upbringing? Of domestic or professional skills? Of so very much?
What happens when they really see you?
Right now, I'm not on some mountain top, fresh from a victory.
I'm not at my most beautiful, most accomplished, most exciting or interesting.
I work, clean, fold, dust, sweep, scrub, live most days alone. In my solitary, stay-at-home, ordinary motherhood. Home alone with my tiny one.
I carry extra pounds and extra baggage. With a life of sin and strife behind and before. Blemishes and bruises on my heart. Rife with imperfections.
In this boring, glamour-less, uninspiring state,...
I am beautifully, unbelievably, unconditionally loved by "The God who sees."
I'm so thankful for Hagar.
So thankful she was such a hot freakin' mess.
Her wretched desert dash, running from sin & strife. To be met by the Maker of all in such a state, lacking so very much. Rife with imperfections.
I can relate. Hot mess that I am.
She inspires me to shed the lies of conditional love. Like an itchy, constraining skin, falling dusty to the ground.
In its place, I let my fresh, sensitive, true self emerge. Pink and tight and tender out in the open air.
I pray to yearn less and less for earned affections. To stop striving for perfect outsides that will inspire the admiration and desire of others.
I pray for the courage to accept myself. To live life scarred, scabbed, pink, tight, tender, new. To be truly known. Allow myself to be deeply loved. By my husband who sees. And my child who sees. And my family that sees. And my Christian sisters that see.
Ugly as my insides may be, they are accepted & loved.
Most profoundly by "The God who sees."
And out of gratitude for this deep acceptance and love, how can I do anything but respond as Hagar did?
In faith and obedience.