This sentiment orbits around me. The childhood trauma of my parents’ divorce acts as its gravitational pull. In the breakup of their marriage, my mom was awarded primary custody of my brother and me, my dad was given significant visitation rights, and nine-year old me inherited this false messaging:
You are disposable!
No one actually said those words to me. But in the upheaval, grieving, and wounding, I was left with this scarring. Like a skillful makeup artist, I learned to hide the bruising. Achievements and accolades were the perfect concealer, and having a boyfriend meant that at least I mattered to someone, even if he didn’t have the capacity to truly see me.
But beneath the homecoming queen crown, the college graduate honors, and the multiple degrees, the fear of being insignificant clung to me. It melded into me. It stayed with me. Even now, we seem inseparable. It speaks to who I am as a wife, as a mom:
You are disposable! You don’t matter!
It wants to be my forever song, the score to my life’s unfolding. It wants to be the lead vocals, and whenever I experience rejection, fear turns up the volume and presses repeat. It gets the spotlight and summons all my attention. Hearing this reverberating bouncing around in the recesses of my being is exhausting. It’s a constant tug-of-war.
You are disposable! You don’t matter! You are insignificant!
Recently, the noise of my fear has been deafening. I have been losing sleep and agonizing over the pain of feeling invisible and invaluable. And yes, I know that God sees me and values me. I don’t struggle with that at all. My strife has been with humans devaluing me. I am deflated when people treat me like I don’t matter. I can tell myself that it shouldn’t matter what people think of me, that I should solely be concerned with how God sees me and knows me, but that doesn’t reconcile the countless times that in someone else’s decision-making process, I’ve been overlooked and felt like an afterthought or a pawn.
The anxiety pushed me to desperation, and I cried out to El Roi — the One who not only sees me but who sees everything. In moments like these, I feel like I shouldn’t need God to affirm me, that mature faith doesn’t need to be coddled. But desperation overrode my ego. In my exhaustion, I was like a toddler crawling into a nurturing lap to be embraced by grace-filled arms.
As I surrendered, my life’s major events unfolded in my mind like a movie recap. But in the re-viewing, I heard a different score of songs. I began to clearly see elements at work that I had not given much attention to before. I grabbed my journal and started writing.
Who saw me when I thought I was invisible?
- During my parents’ divorce, my grandma Pearline made sure I knew I was special to her.
- When my mom remarried and it seemed as though her new husband wanted her without her children, my grandma Virginia brought attention to my loneliness and pain.
- When I needed support along my academic journey, several people played key roles in escorting me from being a first-generation college student to becoming a college professor. It was a series of miracles.
- When I was in situations where someone was taking advantage of me, my husband intervened and shut down the whole operation.
Names and events flowed like a waterfall. I journaled for pages. The list went on and on of how love manifested through people seeing me, hearing me, and valuing me. As I reflected and recorded in my journal, the volume on the old song (which does not bear repeating) began fading to the background. I had given too much attention to my story’s antagonists. I had allowed shadows to consume my life’s stage. I was ready for the protagonist to take its rightful place, front and center. I was now seeing all that had been invisible to me. I was ready to sing a new song:
I matter. I am seen. I am valued. I am heard.
When you feel vulnerable, invisible, or forgotten, remember that God not only sees you, but comes alongside you and cares for you. Matthew 6:26 reminds us,
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
When lies try to deplete you, ask El Roi, the One who sees you, to remind you of your visibility, your value, and your significance. Bring yourself back to truth. You matter. You are seen. You are valued. You are heard. Rehearse truth’s song. Turn up the volume and allow it to refresh you.Leave a Comment