There is a story in the bible (Genesis 16) of a woman named Hagar, whose name means "flight".
She is a maidservant in the home of Abram. Abram and Sarai mistreat her and things get awful and hard and so... she flies. She runs away into the desert, trying to make her way back to the only other home she's ever known, to Egypt.
Things go from bad to worse as this pregnant woman, all alone in a hostile ancient world, picks her way back west through the desert wilderness. The journey ahead is impossible, yet it is impossible to go back. She finds herself helpless and hopeless, beside a spring near the road leading to Shur, all alone and scared.
God visits her there and tells her to go back and submit to Abram and Sarai. He promises to bless her and increase her there if she does. He promises to care for her, He lets her know that He sees her.
Yes, Hagar's name means flight, and am I really so different? Everything in me pulls against where God has sovereignly placed me at times, and instead of submitting and serving in the chaos and difficulties that come my way, my natural instinct is always to flee. To turn tail and run, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I withdraw into myself where I think no one can see me or find me and I wait... alone and scared, sure that I am unseen and unpursued and past all hope. I nurse my wounds and justify my reasons and try to pick my way back to something or somewhere that feels more like home, but it's impossible to go back. Rock. Me. Hard place. And it's no one's fault but my own that I am there.
These past few weeks have been full of grumbling and fighting against the responsibilities of this place that God has sovereignly, in all wisdom and knowledge, put me. My home. These children. Those dishes. That mountain of laundry. That food that needs to be bought and cooked so that I can do some more dishes and buy some more food to cook and do some more dishes and buy some more food and on and on and on. It gets to the point where all I can think about is fleeing! Running! Hiding! Retreating until it gets easier and I can come back!
Hagar was a maidservant and am I really so different? ha! I feel like a maidservant sometimes. (Meaning........ always. heh.)
When I get myself into this mindset, my eyes all cast down on dirty clothes and plates, I begin to feel very unseen. I begin to feel like my identity is 'chore-do-er' and it's all I'll ever be until the day that I die. Oh, how I pity myself then. Poor, wretched little CinderEmery. Unseen and all covered in soot! Woe is...
And then, a light! Blinding, searing, holy. God comes to find me there- all alone in the desert wilderness beside the spring. Go back! Be fully there. Submit to the place I've placed you. Humble yourself and serve Me, knowing I am good and that every dirty dish and every load of laundry is for your good! Love sacrificially, because I have loved you sacrificially! You do not serve a human master, an Abram or a Sarai or a Chris or an Ezra or a Myer or a Truman! You serve ME! The Living God Who Sees You! Go back. And I will increase you.
Oh, I could use me some of that increase.
Hagar sees God seeing her and so she leaps to her feet and names that well that she has collapsed by Beer Lahai Roi; The well of the Living One who sees me. She drinks deeply her fill and turns back to the place where God has called her, swallowing her pride and identity and expectations and entitlements. She goes back to the hard season, knowing in hope that God will keep His promises to her.
And God does. He increases her and protects her and kings and nations come from that child inside of her.
Love is sacrifice. It does not give up when things feel daunting. And the only way to love like that is to BE LOVED like that. To know the love that God has poured out upon ME. And the only way to know that love is to fully understand the depths of what he did for me in Jesus. Jesus is the Living Water from the well that won't ever ever ever run dry. When I serve and submit to my family and my calling of motherhood out of knowing His great love for me, I increase! I overflow! I spill out to those around me and my joy is found in HIM, who never runs dry.
Joy that never runs dry.
Every single time I pull up my bucket- it's full.
Yes, Lord. I need to drink deeply from that well. I need to believe that You see me. That I am not just another face in the crowd to You. I need to believe that you have placed me exactly where I am for exactly such a time as this. This life and this family are no accident or chance of fate! Increase my faith. Empower my work. Your eyes are on me just as intently when I am scrubbing my floor as they are when I am singing on a Sunday... help me glorify you in both equally and all in between. Thank you for always coming to find me in the driest places and faithfully opening my eyes to see your true Well, right beside me, again and again and again.