This has been a long two weeks (going on three). Last Monday night, November 30, I came down with the infamous swine flu. Not only was I sick, I was mentally exhausted, not getting much support from my husband as he had to work and he thought I was just getting a head cold. I was left to take care of our two toddler boys the best I could. About a week later, the boys came down with the flu and I had to care for them, still sick myself. Lucky me, the flu developed into a secondary infection leaving me in extreme pain. By this time, my skeptical husband had realized that it was in fact the flu and he had become another one of its victims. Thankfully, he and the boys all got Tamiflu prescriptions and have recovered fairly well. I am still on the road to recovering.
I cannot begin to tell you how much this has challenged my emotions and my walk with the Lord. There were constant distractions; countless attempts to turn me into a victim in my mind and demand my rights and needs be met. I was exhausted physically and emotionally, no longer pressing through but merely surviving another day. God, in His mercy and tender counsel, showed me that my dependence and focus were in the wrong place, gently exposing more of my fleshly desires, seeking to cleanse and purify me. But only after I went to Him, in complete honesty.
This article by Priscilla Shirer was just another gentle reminder of the scripture found in Galatians 6:9:
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” NIV
I hope you find encouragement as you read this article.
“ . . . your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” – Matt. 6:4
It was only 8am, and I was exhausted. I rolled over on my soft pillow and squinted as my eyes tried to focus on the bright, sun-split sky that peeked through the slivers in the shades.
Is it morning already?
I groaned and covered my face with a blanket. I felt spent. My energy was totally depleted. It seemed like I’d gotten in bed only moments ago.
Hmmm. I had.
The evening before, we’d tucked our boys into their beds at their normal bedtimes. Everyone had fallen asleep soundly. I jumped into bed shortly after in hopes of a full night of rest. But that wouldn’t be. Jude, my one-year-old son, awoke shortly after midnight. He belted out a scream that could wake the neighborhood. I raced in to check on him but quickly found that there was nothing wrong. He was just . . . up.
Surely a few moments of rocking will put him at ease and back to sleep.
I rocked. I sang. I swayed. I patted. I purred. I rubbed. I paced.
Those moments turned to half hours. Those half hours turned into full ones—four to be exact. These were hours I didn’t care to visit. You know them, the wee ones: dark, quiet, still, and lonely. I paced the floor trying to keep the others from waking. Those were isolating, lonesome moments. No one was patting me on the back for encouragement; no one cheering me on to the finish; no one observing and applauding my faithful mothering.
Just the unseen, unnoticed midnight hours.
We finally tumbled into bed together at 4am (baby tucked in the crook of my elbow). Eventually, he dosed . . . eventually.
Unnoticed giving. Giving in secret. Expending time, energy, resources, and emotions . . . essentially everything with little notice from others. It can all seem so unappreciated sometimes, can’t it? So unnoticed? So undervalued?
It might if God’s Spirit hadn’t had something to say about it.
Priscilla, I’m the secret seer. The unnoticed gifts you give are in my full view, and I take pleasure in dispensing reward.
What’s the secret gift you’ve been giving away? Maybe you’ve not paced the floor in the wee hours with a wee one lately, but you’ve been giving haven’t you: that final detail you made sure was finished, the financial gift you slid under the door, the prayer you lifted up for another, the “want” you sacrificed to meet someone else’s “need.” You’ve been the unnamed, secret soldier who’s marched in and left footprints of love on the landscape of someone’s life. Have you wondered if it’s worth it—when you walk away and no one says “Thank you.” Have you questioned the energy it required—when you come back home feeling a bit spent. Have you wanted to take it back—when those invested hours seemed to yield little dividends?
Good news for the weary secret giver:
There is a Secret Seer.
O yes, Someone sees (and not just a mere human whose accolades would promptly fade). This is One whose divine gifts are grand and vast and . . . eternal. So take courage, secret soldier. He saw the good deed: the extended hand; the opened heart; the generous act that you thought had gone unnoted and unobserved. That which you’ve depleted, He will return—pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
In fact, it seems that knowing rewards like these are offered to the secret givers should not only cause us to rest easy in what we’ve already done, but cause us to look for more opportunity to do it again . . . and again.
To give undercover.
To share unnamed.
To offer without notice.
It seems that the secret servants have a special place in the heart of the Servant Savior.
So, for anyone who feels unnoticed, unappreciated, and overlooked, if you just lift up your eyes, your gaze will fall on the eyes of the Holy One. He is watching every opportunity you’ve grasped; every gift you’ve offered; every undisclosed detail you’ve set straight. He’s taken note and promises a reward.
It’s one that surpasses mere human attention and applause. And it’s the only one that’s really worth receiving.