It’s a big deal to earn the big green sticker each week at gymnastics. Only the girl who does the best each week gets it. Our daughter’s goal in life right now is to earn the green gymnastics sticker. As a parent, it’s heartbreaking watching her leave week after week without that green sticker.
On the way home from gymnastics this week, her emotions turned from disappointment to anger. Why did she never earn the sticker, she wondered? What happens when you do your best each week but still never get chosen? Thoughts of giving up, spitting on top of our house, and becoming a spy were just a few of her solutions to heal the devastation.
Her questions were fair to ask. As adults, we wrestle with these same emotions and questions as well. I reminded her our hope doesn’t come from a green sticker. Our value can’t be found from what someone else thinks of our skills. She will get the sticker one day. Until then, it’s up to her to do her best and cheer for whoever receives the sticker each week.
We live in a culture that craves more. Appearance is everything to us. Status is something important we reach for. We’re taught from a young age to seek approval from others. We thrive on chore charts and reward systems.
These things are great until they’re not. What happens when we’re overlooked? What if we can’t keep up, even when we give our best? What if our best continually goes unnoticed?
In Genesis 30, our friend Leah remained unnoticed for years. She became desperate to be loved by her husband, Jacob. Jacob loved (and married) her younger, more attractive sister, Rachel. Leah gave Jacob her best by providing him something Rachel couldn’t at the time. She gave him the gift of four sons. A family lineage. Unfortunately, she remained unseen.
Leah surrendered her pain and desperation to God. Through Leah’s journey, we see her feelings and hurts brought to the surface through the names of her children. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah (Gen. 29:31-35).
Read each name meaning carefully, and notice how Leah’s heart was transformed.
· Reuben—”It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
· Simeon—”Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.”
· Levi—”Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.”
· Judah—”This time I will praise the Lord.”
God saw Leah. Jacob would eventually have twelve sons that became the twelve tribes of Israel. The Tribe of Judah (Leah’s fourth son) is the family line which Jesus was born, making Leah an ancestor to Jesus.
It’s in the hidden places that Jesus speaks the loudest.
I reminded our daughter the only thing we can find our hope and value in is Jesus. Everything else is temporary and out of our control. The truth that Jesus loves us never changes. We don’t have to strive or work for His love. He gives it freely. Jesus also sees us. He sees our hearts. He sees the hurts we have; the anger and frustration we feel. He meets us where we are in our hidden places.
What if these unseen places are a gift? A gift God not only gives to us, but also to our children. A gift of learning to go unnoticed so we can embrace God’s presence. The gift of knowing when we feel hidden, we’re fully seen.
Have you ever felt God’s presence when you felt unseen?