On the Side: March 2023
Audience of One
by Laura Thomas
It has been said that all the world is a stage, and the people are mere players. If that is true, then sometimes I feel like a supporting character in my own life. My husband’s career has been center-stage for so long, I can’t remember a time when our life didn’t somehow revolve around it. It determined where we lived, and how long. It determined when dinner was, and when we could go on vacation. It was the reason we moved away from home, and the reason we moved again, and again, and again. And I have been the one making sure all the endless “little things” got done along the way. I am pushing the plot of our lives along—but standing outside the spotlight.
Working in the wings, it is easy to feel unseen. Friends and family are wrapped up in their own lives and our (usually overworked) husbands are often too tired and distracted to give us the attention and validation we crave. It is so easy to feel hopeless or get angry and resentful. I know, I’ve been there. I have worn a rut down those dark roads.
But I have to remind myself that my God is a God who sees. He sees me—and He sees you.
In Genesis 16:13, Hagar gives God that name: El Roi, “the God who sees me.” She was in the wilderness feeling very much alone and mistreated when God came to her and comforted her. Although we are not in the exact same position as Hagar, we too can feel lost in the wilderness of a lonely life. In those times we can be assured that God sees us, and He will meet us right where we are. Not because we are perfect people (Hagar was far from perfect), but because He is loving.
And because He loves us, He watches us. In 1 Timothy 5:25, we are assured that all those unseen things we do for our loved ones are not unnoticed by God: “…the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light” (NLT). We often think of this verse as giving to the poor or some act of charity for the world, but our most important ministry is really to our families. The Lord sees you reading books to your kids, He sees you doing the dishes (for the millionth time). He sees you getting dinner on the table for your weary husband (when you’re weary too and a bowl of cereal in front of the TV would have worked just fine for you). Those are “good deeds done in secret:” giving of yourself, your time, your abilities. And all while the people we do them for don’t seem to notice.
But God does notice. God sees our worth, even when no one else does. In Proverbs 31:10, a virtuous and capable wife is called “more precious than rubies.” That’s YOU! You are worth more than your weight in gemstones. Virtue isn’t about being perfect, but it’s about striving toward the goals of faith, generosity, love, wisdom and diligence. We’re going to stumble and fall sometimes, but God sees our efforts and is cheering for us!
Yet, hard days come when we are just emotionally and physically worn down. On those hard days, it is comforting to remember Psalm 56:8, when David describes how God is so close to the point where He sees each and every tear: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (NLT). God is close enough to collect your tears, caring enough to keep track of your sorrows. He is not only the God who sees, but also Emmanuel, God WITH us. We can cry out to Him for help and comfort, for strength and perseverance. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…” (1 Peter 3:12, NIV).
When I am feeling like I am standing in the shadows, I have to stop myself from reciting that old script. It tells me I’m just a supporting character, unimportant and unseen. I have to remember who the Lord says I am: seen and highly valuable. I have to stay close to Him, my Director. He sees me. He values me. He knows how important my role truly is. And He is right here and waiting to give me every strength I need even when I am completely drained. His Word is the script I need to read, the advice I can rely on.
You are not an “extra” to God. His eyes are trained on you. You are in His spotlight, and He is your number one fan. I pray that you feel His love for you today and every day.
Laura is a mom of three and wife of a pulmonary/intensivist in Palm Desert, California. She feels privileged to have had Side By Side and its amazing women in her life for close to 17 years now, and she is so thankful for the encouragement throughout her journey.