I sit down with a plan to write, but most days I don’t have the energy to recount the day’s memories or retell what we’re in the midst of because that requires reliving it. And right now, living it is hard enough.

I don’t want pity or sympathy, but I refuse to sugarcoat it.

The last two weeks of January were the hardest, most draining and tear-filled days of my life.

Sad. Exhausted. Confused. Tender. Annoyed. Hopeless. I’m in a chapter that seems to be never-ending. I keep waiting for the hero to show up, swoop in and rescue us. All of us.

Instead, I hear two distinct, high-pitched voices screaming, “MOMMMYYYY! DADDDDYYYYY! IT’S MORNING TIME! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!” I hear four little feet running around and watch as M stands on her tippy-toes to turn on the kitchen light.

So we do what we always do; E and me, together. We rise, we care, we love, and we give. We give every ounce of love we possibly have and they take every ounce of patience in these bones. We also argue, snap, and shout “NO!” more than I’d like to admit.

I drop off the twins to preschool and rush into work. As I do it all, I think of the ease mornings used to have. I think about how much I miss going for a run, eating a meal before it gets cold, and quiet. Oh, how I miss quiet. Before I go too far down that rabbit trail, I remind myself of all the good, amazing gifts that come with parenting two, beautiful children. Because they aren’t “ours,” I cry and assure myself that it’s all still worth it. I sit with the tension of knowing there’s nothing I’d rather be doing (except for the list of a million things that would be easier) and how desperate I am for a break. I wrestle with scripture and the belief that to lose your life is to gain it. I’ve lost my life, God. Where are you? What am I gaining? So I try to focus on the positive and swallow down my anger.

The struggle isn’t so much that I’m angry. Anger isn’t a bad emotion, but I do believe it’s one to pay close attention to.

Not too long ago my Pastor, Jeanne Stevens, and I were chatting about how I was doing and I told her I was doing well, except that I was having hand tremors. Even the way I casually mentioned it showed how little concern I had. But not Jeanne. She said, “Amanda, the mind can lie. But your body, the physical, it never lies. It doesn’t know how to lie. So those tremors you’re experiencing… I would pay attention to whatever your body is trying to tell you.”

I walked away from that conversation thinking about how good I’ve gotten at writing off my body’s signals, especially the ones screaming STOP! SLOW DOWN! REST! HELP ME!

After several days of trying to pinpoint who, what, or why I’m so angry with no success, I settled on one confession: I feel unseen.

It wasn’t easy to open up and admit it. My defenses rise, reminding me that I don’t need to be seen by anybody. I’ve got this. I’m better than that.

Who am I kidding? I’m no superwoman – we are all born with a desire to be seen, known, and loved. I’m no exception.

Living in a state of constant anger isn’t what God wants for me, nor is it sustainable, so I reached out to my counselor and scheduled a session. It’s unlikely that I’ll get answers right away, but I’m expecting God to reveal some of my junk… and that’s a good place to start.

Scrolling back in my messages with my husband from earlier in the week, there’s one text I sent him which, reading it again just now made me feel needy and selfish, but after talking with one of my newer friends who also chose the path less-traveled toward motherhood, I know I’m not alone. It’s the disheartening truth.

“Without social media, very few people seek to stay up to date on life. Nobody picks up the phone to call. Rarely does anyone send a simple card in the mail, or flowers. I became a brand new mom… to three-year-old twins… just a couple of months ago. I feel like hardly anyone is walking with me in this. I feel like no one sees me.”

I got to thinking about all of the friends I’ve let down; those I haven’t been intentional with or called to check up on when they entered a time of transition. Those who have taken on a new job, gone through a break-up, relapsed in deep depression, entered a new relationship, lost a job, miscarried… you name it, there’s probably a friend walking through it as I type these words. Someone who feels unseen, just like me.

My hope since the very beginning of our foster care journey has been to provide a filterless window so that someone might take action to the call on their life, or so people could have a realistic picture of what they’re getting into if they decide to go this route. However, no matter how open I am willing to be or how much I’m allowed to share, it won’t accurately depict this ridiculous emotional roller-coaster. You really don’t understand unless you’ve been smack dab in the middle of it yourself.

I deleted all of my social media apps two months ago so that I could have really vivid memories with the girls and because I knew I couldn’t juggle another ball in the air. Something had to give and social media was the obvious choice to be cut out first.

To my surprise, I haven’t missed it.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not seeing what everyone else is doing and I certainly don’t need to be perusing online or sharing my own daily snapshots when I can’t even find the time to crack open my Bible, call a friend, take a yoga class, or talk with God.

Over these last two months without Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, I’ve missed – even grieved – feeling seen by my tribe.

I’ve felt so disconnected from friends who I didn’t realize were really only close through convenience.

I’ve wondered, while swapping clean clothes out for wet ones in the dryer, if anyone thinks of me.

