Do You See Me? Do You Care

Lately God’s been showing me the deep need for love those around me have. Many are hurting, but often their pain is hidden by smiles and chirpy Facebook posts. And it’s easy for the rest of us to take things at face value and walk away. But God wants us to dig deeper, to take time to truly see others so we can pour out His love.

Today’s post, by Ann Lee Miller, reminded me of the good that can come from something as simple as an email. It also reminded me of the pain that arises when that email or card or phone call doesn’t come.

Right now, as you read this post, someone is hurting, asking, “Does anyone care?” And right now, you have an opportunity to show them, “Yes. I do and so does God.” As you read Ann’s story, prayerfully consider who might be needing “an email/hug/phone call from God” today, then commit to letting Him show His love through you.

Ann is giving away a free e-copy to EVERYONE who leaves a comment with their email (so she can contact you). She is also a July Reach Out to Live Out Donor

Email From God by Ann Lee Miller, author of Kicking Eternity

God spoke to me through an e-mail that showed up in my in-box last November, during a year I strained to wring out the deeper novel my literary agent was convinced I had in me. I needed to scrape out my emotions and smear them on the page. But I only knew how to shove them inside.

When I was six my Chatty Cathy doll tumbled over the stucco banister worn shiny from my family’s hands and those who had lived in the Miami apartment before us. Salty tears tickled my face. I scooped her up in chubby, little girl arms and pulled her string. But she who won me countless friends on a year-long Volkswagen van trip across Mexico would never talk again. “Quit your crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” my daddy said.

When I was thirteen, Mama drove me and my six-year-old brother away from Biscayne Bay and Daddy. We left the sailboat Daddy built in the back yard—where we and our belongings had been crammed into thirty-six feet that smelled of mildew and last night’s fish. Our blue Rambler braked at a house, peering owlishly through black-framed windows. Mama looked back at us, Jack-in-the-Box smile stitched in place. “Isn’t this a wonderful adventure?”

Our footsteps echoed off cold terrazzo, as barren as I felt inside. I needed to be strong for Mama. But it wasn’t so hard. I didn’t remember how to cry.

At nineteen I hurled myself at Jesus, Someone who didn’t think my emotions were too loud and bothersome, Someone who listened to my heart.

For three decades I locked my childhood and my emotions behind Get Smart steel grates. If I wasn’t such an Eeyore, if I had an ounce of gratitude, I would have said my childhood was okay. A lot of people suffered worse.

A flash of blond hair out a firehouse window unearthed a firefighter’s memory of a fifth-grade girl walking home from St. Hugh’s Catholic School in Miami. He was a sixth-grader who could never understand why his carpool whisked past me day after day as I plodded through a ramshackle neighborhood in the sticky heat headed for the marina.

Though we never spoke, the man googled me and e-mailed, “I always thought how sad and lonely you looked.”

I felt as though Jesus pressed three fingers into my right shoulder and said, “Yes, your childhood was sad.” The doors to my past and emotions burst open.

As a child I shut off my voice because it wouldn’t be heard or believed.  Now I’m starting to come all-out with my husband, children, and friends. They listen and believe me. They embrace me. I am showing them the core of who I am. Color and intensity of feeling are shooting through my deadness. I am learning to pen pain and joy.

Ironically, in my writing people have told me for years that my unique voice is my strength. Could there be people desperate for my message, could my words be valuable?

God went out of His way to love a girl nobody listened to, to restore her voice and emotions. How can I not speak?

Kicking Eternity:

1st Place Long Contemporary 2009 RWA Faith, Hope, & Love Contest

Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.

The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.

Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?

Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.

Connect with Ann on Twitter at @AnnLeeMiller

and on Facebook at Ann-Lee-Miller

Ann is giving away a free e-copy to EVERYONE who leaves a comment with their email (so she can contact you). She is also a July Reach Out to Live Out Donor

QUESTION: Was there a time when you were hurting and God used someone to minister to you? Share it here. Was there a time when you felt God nudging you to reach out to someone and you later found this person was in deep need? Tell us about it!

I’ll start. This morning I received a loving email from someone very special to me. The words in the email touched me, but what touched me even more was knowing this person was thinking of me.

