I have spent a lifetime feeling as if I wasn’t enough. I’m not sure I know what “enough” looks like, but I know that I have never felt like I was there.
In my school age years, I made good grades but I wasn’t the valedictorian. I wasn’t musical or athletic or artsy. I certainly was not homecoming queen material. I just kind of made my way through – almost invisible – from one stage of life to the next.
Even those people I believed saw me found me easily forgettable. When I was in high school, my best friend moved away. After a couple “wish you were here” notes, she moved on with new friends and new memories to make. I was happy for her. In fact, I still follow her life on Facebook and adore her. The fact is that my need to be seen was my issue and not hers.
One would think that a girl would grow out of this fear of invisibility. Yet, it comes back at the oddest times. Maybe it’s when I pour my heart out into a blog post and no one comments. Or, sometimes, it’s when I have done ten loads of laundry and no one notices. Then, there are those days when I’m walking around with a kid hanging off of every limb and I’m desperate for someone, just for a moment, to acknowledge the woman behind the mom mask.
Sometimes, after everyone has gone to sleep, I sit alone in the dark and wonder. Does anyone see me?
I had one of those moments just the other night and the Lord brought the strangest passage to my mind – the parable of the lost sheep.
So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. – Luke 15:3-5
I have read this so many times. I get the message – Christ is not going to lose anyone who belongs to him. No one can pluck us from his hand. I think, in the past, I have almost pictured this as one of those field day games from school. You know, the one where you had to make it from point A to point B with an egg on a spoon. You get to the end and you’re like, “Woohoo, I didn’t drop it.” I guess, sometimes, that is how I read this passage. As if, at the end, Christ will be all, “Woohoo, Father, I didn’t lose a one.” Like we are one mass of people that he is just trying to get across the finish line.
That night, however, I read it differently. That one sheep? It mattered to the shepherd. It was one, unique sheep – not just one of a hundred. The shepherd knew that sheep well enough that, one, he knew that it had wandered and, two, he knew where to go looking for it when it did.
Can you imagine looking at a hundred sheep and being able to tell that one is missing and know which one? Sometimes, it takes me a minute to figure out which kid isn’t in the room with me and I only have four. It’s because each of us, individually, is cherished by the God who sees (Genesis 16:13.)
He sees me. And, friend, he sees you.
He sees the extra hours you put in to provide for your family and put food on the table. He sees the late nights and lack of sleep as you rock babies and nurse sick kids. He sees the lonely tears and you are not alone. He sees the dreams you put on hold and the sacrifices you make.
He sees you.
And, when you begin feeling like you are not enough, He is.