To See and Be Seen

“. . . seen the One who sees me.”

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.'” (Genesis 16:13)

A couple of weeks ago this ladybug landed on me while I was outside with my camera.  It was a little difficult holding the ladybug still on one hand while I held the camera and snapped the picture with the other.  (It’s a big camera.)  I managed, so you can see the results of our staring match.  I wonder what the ladybug saw as she stared at me?  I came back to the photo after my experience Monday with my granddaughter.

We were shopping in the mall when my sixteen month-old granddaughter decided she’d had enough of riding in the stroller.  She wanted to test those newly-discovered walking skills in the wide open spaces of the mall.  After repeatedly (and repeatedly) convincing her that she had to hold my hand, she and I sped off down the mall.  She was one determined young lady!  Head down or looking ahead, she toddled her way through the Labor Day crowd in the mall with me hanging on and struggling to keep up.  (Try walking fast while you’re bent almost to the floor and you’ll see what I mean about the keeping up.) 

Once in awhile she abruptly stopped and looked up at me.  Then, with renewed determination she moved ahead.  I found myself watching her watch her surroundings and choosing her path.  I wondered what she was seeing besides lots of kneecaps.  Then I began to notice that she was hesitant and slowed down.  She looked up at me but seemed unsure.  That’s when I realized she had reached her limit.  She had ventured to the limits of her ability to move forward without the reassurance of the ones who provide her nurturing life – her mom and dad.  She could not go further without seeing her mother and father.  Seeing me was not enough.  It had to be them.  I turned her around and pointed her in their direction. When she saw them pushing the stroller up the mall a few clumps of crowds behind us, she ran to their waiting arms and demanded to be held.  She needed to see the ones who could see her like none other. 

This is a normal, typical response of children about fifteen to twenty-four months old.  There’s even a name for it – “rapprochement.”  The child begins to venture away but can only go so far without turning and receiving the reassurance of mom and dad.  The quote above from Genesis was spoken by Hagar, the pregnant slave concubine of Abraham, after she had been run-off by the cruelty of Abraham’s wife, Sarah.  Hagar found strength to return and bear Abraham’s son because she had an encounter with God and said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 

In order for me to move move forward through all that I face, I need to see the One who sees me. I guess I’ve never outgrown the reaction my granddaughter exhibited the other day – I’ve just learned that I need to see not just the ones who see me (family, friends, etc.), but more importantly, the One who sees me – God.  In order to move forward I need face-to-face time with God.  Without it, I find myself anxious, misdirected, and distracted.  Unless I spend time seeing the One who sees me, I do not have the spiritual strength to move forward.  There is no substitute for face-to-face time with the One who sees me.  Through prayer, study, worship, and more I gain the face-to-face time necessary to turn and walk further into the life God has in store for me. 

I pray that God will help me remember to turn and get the face-to-face time I need with the One who sees me.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on September 4, 2013.

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