This summer has swept by! Time truly does fly!
I have not written in a long time. My mind is ever full of thoughts. But I’m feeling backwards. I’m feeling dry. I’m feeling a bit worn out.
I praise God for His everlasting faithfulness! A name of God that I’ve especially valued this year is El Roi – the God Who Sees Me. This name is found in Genesis 16:13. Hagar’s story is told in the whole chapter. Ever feel like you don’t like your life circumstances – Hagar can identify! She ended up pregnant by Abram (Abraham) when Sarai (Sarah) – her mistress- couldn’t get pregnant. Since Sarah couldn’t get pregnant but God had promised Abraham a child, Sarah gives Hagar to Abraham. Hagar conceived. Oh, family drama! Can you picture all the emotions, drama, and feelings? A man and his wife, want kids, can’t have kids, are promised kids by God, but still no kids. And Abraham was in his 80’s! Since they aren’t getting pregnant – or getting younger, Sarah gives her servant (presumably a much younger woman) to Abraham. What was she thinking? Hagar gets pregnant. Do you wonder what Sarah thought then? She couldn’t get pregnant by Abraham … but Hagar could. Did she feel that she was “not good enough?” And now Hagar was not just her slave, she also a woman whom Abraham had slept with. Ugh – drama. Right? Emotions – for sure. Even if that was common practice in their day, Sarah and Hagar were women, just like us! I try to picture my emotions if I were Sarah, and if I were Hagar. Hagar is pregnant, her body is changing, her hormones are changing. Sarah is not pregnant -she and Abraham aren’t pressing their heads together at night talking about their baby or God’s amazing goodness. No. Abraham has a child of his own seed growing – but in Hagar’s womb. Sarah is jealous and starts to mistreat Hagar. Drama, right!?
What kind of emotions were going through Hagar? Hagar had been a slave girl to Sarah and “yes ma’am” was likely a way of life for her. But then she is given to Abraham, and knows Abraham in a way only Sarah should have. Slave to wife. Very different roles. Was Hagar confused? Was she just doing her duty? Did the growing baby cause nausea or heartburn? Was she excited to see what her baby would look like? Did Sarah’s new attitude towards her confuse her, since it had been Sarah’s command in the first place that sent Hagar into Abraham’s bed?
We know that at some point Hagar reached her breaking point and she finally runs away. Maybe now she wondered how she’d raise her baby. Did she have family she could return to? Where was her next meal going to come from? What was Hagar thinking now?
Then in verse 7 – “The angel of the Lord found Hagar and said to her, where have you come from and where are you going? She answered, I’m running away from Sarai, my mistress.” Then the Lord told Hagar what was coming, and sent her back! Talk about circumstances that are not your choosing! There Hagar named God The God Who Sees Me.
The God who sees. Me. You. He sees us in our circumstances. He knows where we are. He knows the circumstances beyond our control, and the ones of our own making. He knows our attitudes. He knows our feelings. The God Who Sees Me.
How I’ve needed the refuge of that name this year! The God Who Sees Me – who sees the circumstances I and my husband are in. The God who sees the work I am in. The God who sees where I am and what I’m doing this very moment.
Hagar knows circumstances that she didn’t choose. So do you. So do I.
I shaved my legs this morning – no big deal for an almost 40 year old woman – right?! It’s routine. Sometimes my legs get harrier than they should – according to culture’s standards. But God made hair to grow on my legs — having hairy legs is normal. It is a circumstance that I don’t control. It’s such a part of life that I don’t even blink an eye at either shaving or being hairy. Yet the other week I was talking to a tween just entering the stage of puberty. Hair growing in places other than her head is new to her. Shaving is new to her. She admitted she shaves her armpits now, and “it’s sort of annoying.” She mentioned she hasn’t started shaving her legs yet. She peered at my hairy legs. Ooops … maybe I should be a better role model of shaving! But at the same time I’m so glad I’m comfortable in my skin, and hairy legs no longer embarrass me! I’m so glad my husband likes me smooth, and accepts me hairy! I’ve already had to walk the road of puberty, and I’m now far away from puberty and in the stages of development, I’m closer to menopause. Life changes. Circumstances we don’t choose. Just part of being human!
All this to say – it’s life. We don’t choose our bodies, or having hair on our legs. We shave hairy legs because that is what our culture does. But my value isn’t in shaving or not shaving. Hair on my legs is just life. I feel like that is a lesson I’m learning lately — life happens, and sometimes that is just the way it is. Some things are direct results of my choices. Some things are results of other’s choices. Life. Just life. Living life. Growing up — it’s not just puberty that is a change… so is every stage!
Hagar recognized God as the God who saw her – knew her circumstances, knew her name, saw where she was at. Knew her life.
I’m just living life. I’m in circumstances both of my own choosing, and of which I have no control. And sometimes it hard. And sometimes it’s confusing. And sometimes it’s good. But just like hair on my legs — it’s all just a part of life. And God sees me. He knows me. He made me.
God, our Creator, calls us by name and knits us together in the secret place. He creates our bodies – and puberty! This God ordains each day of ours before one of them comes to be. This God loves us with an everlasting love. This God is the God who Sees. Oh what a God He is!
Press on dear friends! Every time we shave, may we be reminded we are just living normal life, in a fallen world, under the watchful care of our good God – the God who sees us!