I am convinced that one of the toughest challenges we face as moms is the reality that most of what we do is seldom noticed. The hours of nurturing, teaching, playing, encouraging, cleaning, preparing, and providing are rarely visible to the world swirling around us. Unfortunately, this leaves many of us feeling unappreciated and fighting discouragement. We feel unseen by the world and many times we question whether or not God even sees us.
This isn’t anything new and in fact, we see this very struggle in the pages of Scripture. Hagar’s story is a powerful reminder that though there is much in a mom’s life that is unseen and under the radar, the LORD is the God who sees. Hagar is not typically mentioned as one of the heroes of the faith. She is usually considered a scandalous side note in the story of Abraham and Sarah’s pursuit of a promise. Hagar’s fame comes from being the woman Sarah pawned off to Abraham in exchange for a child Sarah wasn’t patient enough to wait for on her own. God had promised to give Abraham a son. But after many years of waiting and wondering, Sarah took matters into her own hands. Out of frustration and a lack of patience, Hagar got roped into Sarah’s hopeless situation. Instead of waiting on the LORD to open her womb, Sarah offered Hagar to her husband Abraham. Genesis 16 describes it this way:
1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. When the news broke that Hagar was pregnant, Sarah began to mistreat her. Sarah’s jealousy was too much for the two of them to live in the same camp. Hagar’s situation grew so severe that she eventually was forced to flee. After being mistreated and chased out of the camp, Hagar found herself alone in the desert. It was a lonely and desperate place for an expecting mom to be.
But God saw her there and did not leave her unattended, unnoticed, or overlooked. Hagar’s response to God finding her is recorded in Genesis 16:13. The verse says, She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” The New Living Translation is even more descriptive. It says it this way: Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” Here in the pages of Scripture Hagar uses the name (in Hebrew) El Roi to refer to God. The name literally means, the God who sees me. Though Hagar and her unborn child were out of sight and out of mind, the eyes of the LORD were upon her.
Do you feel out of sight and mind today? Maybe you feel alone, overlooked and unnoticed? As Ann Spangler states so beautifully, “Hagar’s God is the One who numbers the hairs on our heads and who knows our circumstances, past, present, and future. When you pray to El Roi, you are praying to the one who knows everything about you.” Wherever you are at today, be encouraged that you are not alone. God is not only with you; he sees, loves you, and is working through you. What you are doing as a mom has eternal importance not because the world sees you, but because the God who sees is at work in you as you yield your home and heart to him.
Blessings, Ruth Schwenk, TheBetterMom.com