May 4, 2011

God Sees

I thought I was finally “strong enough” this year. Out of self-preservation I had intentionally avoided church the past few Mother's Days but the pain was less consuming now and the Lord had worked much healing in my heart. I thought I could finally set aside my pain to selflessly honor my mother-in-law and grandmother by attending with them. Do you notice all those "I" statements there? Here's one more: I was wrong!

When all mothers were asked to stand, I squirmed more deeply into my seat. Six and a half years into this journey, my only claim to the title of motherhood was the early miscarriage of our daughter four years before. I wanted to stand in Noel's honor, but feared doing so might wrongly be interpreted as an announcement and I couldn't bear coping with untangling any such confusion on a day like this.

I tried to smile and find genuine joy, but grief stole in uninvited as the tears silently streamed down my face. I struggled to breathe evenly so as not to make obnoxious sniffling noises that would further shine the spotlight on this barren woman intruding on a Mother's Day service.

I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice. - Psalm 51:17 (The Message)

She slipped up silently as heads were bowed in prayer. She came for a reason and lingered only a moment. She didn't know my story, never asked a word. She may have imagined my tears stemmed from the loss of my mother, an abusive past, unsettled relationships, abortion, hollow womb, empty arms...

It really didn't matter why. The fact was that she noticed my tears and didn't ignore them. Yet in not pretending I was unseen, she was also sensitive enough not to intrude on my grief uninvited.

The pink carnation she gently laid in my lap meant more to me than gold. Her humble gift spoke hope to my heart, the reminder that I have a God Who Sees. The bitter turned to bittersweet, the tears of anguish intermingled with tears of gratitude. I'll never know her name, but I'm forever thankful for her sensitive heart.

She answered God by name, praying to the God who spoke to her, "You're the God who sees me!
"Yes! He saw me; and then I saw him!"
- Genesis 16:13 (The Message)

A dozen years and many life changes later, that dried carnation remains a withered yet beautiful reminder that God never overlooks the details. When I step out in faith to obey Him even in the hardest things, He meets me right where I am. It's not about me or my strength, but rather what God can do through the sacrifice of my brokenness. In my weakness, God's strength more than meets my lack.

[God said,] “My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
- from 2 Corinthians 12:9 (The Message)

Jennifer Saake is the author of Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss and a co-founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries. She loves writing and balks at word count limitations. A wanna-be gardener, Jenni eagerly awaits each spring, optimistically forgetting her lost battle to weeds of the previous summer. Her quest is to find the perfect natural, sugar-free dark chocolate.

Author Website: Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in Infertility & Loss