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Seen

There’s a lot of reasons to feel unseen these days. We seem to be living somewhere on the spectrum of disconnect. Somewhere between the various stages of quarantine and the defensive fronts we carefully curate through social media, appearance, and perception management. No matter where on the spectrum one might land, there is a tendency towards isolation. Throw motherhood in there and the feeling of being unseen goes up by a factor of 1 million.

As someone who has been working to dismantle my defensive front, I still find myself feeling unseen. Psalm 34 has become an essential way to encourage myself daily. Verse 15 in particular, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” Every time I feel faded I speak this verse to remind myself that God sees me. Not like a vague awareness sort of seeing, but like full eye contact.

Sometimes I even imagine His line of sight like a beam of light bringing the color back to everything it touches. Until I’m no longer faded, but bright and vivid again. It keeps me going for another day anyway.

The same is true for being heard. His ears are open to me. I’m praying all the time this year, and He is listening to every word. I’m singing alone, but He is tuning in. There are a total of three times that psalm 34 assures me that God hears me (verses 4, 15, 17).

Cinematically speaking, one of my favorite scenes in The Greatest Showman is the debut of the Swedish singer in the New York theatre. Her hair is immaculate, her dress is incredible, she knows how to move with the song and evoke the fullest emotion in the crowd. All the light is on her, all eyes are on her, and she is a smashing success. The camera turns to show the crowd, and you can just make out through the blinding light that they are on their feet and cheering.

Sometimes this Psalm makes me feel like I am that Swedish singer. I may be in semi-derelict athletic wear, with hair that has had no real attention for ten years. I may be alone in the kitchen, singing while I prep dinner. But He is listening, seeing me from His perspective of value and love. And it’s as if there is a mirror reality in which I look as manicured and covered in couture as that singer knowing just how to stand and move, all the light is on me. But this time, if the audience was shown it would show an audience of one. He is clapping and smiling, joy radiating brighter than the show-lights.

There is something about psalm 34 that makes me see the faithfulness of God even in days of lack (vs. 8-9). Even though I’m still waiting for breakthrough I will bless the LORD and worship Him (vs. 1-6, 17). Even though I’m crying out about the same things I cried about last week, He’s not bored, He’s listening all over again (vs. 15, 19-20). Even if I feel surrounded and buffeted on every side. He is surrounding me, closer than any trouble (vs. 7). Even if I feel broken hearted and miserable, the LORD is near and He saves (vs. 18).

It’s all thanks to Jesus. That mirror reality couture dress is actually the righteousness of God, given to me by Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17-21). He bought it for me on Calvary with His blood (Jn. 3:16-17). I know how to move with the song because I am sanctified by the Holy Spirit and His work in my heart (Phil. 2:12-16). I am covered in light because Jesus overcame the world and all its darkness when He rose from the dead on the third day (Jn. 3:20-21, 1 Jn. 1:7-9, 5:1-5).

The reality is, the only reason I’m standing there is because of the work of the Trinity in my life. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are backstage, working hair and makeup, playing the accompaniment in the orchestra pit, paying the bills, working the lights, and all that went into the moment of singing over dinner so He could hear it and be glad.

-Etta Woods

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