Your turn. 🙂

Advertisements

33 thoughts on “Do You See Me? Do You Care

  1. Ann’s emotional testimony could be mine! Except I’m still hiding. And yes, I have felt God reaching out to show me I’m loved. When I’m at my lowest, I’ve received an appreciation card in the mail, or a short email or FB message just to say thank you or love you. Those little snippets of love carry me.
    Cat
    catrina (at) faithwriters (dot) net

    • Oh, Catrina, thanks for having the courage to share. I pray God will continue to pour His love out to you through others until you feel safe enough to unveil your heart. 🙂 I pray He will show you the brothers and sisters in Christ who will treat your heart with the care it deserves. Hugs!

  2. Feeling awkward in an uncomfortable seat in a hallway waiting for my chiropractor’s appointment, I felt very lonely. Regardless, whether it was self-imposed or reasons other than that, I was hanging onto a thread of hope. Barely. I’ve known personally, for 36 years I have a personal Savior, but my emotions betray me at times.

    A short distance away, I hear a familiar shuffling sound of a stroke victim. I work at an assisted living facility and recognize and understand it quite well. A beautiful lady appears and sits down across from me. Her features were striking but what impressed me was her smile. God’s glory and light surrounded her that it almost took my breath away. She began to tell her miraculous story. (I believe that only those individuals that experience such an occurance have that light). Although she had suffered a stroke and almost died/did die and was revived and her husband left her 3 years earlier afterwards, she trusted the Lord for her care. Here was someone, who could have taken the self-pity road was encouraging me with her words of light and healing! It was both humbling and awe-inspiring. I was truly blessed. ~Ginnylynn

    • Hi Ginnylyn,

      You painted such a clear picture of your emotional aloneness, hope-starved heart, and even physical discomfort.

      I’m so glad God met you where you were through that dear woman. I was touched with her joy through your words. Sometimes we need someone to be Jesus to us.

      I’m struggling today with what to say/do for a friend who is in the place you described. You reminded me that however hopeless her situation appears, no matter that I don’t know what to say, I need to show up for her.

      Thank you for sharing.

  3. Jennifer, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. It is a pleasure to hang out with deep and like-minded people. You have already been a blessing in multiple ways!

    • Ann, I’m honored to host you here. 🙂 And I’m glad you were blessed. I can see by others’ comments, they were as well. Have a blessed, be-a-blessing day as you continually give and receive God’s never-ending love!

  4. Diane,

    Thanks for stopping by. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like God has to poke His elbow into my ribs more than once before I get up and do whatever He’s nudging me to do. 🙂

    Thank you for the compliment on the cover. I will tell Robin Roberts at RedRedDesign.com. Though he is a career graphic artist, this is his first book cover. He has been super excited about the project. 🙂 The cover is actually an oil painting he did specifically for my book–and I get to keep it!

  5. Cat,

    Thank you so much for having the courage to be so open about where you are.

    I entered adulthood very broken and largely oblivious to the fact. It seems to me like God painstakingly revealed each thing He wanted to “fix,” then healed it. a gentle process spread over decades–still ongoing.

    I think the first step is God’s revealing what He intends to heal, which is where you are. The lovely thing is that though you are hiding, you are in plain view to God. He will tenderly take you by the hand into the next step.

    It’s a gift to cyber-meet a sister who walks in my emotional world.

    God’s richest blessings on you, Cat!

  6. It’s amazing how at the lowest points in life, when I feel like I don’t know where to turn or what to do, when I truly let go of the wheel, that God takes over and sends a helping hand, or kind word, or warm smile from a stranger my way to let me know I am loved and not alone.

    You are so right that you don’t know what a small kind gesture for another might mean for them. You might find this post an interesting continuation of your point:
    http://thestillspot.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/how-to-creat-a-kindness-tsunami/

    Blessings!

    • Hi Valerie,

      I am hurting for my friend and feeling pushed toward her by your words. Perhaps if I go see her, God will even my physical presence to comfort her. Thank you for commenting.

      • Valerie,

        I just wanted to report back. I went to visit my friend this evening, and I think I really was a comfort to her. But maybe I shouldn’t have beat her at Scrabble. Ha! Seriously, though, I prayed that God would use me. I don’t think she needed someone who had any answers tonight, just someone who cared.

        I’m glad I listened to God’s nudge that came through you. Thanks for something so simple as leaving a comment that started a chain of events that blessed me and my friend.

