“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.’” (Genesis 16:13, NIV)
I grew up believing I only mattered when I was “seen.” I felt most loved when I was “good.” There was no room for failure in my relentless pursuit of perfection.
Honestly? For 20-something years, it kinda worked. I checked off the boxes of desires for my life one by one. My carefully constructed plans that were held up by a strong work ethic and determination to succeed led me to my “dream come true” scenario. I now understand that my circumstances were actually the result of God’s undeserved grace, not my efforts at all.
Then, I entered the season of motherhood, and the false sense of control I thought I had over my life crumbled around me in an instant, leaving me disoriented and floundering. Suddenly, my entire existence shifted to keeping another human safe, fed, clothed, clean, and entertained 24/7. There was no clocking out; a constant requirement of selfless giving to another fragile being. The Holy Spirit revealed my idol of affirmation by placing me in circumstances where I received none from the tiny person I was emptying myself for. While feeling “stuck” in the unseen, I learned the truth that I am seen by the only One whose gaze is worth craving in the first place—El Roi—”the God who sees me” (Gen. 16:13 NIV). Just as the Lord found Hagar in the literal desert, he found me in the wasteland of lonely motherhood.
In raising children, there are no trophies to win; only souls to shepherd towards the Good Shepherd himself. Our success in motherhood is not based on how “well” we do in parenting or who our children grow up to be. It’s not found in “having it all together” or curating pseudo-perfect families. It’s not even feeling appreciated, loved, or “seen” enough by those we serve. In contrast, success is living from the victory given to us by the One who sees every sleepless night, bathtub blowout cleaned, and silly song that is sung when no one else is listening. And it is believing that the God who sees all is worth giving our all for—not to earn His favor, but from a place of rest in how deeply, fully loved we already are.
As we serve our families, may we be committed to faithfulness over fame; and heavenly rewards over earthly recognition. May we keep our eyes solely fixed on Christ, and our focus on glorifying His name above all else. In this way, we will be fulfilled in motherhood, regardless of our outward experience of visibility, for we are seen indeed.