Over a year ago I sat in the lobby of a hotel in Africa at the end of the Ramadan fast. As I waited for the rest of my team to gather, I watched a group of Muslim women as they sat and waited for their men to eat. They were covered from head to toe in black burkas. Even their faces were covered, with just a small slit for their eyes. I saw them several times more over the duration of our stay, moving like dark, faceless ghosts. My heart ached for them. To be so unseen that you have to be faceless… I grew up in a culture that does not see women. They see only bodies. Bodies that they graphically display from billboards and newspaper stands. It is a testament to the objectification of women when, even as a little girls, we would always brace ourselves for the torrent of vile words and laughter whenever we would walk by the men. My heart aches for the women who still live in cultures like that.
One night while I was still in Africa, I went to my hotel room and I began journaling and praying and asking God why He allows this to be the experience, the life, of so many women? Women don’t choose where they are born. How could He allow so many women to live out their days in this faceless, unknown existence? How could He allow them to spend their whole lives completely unseen? In tears, I asked these questions of my Father who I know to be good. He answered me. “Hagar.” I sat bolt upright, grabbed a Bible and looked up her story in Genesis. Hagar. The mother of all future Muslim women. In Genesis we find her alone and in despair, sitting by a well. It is here, with no hope and no value in the eyes of her world, that the God of heaven comes to find her. It won’t be the last time He comes for a broken woman by a well. He comes to find Hagar, the slave. Hagar, the womb. Hagar, the object. Hagar, the mother of the future enemies of his own chosen people. He finds her. He speaks to her and promises her a son, whose name means “God hears.” He promises her descendants. He gives her hope to walk back to her difficult and unseen life. Hagar may have been invisible to the whole world, but God saw her. And if the God of Heaven sees you, sweet girl, you are NOT unseen. She raised her heart to God and called Him “El Roi- the God who sees me.”
Precious women, loved by God, He sees you. Behind every veil. Beyond all of the ways you have been made to feel like you don’t matter, or aren’t enough. He sees you. Though you feel invisible in your home, working to care for people who don’t notice what you do in a world that views what you do with contempt, El Roi. He sees you. Precious sisters, working out in the world, struggling to be seen for the value you add and not the body you have, El Roi. He sees you. Precious women of God, gifted in so many ways with dreams and passion to serve the Lord and His church, El Roi. He sees you. Precious wives, bravely walking through another day in a difficult and heartbreaking marriage, El Roi, He sees you.
Beautiful daughters of God! Your Father loves you. He sees you. And even if His eyes are the only ones that ever truly see you, take heart my sister! You have been as deeply seen and loved as you could possibly be because His gaze is the only one that matters. Look back up at Him. Call Him by that name. The God who sees me. Not one of us has ever been unseen. We live our lives before His gaze. This takes my breath away. My soul magnifies the Lord.
*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here:The Gospel