  7. Your story sounds so similar to my own. There are whole sections of my childhood that I don’t remember. I think God’s grace allowed me to forget on purpose. The road to healing is painful but not without beauty. How could I truly know the faithfulness of God without feeling alone and broken? One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that our greatest joys are a direct result of our greatest suffering. Where would I be without pain? I’m guessing lost and in need of a savior 😉 Can’t wait to read your book. It sounds wonderful.
    Sherry
    writingsherry@att.net

  8. Sherry,

    I loved your post, so packed with truth I needed to be reminded of! Especially, “our greatest joys are a direct result of our greatest suffering.” I have long thought the unhappiness of my childhood drove me to Christ, but I didn’t take the next step to see more recent suffering as the catalyst for present and future joy.

    Thank you!

  9. Was there a time when you were hurting and God used someone to minister to you?

    I am 67 years old and have many scars from my past.

    I have been a Christian since I was 13 years old. But never thought God could really love me. So while I am sure God did use someone to minister to me, I was not in a place emotionally to recognize it.

    Not until He healed me of that . . . maybe 20 years ago.

    sharonalavy at gmail dot com

    • Sharon, your account of God’s healing is beautiful, and it reminds me that often, true and deep healing takes time. Time of walking with the Savior as He pours His healing love into us, soothing one wound at a time, replacing one deception (like “you’re not lovable”) with truth (God says you are cherished).

      I think many who are still hurting and wondering if their pain will ever end will find great comfort in your words. Blessings, my sweet sister!

    • Sharon,

      I think more of us struggle with believing God loves us than those who don’t. My husband is a pastor, and he often says that if we truly believed God loved us, we would trust Him implicitly. My intellectual belief in this truth is stronger than my emotional belief. But I feel like I’m moving forward in this area as I mature.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  10. One time, I tried to open an e-mail when I was at work, but it just didn’t open. IT support failed to help. After I prayed to God, the e-mail just popped open when I clicked it. In my story, God was the Person who reached out to me: Dicky, you should have asked Me to help you in the first place.

  11. Interesting that this should come after we have studied Grace Fox’s book, “Moving From Fear to Freedom”. The last week’s study was called – the Ghosts of my past. Grace has written this book but we studied from her companion Bible study. Learned so much.
    It is good to open up and give all our hurts to Jesus. I did 12 years ago and have never regretted it.
    Blessings,
    Jan

  12. I can totally relate to your story. My parents divorced when I was 11. I was a straight A student, into ballet and loved school but at home things were different. After the divorce my grades dropped and I was removed from ballet. My mother was mentally abusive and sometimes physically. My dad was in the navy, and although I am grateful to all of those who serve, my dad chose the navy over his family. My world was torn apart. I was also molested at a young age by my next door neighbor and when I cried out to my mom she wouldn’t believe me. I hid myself away in Nancy Drew wishing to be her. It was not until I met Jesus that my life changed. I became a little more confident but when I met my husband I found not only my soul mate but someone who believed in me. I married my best friend. And together we have served Jesus for over 20 years in the ministry. God is faithful and He is always there when I need Him. Thank you for sharing your heart and I pray God blesses you in your ministry to those that are hurting.

    • Virginia,

      I’m sorry you’ve experienced such pain. Thank you for sharing your heart here, and thank you for ministering to others.

      Amen to your comment on God’s faithfulness. We live in a fallen world ravished by sin and pain, but God’s love never fails. When others hurt me or let me down, I often remind myself, “God isn’t like that.” This knowledge draws me closer to Him, my one constant.

      Hugs sweet sister!

    • Hi Virginia,

      Wow, it’s like we lived parallel lives! I’m pigeon-toed and took ballet to turn my feet out. My name means “graceful one,” but I’m clumsy. I can only imagine how awkward I’d be if I hadn’t had ballet. I was a huge Nancy Drew fan, too, and any book involving girls who went away to boarding school. Like you, all the things I didn’t get as a child–like being cherished–I got as an adult. God has been so kind to us, hasn’t He?

      Cyber-meeting you reminds me of a childhood notion of digging through to China and discovering my identical twin. Ha! Blessings, my sister!

  13. Countless times people have reached out to me without realizing my spirits needed lifting, and vice versa. This is only one of many reasons why I believe in God and His love for us. Thanks for sharing your story, Ann.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s