As I watch the girls hit new milestones and become more like me, I’ve thought about how much I wish everyone could see how incredible our attachment has been.

When N is waking up sick in the middle of the night, I long for gratitude from the woman who birthed her.

In the middle of the grocery store, when M is throwing a tantrum, I ache desperately for someone to reach out and say, “You’re doing a good job. I see you. You’re not alone.”

When I bump into someone, I desire to be real and transparent, but there’s no point in getting past the surface because an hour could only cover the half of it.

So, I go on. Hidden, knee-deep in my own story.

We weren’t created to be in hiding.

We were created to be seen and to see others. It’s in our God-given DNA. And I think most of us know this, otherwise we wouldn’t have an interest in friendship, community, or social media. We enjoy being heard, being known, and being with others. Being seen is a gift; one that many of us open every chance we get.

It wasn’t until I picked up a book that had been lying on my desk untouched since September, Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed, that I discovered something so life-altering, which flipped my perspective and changed my trajectory.

I discovered that hiddenness could be just as much a gift as being seen.

Upon finishing her book, I scoured the internet to find Sara Hagerty’s email address and sent her a note of gratitude.

In Unseen, Sara wrote about seasons of feeling unnoticed and unappreciated and asks the question: how do we find contentment when we feel so hidden, so unseen?

She suggests that this is exactly what God intended.

While everything in our culture is documented, shared, liked (or not), it’s difficult to determine what really matters or what’s a big waste, if anything at all. Sara shares that what is hidden, unseen, and intangible is beautiful waste at Jesus’ feet. Only when we give all of ourselves to God—unedited, abandoned, apparently wasteful in its lack of productivity—can we live out who God created us to be.

We may be “wasting” ourselves in a hidden corner today: The cubicle on the fourth floor. The hospital bedside of an elderly parent. The laundry room. But these are the places God uses to meet us with a radical love. These are the places that produce the kind of unhinged love in us that gives everything at His feet, whether or not anyone else ever proclaims our name, whether or not anyone else ever sees.

God’s invitation is not just for a season or a day. It is the question of our lives: “When no one else applauds you, when it makes no sense, when you see no results—will you waste your love on Me?”

She so beautifully put to words how I’d been feeling and the ways in which I’d been suffering throughout my hiddenness.

As a result, I began tapping into the gift of being hidden and seen by God alone.

I began talking with Him through every little part of my day. While loading the dishwasher, changing N when she pees her pants, holding M when she throws a fit, wiping down the table for the seventh time before noon, and discussing this week’s grocery list with E.

I began allowing myself to be thirsty for Him and sit in my weakness instead of numbing or distracting myself in times of need.

I began going to bed with nothing crossed off my to-do list and no Insta-worthy pictures taken (essentially nothing to show for myself or prove anything), yet praising Him, genuinely, for a day well-spent.

I began feeling a peace about laying aside my book project in this season, saying no to another ministry opportunity, and even letting someone believe what they wanted to believe about me instead of rushing to defend myself.

Finally, I began desiring God in way that I haven’t in quite awhile. Like a dear friend, I wanted more time with Him. It comes from pure desire, rather than discipline or obligation.

In a state of being so under the radar and off the grid, it’s true – I’ve never felt more seen and known by God, my husband, my mom, and two close friends who see me regularly in sweatpants, with greasy hair, exhausted and needy.

You are seen. Whenever you feel otherwise, tap into the gifts of being hidden.

As lovers of Christ, we were born to be His showpiece. On display and in secret.

Both are equally significant.

Click here to purchase the book referenced in this post: Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed by Sara Hagerty.

You May Also Like

29 comments

Reply

It is 2am here in Phoenix, AZ. I should be in bed already but I stayed up late doing a few things, unimportant things in the whole scheme of life and what you are dealing with, but the ‘things’ that make up life. You popped into my mind, as you do so often, more often than you know. I check your Instagram, to see if you have posted or if you stayed true to your word of deleting your social apps in December. You did. And I was inspired and proud of you.. I visited your blog, and found this, your latest post… published just hours ago. I must have ‘felt’ you hit publish. And I read…to listen, learn, understand and SEE you – and be some kind of witness to this incredibly brave and difficult path you have chosen. Ultimately, we both (all) know it is the path you are meant to be on and yet that doesn’t make it any easier. I cannot begin to understand what you are going through. I have never been a mother, a foster parent and was a part-time ‘stepmother’ of sorts at best, for a short while in my 20s and again in my 30s. Absolutely nothing compared to this. And yet, this is the path you have chosen, or perhaps was chosen for you. To live your calling, to deepen your relationship with God and yes, to listen to your body. I found my own caretaking self wanting to text you (at 2am! I didn’t) to let you know that I see you, and I think of you often, and I wonder how you are doing, coping, and if you need anyone to talk to or even just share or download on. But then I remember I don’t really know you that well, and we met through business. And yet, I really feel like I know you on a whole other level that doesn’t make logical sense. I want you to know that even if you feel exhausted, cranky with greasy hair and frayed nerves, that I still think of you often as a beautiful and inspiring light in the world. I devoured every word in your post, your honesty, your vulnerability, your courage and self-challenging approach to life… You may not feel like it today, or any day lately, you may not feel like it tomorrow, but you, your words, who you are being in the world, the love and care you give those girls, and E, are words that will reach more people, touch more hearts and tug deeply at more souls than you can possibly imagine. I don’t know if you noticed that sign in Target behind the girls in that photo that says “Expect More Than Ever Before” – that jumped out at me… and I may not know much, but I do feel that more of what you deeply, truly want is already in the making and on its way to you. Thank you for sharing. Sending you hugs and love, and a good dose of strength and courage to keep you going! – Julie xxoo

