Friday, August 1, 2014

Building Cathedrals- YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE

I have not blogged in sometime now. I have been waiting for a message and this week- it came.  A dear friend of mine shared about her struggles with feeling unappreciated. I could feel the pain in her words. I began to tear up because I recognized myself in her pain. As a Mom and Wife, we ALL go through this, sometimes on a daily (minute by minute) basis. Motherhood can feel like a very lonely place and we need and want to KNOW in our depths that someone SEES and APPRECIATES us- it is a need we all have.
 I was able to share about her struggles on an on-line group and I got a TON of responses that I sent to my friend and she was so blessed. One of the ladies sent a link to this story and I shared it with my friend who told me later that she read it through tears.
I can't think of anything better to share on my blog than this story- about
my dear friend and how other sisters in Christ around the country reminded her that she is not invisible...that God sees her...that her work as a Mother and as a Wife is as profound, as majestic, as HUGE as the building of an amazing cathedral...
 Read Below...
The Invisible Woman by: Nicole Johnson
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible.
The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'   In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals -
we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives-
for a work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied...
'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.
You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

This story is an excerpt from Nicole's Book The Invisible Woman: A Special Story for Mothers
Check out Nicole Johnson from Women of Faith doing her version of the Invisible Woman.
Love you ladies! You are not invisible.


Aimee Stafford said...

I love this. I love the pictures that you chose. You can tell that woman is doing that ugly cry and trying to hide her face and wipe the tears so no one sees. It is such a perfect feeling of how it can feel. As I said, before, you are special. And oh, by the way, you are a leader, not always a worker bee. :)

Elizabeth Jones said...

Yes...the ugly cry-that is exactly what I saw sweetie. Amazing to think that God collects all of our tears-even in those ugly moments. Thanks for saying that...about me being a leader. That means a lot to me girl! Love ya!

Shannon said...

Love, Love, Love this!

Kelly S said...

Thank you for sharing this! "Because God sees . . ." I will take this with me today!