When You Don’t Feel Seen.

Summer marked a new beginning for me. The year leading up to it was personally my most difficult year. I was plagued by insecurities and joy felt far out of reach. But, I was determined to move on with the new season. It felt like a fresh start.

My husband and I began our summer in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We were immersed in a temporary new community for 4 weeks for my husband’s job. I was eager for a change of scenery and new faces. A week into our time together, I was asked the following question, “What season of your life have you felt seen by God?” Women in the group shared stories of redemption. We realized that every season of feeling seen only came after a season of hardship and loneliness. Whether it was a difficult move or a miscarriage, they shared their seasons of redemption, provision, and feeling seen that followed. I remained silent in our time together (let me assure you, that never happens). Later that day, I found myself sitting in that question, asking it to myself over and over again. Then, it hit me. For the past year, I had not felt seen by God, in fact, I felt abandoned by him. I felt like I was constantly calling out to God for answers and change- and the only response I felt was emptiness. I knew that was not true and God was with me, but it never felt real to me. I didn’t know I was feeling this way until the question came up and the only time I could recall feeling seen was years ago.

I think if we were all honest with ourselves, we have had seasons like this as well. We have all had weeks, months, maybe even years of not feeling seen by the One we are told never leaves or forsakes us. I think it’s good for us to be honest with our home team and ourselves about that. When we admit lies we are feeling, it reminds us of our place. It humbles us and brings us back to who we are, broken humans. This is so vital to the Christian walk because over time our tendencies are to think highly of ourselves. We go back to pride and think we can do it all on our own. We live to elevate ourselves rather than glorify the true King. This is what sin is after all, turning from God because we don’t think we need him, however that may translate in each of our lives. That is why we need to be honest when we are not ok and admit our struggles. When we acknowledge our brokenness, we get back in touch with our need for a Savior.

That night, I admitted to a friend I could not recall feeling seen by God in a long time. She listened and shared in my sentiments. Speaking it out loud did not make it feel more real; in fact, it freed me from it. Before I could heal, I needed to diagnose my sickness. By realizing I felt abandoned, I was ready to change it. Months prior, I was apathetic to change. But now, my heart was in a new place, ready for healing, and I knew I could not do it without God.

I was reminded of other followers who felt abandoned by God. David recorded those dark moments in Psalm 13, and the Lord met him there in his crying out. Even the Israelites felt forgotten at times as they wandered in the desert for 40 years, but their Promised Land came. Even Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” As I remembered these stories, I suddenly didn’t feel so alone. Each of these biblical stories end with redemption. Even in the stories my friends shared that day together, seasons of feeling abandoned and lost were followed by restoration and provision.

If you find yourself in a season now where you don’t feel seen by God, there is hope. With the Lord, there is always hope. Take heart that you are not alone. Remember, the Promised Land came after wandering in the desert. But even in their wanderings, they were never alone. I would encourage you to be honest and ask yourself and your home team, “What season of your life have you felt seen by God?” Promising stories will be shared, along with vulnerable moments as well. Consider this question for yourself; do you truly believe God sees you today?

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:28-30). Even when you don’t feel it, the Lord is guiding you to your desired haven. Once you make it out, you will look back and find it was true – you were seen all along.

words by Lauren Grindstaff and photo by Olivia Douglas

Writer, reader, pizza-consumer, traveller, wife, creative, and aspiring cook. I thrive on Jesus' Word, His grace, exploring the outdoors, meaningful relationships, beautiful views, and real, life-giving conversations- all with a warm mug in hand.

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