PS. If I may leave you with a favorite quote that just sprung to mind “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because you’re having it right now:” –Eckhart Tolle

Reply

Julie,

I love how we crossed paths, quite oddly, in life. Boy am I grateful 🙂

Thank you for all that you said. You’re such a cheerleader and a light!

PS. I did not notice the sign in Target till you pointed it out, but I love that it caught your eye and I believe every bit of what you said to be true.

We need to get together again someday!

Reply

Thank you for this. Very much needed ❤️

Reply

Glad you stopped by and read this post, Ashley! You are SEEN, cherished, adored, known, and best of all – loved.

Reply

I know you’re not looking for verification, but I’ll have you know that I think about you a lot and how much I miss your posts and life updates! Getting your email in my inbox this morning immediately put a smile on my face. Thank you for being you and sharing your life with others!

Reply

Caelyn, thank you so much! You don’t know how much joy it brings me to hear that my email popping up in your inbox put a smile on your face. So cool – I’m really humbled and honored. Thanks for dropping by 🙂

Reply

I just want to say your “presence” on instagram is so missed. You come to my mind off and on and I wonder how you are doing. I always love reading your writings and am always so blessed by them. You may feel unseen but you are not forgotten! I love what you are doing for these girls! Your actions speak so loud with love. Keep up the good work and keep obeying the prompts the Spirit is giving you. You are amazing! Glad to be able to still hear from you through your beautiful blog!😘

Reply

Thanks so much, Jamie! I miss being able to keep up with friends, and strangers who feel like friends, but I’ll be back on soon. Just in shorter, smaller doses 🙂

Reply

This is just what I needed to read today. ❤️

Reply

🙂 You are SEEN and VALUED and APPRECIATED, mama. Hope you, Brax, and your cute little lady are doing well! XO

Reply

yes to all of this! In my years as a single mom I’ve for sure struggled with feeling unseen. I often thought of you and have prayed for you in the last few months. Praying that you’ll find God even closer in those unseen moments.

Reply

Thanks, Angela. I can only imagine the feelings of single parent. So much respect for you, friend! I hope you feel really SEEN and CHEERED ON – because you are!

Reply

Hi Amanda,
I was at Bpresent yesterday enjoying a great work out and I started thinking about all of the wonderful barre tenders who have come and gone. I thought of you and then I thought … I have not seen any FB posts or blog posts from you in ages! So weird how that happens and then today of all days I see your post! Motherhood sure is a lonely time. I’m 47 years old and have almost all teenagers now and I still crave that reassuring nod.

M and N are so lucky to have you and Eric in their lives. Good luck to you and the girls. We miss you at BPresent and at the corner of Colfax and Sunnyside.

XO,
Laurel O’Shaughnessy

Reply

Ha! Impeccable timing (perhaps a God wink!) to stumble across my post after thinking of me during your workout at B Present, Laurel! Goodness, I miss that place and how in-shape I was! Thanks for affirming my feelings and taking the time to drop a comment after you read this post. Means a lot. I hope you and the family are doing well. Let me know if you’re ever going to be in Chicago and want to grab a meal together 🙂

Reply

From one momma to another, you inspire me. Thank you for sharing a little bit of yourself today. I see you, I respect you, and I pray for you often. Lots of love to you!

Reply

Johanna, thank you so much. I hope you, your hubby, and your little sweet pea are doing well 🙂 Love to you!

