My nearly four-year-old twins were finally down for their mid-day nap. In an attempt at self-care, I crawled into bed, exhausted from keeping up with their endless energy. As I pulled my duvet up and snuggled in for my own afternoon nap, I sensed the clear, but quiet, whisper of God. No bells, no whistles. I simply had a subtle sense that He was speaking these words to me, “I see you, Breanna.”
I have felt God speak these same words to me during other seasons of my life as well. One particularly long season, where I was often comforted by those words, was during my nine-year painful journey through infertility. Throughout that season, God would continually remind me that my tears were seen—as was my broken heart.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 NLT.
Those words had a profound impact on me when I felt my prayers were hitting the ceiling. Knowing that God saw me helped me accept that God’s silence in response to my prayers did not mean He was absent. When we finally became pregnant with our twin boys, those words came back to me. They served as a reminder of God’s promise to see me. He saw me at my absolute rock bottom, with nothing to offer but hurt, anger, and despair. He saw me collapse in overwhelming joy when we became pregnant. The point was—He saw me. My worth came from being loved and seen by God, not by the circumstances surrounding my life or my ability to navigate those circumstances.
This new season of life finds me living my dream. I am now a mother. I have healthy, energetic twin boys. I feel uniquely blessed and seen by God. However, this season also presents other feelings; monotony for one. I imagine many mothers would agree that having small children feels like pushing rewind on the day before. There seems to be the same pile of laundry that magically appears every day—unfolded yet washed. The same dirty dishes that, ‘I swear I put through the dishwasher just last night’, but somehow seem to be covered in this morning’s breakfast. If I have read The Cat in the Hat once I have read it a thousand times. We visit parks. We play chase. We build train tracks and race tracks. The same reprimand laden mealtime scenario plays out at our kitchen table every breakfast, lunch, and yep, you guessed it, dinner. The days can sometimes feel like someone has just pushed repeat.
This season also produces unending mental chaos. My body is constantly busy. I feel like I can’t keep up with my tasks and duties on a daily basis. What makes this even harder is the fact that while I am going through the physical motions of motherhood’s daily tasks, my brain is in high gear, and rarely switches off. I find myself endlessly vacillating between a myriad of thoughts—the suffering of Syrian immigrants, considerations regarding homeschooling, getting flu shots, and what do I have in the fridge that would make a decent choice for dinner. The thoughts are never-ending, and the ability to address even one of these things often eludes me.
Before I had children my life was full and active but in a much different way. My day to day routine was full of variety. I could see and talk with my husband in full sentences almost every day. I regularly met up with friends, pursued hobbies, found ways to grow myself into a more helpful and whole human being. I volunteered. I made meals for sick friends. The list of what I was capable of and had time for was long.
I won’t lie. Having a long list of my abilities or things that I could do gave me a certain level of confidence and worth. Of course, I was lovable because ‘I was capable’. Of course, I could make friends easily because ‘I could be a good friend’. Of course, I could shower my husband with love and affection because ‘I had time and he deserved the best of me’. These things also made me feel more lovable to God—more worthy in a way. Yet, I didn’t realize I was finding my worth in my own abilities until I had children.
The Gift of Motherhood
Motherhood is definitely a journey. Every day presents new challenges and new joys. Yet, it also has come with a stripping kind of grit. Daily I have to choose to believe that I am more than what I do. I must believe I am loved simply because I am a daughter of the King who has been created in His image. I have to lean into the truth that there is nothing more I could say or do that could add to, or take away from, the complete work Jesus did on the cross.
In this season it is easy to feel unseen by the world around me. Friends are pursuing big dreams, doing work they love, and find themselves in a season full of satisfaction. Even though I am doing my own version of those things too, it looks and often feels vastly different.
So as I laid there, about to drift off to sleep in the middle of the day, surrounded by my pile of unfolded laundry, God’s whispered words to me felt significant. They felt like a special secret, “I see you, Breanna.” They came like a comforting cloak. One I wear that covers my inadequacies, my insecurities, my self-imposed to-do list, and my judgments of myself. They felt like warm oil being massaged into my parched soul.
From that afternoon on I have carried with me the sense of God’s closeness. I think those words were all I needed to hear, right now—in this season. My worth is in being seen by the One who created me. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 NIV. When I am seen, I am free to open and blossom into my true self.
All around us, we are bombarded with messages of the ways we can make ourselves worthy. Wear this shirt, use this makeup, eat this food, workout this many times, be a part of this Bible study. None of those things are bad in and of themselves. But, they will never add to, nor take away from, the inherent worth that God has placed in each of us as His children. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 1 John 3:1a ESV. The things listed above may be beneficial for your life, but they will never define nor determine your worth. When you accept the truth that God sees you and loves you personally, your soul settles into a peaceful rest that this world can never offer—a rest that can only be found in Him.
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