I’m pretty sure summer brings out a whole other brand of crazy in me. Something about not having a schedule or routine with these long days of no quiet makes me feel like I’m losing my compass. A few years back, Western Maryland had what felt like a monsoon season in June. My respite spots were the neighborhood pool and the park, so my sanity level went down a notch during that month.
While making one of those “I just have to get out of the house” errands, I saw another mom of littles at the store. She had that crazy, I’m about to scream air about her. Her kids were pushing the preschooler size grocery carts around the produce section, and she was trying to keep them from running over her feet.
We exchanged a brief look of “I know what you’re feeling. Keep going, mama.” It was just an instant, but it put a smile on my face. There’s something about knowing you’re not alone that makes you able to take the next breath, the next step, isn’t there?
When I climbed into the car, a D.J. on the Christian radio station was saying how everything we do can bring glory to God. Not just the big things others see or the mountaintop experiences. Each and every moment we do something with love, it matters.
Now, can I be honest here? I’ve heard this so many times it’s almost become a cliché. I know the Steven Curtis Chapman song and can recite the lyrics. I know the verse. (Colossians 3:17) But here are times I hear things like this and the cynical side of me says, “Yeah right.”
I don’t look at the pile of dishes sitting in my sink or the sticky floors and think as I’m cleaning, “Jesus is here!”
God, help me. But it’s the truth.
So I asked God to show me. To soften my heart. The tired soul in me wanted evidence, and I felt a lot like the father of the demon-possessed child in Matthew, crying out, “God, help my unbelief!”
You know what? God did help him. He answered him with a miracle. And he helped me too. He’s much more patient and merciful than I deserve.
Here are three ways our unseen lives matter and bring glory to God:
- We become like Jesus.
Did you know there are miracles Jesus performed that no one will ever know about? John tells us if every miracle were recorded, the earth could not contain all the books they would fill. (John 21:25) That’s pretty incredible. So, if they’re not recorded, does that mean they didn’t matter? Of course not. It means they were for a specific time. A specific space in history. While we may never know about them, we get to see what mattered to Jesus by the events that were recorded. People mattered. Individuals with unique lives and families mattered. He stopped and noticed the single person, not just the masses.
- We get to know him better.
During the summer months, it’s sometimes difficult for me to think a coherent thought, let alone have a meaningful quiet time. But I do get moments, and I can make the moments count. I can whisper prayers to God when I need his strength and ask for his grace to cover me when my nerves are shot. When my toddler throws a tantrum because I won’t give her gummy worms for lunch, I can take a deep breath, walk away and say, “Jesus, help me.” No, I don’t mean this as a joke. I’m dead serious. And you know what? He does. He shows me himself. Sometimes I see him through a brief encounter with another mom at a grocery store and other times it’s through a bear hug from my six-year-old at just the right time, but he’s always there.
- Others see, even when we don’t realize it.
I can’t tell you the number of times someone has remarked about my kids’ behavior, my writing, or something else, and I would never have known they noticed me. They said something at just the right time, often on a day I needed a boost of encouragement, and it kept me going. I know you don’t have an audience (except your kids, perhaps) when you’re doing the dishes. You probably don’t have one when you’re putting your kids to bed either. But you know what?
Our unseen work will always affect the work we do for an audience.
The heart and the love we pour into those unseen hours? It will carry into the lives we live in front of others. It will cause a ripple effect, spreading over to other areas. We may not even notice at the time, but it will.
If you’re having trouble believing those unseen hours matter today, will you do me a favor? Come to God and just be honest. I promise he can handle it. He won’t turn away or give you a cold shoulder. He may even show you a little glimpse of what you’ve been missing.
If you need to shift your focus from a struggle or worry and see what God is already doing in your life, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. I talk more about the ways a simple shift can change everything. Many people have sent me messages saying it is a timely book for this season. This encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
Here’s what one reader said:
“This book is a must for those who need a new perspective when it comes to seeing and experiencing God in their lives.” -Melanie P.
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.