Reply

Amanda,

God is so good and His blessings are new every morning. Praising Him with you! Thank you for sharing this post, kindred friend. You’ve been on my heart and I’m so glad your birthday gift surfaced at the right time. God is so good at providing and giving us a spirit of praise in the mundane and humbling us as we desire recognition- only to know and find that He’s been watching A L L along. This book ministered to me so much and I’m thankful for the work God is doing in and through you. I’m still enjoying my media fast too and not missing it. 😉 My church has been advocating for Safe Familes and I couldn’t help but think of you and E and many people in the body of Christ – Being His Hands, His feet. Soul sister, I’m praying for you! ❤️ There’s so much I wish to share with you., but just know you’re being a difference maker, seen, known and loved. Xo

Reply

Amanda – I meant to send you a personal message of gratitude once I finished Unseen, but it totally slipped my mind, so I apologize! THANK YOU SO MUCH for that birthday package and especially that book. It was such a timely read. 🙂 Thanks for being you. Hugs.

Reply

Tonight I was talking with my husband about life and the people who have left impressions on us and I thought of you! (In a non-creepy way I assure you. Haha) I have been in and out of transition for what feels like unending YEARS and I always enjoyed the glimpses of life and realness you shared. It was in those moments that I could breathe and know that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. From the stranger who misses your little piece of the internet, you are thought of and so admired ❤️

Reply

That’s really sweet, Kayley! Thank you for sharing 🙂

Reply

“I began allowing myself to be thirsty for Him and sit in my weakness instead of numbing or distracting myself in times of need.” <—- this is exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you for sharing ❤️
I have missed reading your encouragement on Instagram but so glad you can be full present with your family 😊

Reply

Thanks, Nyasia, I’m so glad! Binging on a package of Oreos and watching Netflix every night was not only unhealthy for me physically, but it was a distraction and way to avoid sitting and facing my neediness. I hope you allow The Lord to quench your thirst, too. We’ll find nothing more satisfying!

Reply

I don’t really know you… but i know I know who you are. You don’t really know me… but you know who i am. Haven’t ever really been able to put a finger on it, but it’s a very real thing.

Reading this… was an honor. And here’s why.

The courage that it took to write the first half… i could feel it. It’s very hard to be really really honest when you are having a hard time. And you were. Our human nature doesn’t want to be exposed as vulnerable… not unless we have a solution waiting in the wings to justify our weakness. And i didn’t feel like you already had the solution when you started writing. But here’s why it was an honor. As you wrote, as you toiled. As you wrestled with God, He revealed Himself a little more to you. But you KNEW He would. Even in despair… exhaustion… anxiety… the feeling of being unseen… you know He’s there. To me, it’s a bigger claim to achievement than you may have even realized. It’s harder to KNOW that He’s there ALL the time than it is to fully submit to the trials that He’s using to strengthen you.

Not sure if I’m making any sense but I’ll leave you with something else that’s on my heart for you. Start posting again. Not for your validation but to begin to release a little bit at a time. In a healthy way. Don’t rely on social for an identity. Don’t take much from it. Don’t curate it. Be as raw as you were in this blog. People need someone with your eloquence and courage to let them know that THEY, in fact, are seen. You have a gift and bottling up a gift sometimes backfires on us. I know from experience. Unleash it.

I’ll be praying for you. That’s a promise!

Reply

Wow, thank you so much Joel! I appreciate everything you shared. I’m glad to be in community at Soul City with you! I’m sure we’ll get to know each other more as time goes on 🙂 Thank you for the prayers & for encouraging me to unleash my gift. Means a ton.

Reply

This was beautiful to read. I can relate to feeling Unseen. I too am at a time in my life where I feel the need to be seen has consumed too much of my time and thoughts, although I am assured that it is a natural desire, not a character flaw. Giving up this desire for recognition, “likes”, etc has helped me to (like you) desire more of God.
Thank you for affirming that tapping into the gift of being hidden can bring me right back to His feet. Right where I need to be.

Reply

Absolutely! Well said, Juliana. You should definitely check out Sara Hagerty’s book that I referenced in the post. It’s helped me a lot on my journey 🙂

Reply

Love your heart! You might feel unseen, I’ve been there and I’m there most days too but I (as I’m sure many others are too) are prompted by the Lord to lift you in prayer as you disciple those sweet girls God has given you – even if it’s for a short (or long) time! You and the twins come to my mind almost weekly! Motherhood is hard and holy work! Keep leaning into Him and catching a glimpse of the glory!
Hugs to you and E! I beyond admire your hearts!

Reply

Aw, thank you so very much, Cathryn. You’re always such a loving, reassuring voice. I’m still thanking God that I met the Vites and through Rachel, got to connect with you! I hope we can bump into each other on purpose soon. 🙂 Hugs to you, mama!

Reply

Hello Amanda!
Your transparency and vulnerability is beautiful. Thank you for being a life yielded to Christ and letting Him use you as He pleases. You are an unsung hero in my life and I’m sure to many other lives as well. Thank you for sharing the rawness of this journey. Your story and your courage to put you heart on the line with these precious babies has just moved me. Because of your obedience, I know someday I will adopt and like you have said before, it won’t be my plan B, it is my plan A. Praying for you and blessing your family!_

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master