When You Feel Invisible - Encouragement for Today - July 26, 2017

Ashlee Gadd

July 26, 2017
When You Feel Invisible

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these stars? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (NIV)

We were six months into parenthood when my father-in-law passed away.

If I close my eyes, I can picture the moment we found out. Five missed calls. My husband stood in the driveway saying, “Don’t say that, don’t say that,” over and over again into the phone.

I knew.

A lump formed in my throat, as I unbuckled our baby boy from his car seat. We were 90 miles away. I remember the sun was shining, even though it shouldn’t have been. I remember standing in the driveway, while my husband and I cried with a baby sandwiched between us. I remember the drive — we stopped for roast beef sandwiches — and I remember walking into my mother-in-law’s house and calmly placing my blue-eyed baby — my only offering, 15 pounds of innocence — in her arms.

It’s a strange thing to experience birth and death so close together. My son’s first year of life will always be marked by the deepest grief our family has ever known. Our whole lives became walking contradictions. One day, the baby giggled at his reflection in the mirror. The next day, we stood in a room full of caskets. How can you be joyful and devastated all at once? When is it okay to laugh? When is it okay to cry?

Ecclesiastes chapter 3 tells us there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens, but how can grief and delight possibly coexist?

My first year of motherhood was entirely consumed by two things: learning to take care of a baby and learning to support my husband through a life-shattering loss. I didn’t know who I was outside of those responsibilities. I tip-toed around my own house, desperate to keep everything and everyone intact. It was just another contradiction: Even though I had a baby glued to my hip, I’d never felt so alone.

“I feel invisible,” I confessed to my husband one night. “I feel like I am trying to be everything to everyone, but nobody is trying to be anything to me.”

“I feel depressed,” he confessed in return. “When my dad died, it’s like a part of me died, too.”

We ping-ponged confessions back and forth that night through tears, until I was struck with a startling realization.

I couldn’t rescue my husband. And he couldn’t rescue me.

We each wanted so desperately to be healed, loved, noticed and understood in that season, but our eyes were turned sideways instead of upward. We were both looking for a Savior, something we would never find in each other.

There is no substitute for Jesus. When we look to a spouse, a friend, a child or an Internet audience for the love, healing and recognition only a Savior can offer, we’ll always, always come up short.

Are you feeling invisible today? Unnoticed and unseen, desperate for someone to meet you exactly where you are?

Take comfort in today’s key verse, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these stars? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)

Whether you’re crying in the bathroom at 7 a.m. or folding the ninth load of laundry at 7 p.m. or rocking your baby at 3 a.m., please rest in this: God sees you, God notices you, God loves you.

Every single minute of every single day, you are fully known and loved by Him. After all, if God calls out every star in the sky by name, how much more must He know and love you?

Lord, thank You for seeing me when I feel invisible and for loving me when I’m broken. Please keep my eyes upward, on You, and remind me that I am forever and always Your child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 139:1-2, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” (NIV)

Psalm 139:7-10, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (NIV)

So much of motherhood is invisible work, but that doesn’t make it any less holy. Need a reminder of this truth? Check out The Magic of Motherhood, a collection of heartwarming essays about love, joy and the sacred work of raising children.

Enter to WIN a copy of The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd. In celebration of this book, Zondervan is giving away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, July 31, 2017.}

When was the last time you felt invisible? Who did you look to in order to make yourself seen?

© 2017 by Ashlee Gadd. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan, a division of HarerCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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Originally published Wednesday, 26 July 2017.