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Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed Hardcover – August 29, 2017
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"It's easy to get lost in the shuffle of life, the never ending to-do list, all the things that call us away from Him. Sara's writing always brings me back to the God that sees me. This book is a gift to those of us longing to find our way back to Him."
Founder of IF: Gathering and Author of "Nothing to Prove"
"What a beautiful gift Sara has given us, yet again! 'Unseen' is an invitation back into the blessed center of what you and I were made for. To become fully alive in the practice of being seen by God, and lo and behold, it's more than enough. This, my friends, is a message we must herald!"
About the Author
Sara Hagerty is the author of the critically-acclaimed Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, a wife to Nate, and a mother of six, including four children adopted from Ethiopia and Uganda, a brand new babbling babe, and one toddler who's found his voice amid them all. Sara writes regularly about life-delays, finding God in the unlikely, motherhood, marriage and adoption at SaraHagerty.net.
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Another facet of this season is that I'm trying to figure out the balance between promoting the work I've been given, and trusting God to fill in my gaps.
So when I heard the title and subtitle of Sara's book, I was ready.
And reading it did not disappoint! It's about how we want to hurry and even claw our way out of hidden or difficult seasons, but that's the very place where God can do some amazing things IN us. No matter what's happening outside us.
Sara is beautifully vulnerable throughout. She doesn't try to paint herself as someone who has all the answers. In some ways, her authenticity and her themes remind me of Brennan Manning. There are dozens of meaningful, thought-provoking, mind-and-heart-changing quotes I could include here. I underlined like mad in every chapter. But this one is probably my favorite:
"[In] my twenties... I envisioned growth to be outstretched [tree] branches... and mostly ignored the roots. But I could no longer grow tall in God without caring for my root system, without acknowledging that something buried beneath the surface gives life to the trunk and branches I showed the world.... God was ever so gently inviting me back to the soil. To hide *in* Him rather than perform *for* Him, to shift my attention from branches to roots, from my visible work for God to my unseen life in God.... He was patiently drawing my eyes away from the branches and down to my thirsty roots."
"Unseen" is about underground growth. It's about turning to God in little, daily, mundane moments, unseen by most of the world - but always seen by Him. It's about pouring out time with Him, even when anyone else (including you) might call it a waste. It's about giving up on trying to be strong, to be enough; and instead letting our weakness turn us to Him for His strength, for His enough.
The exchange of my weakness for His strength is fairly easy to grasp - as a theory. Really absorbing it into my heart and living it out, day to day - that's another story. It's a theme that's popped up in my journal for years, but this year, it's been a relentless one. Sara's words are helping me see what it looks like to let the lesson really sink deep. I hope it sticks this time. I think if I keep on with the root work, it will.
So many times, for the last 7+ years, my days have consisted of dishes, laundry, sweeping the crumbs, wiping the noses, changing the diapers, falling into bed exhausted only to do it all again the next day. Many times I complained to my husband that I was lonely, or isolated, or that no one knew exactly what I was going through. But the truth is…God knew. He saw, He understood, He walked that road with me.
More recently, as I have exited the “baby” season to wade knee deep in homeschooling and church planting, I have again felt “unseen.” Even insignificant. After all, how many times did I give that instruction only to find that my child ignored me, didn’t pay attention to me, or just plain disobeyed me? I was trying to find my significance and worth in the things I was doing instead of the One who was watching me. I was working and serving and being productive (sometimes), but I still felt alone and unseen.
In this book, Sara delves into the fact that we crave to be seen and noticed. We were designed for it. But we have to go through the winter times when our roots are unseen and our blossoms are gone in order to bloom more fully and grow larger in the spring. Sometimes it is in the unseen moments that we find we are really seen by the most important One (who has been watching us all along). And in those times, if we press into Him, we find a deeper more significant relationship with our Creator. In the unseen moments we can worship more completely. In the times when the world doesn’t notice a thing we are doing, we grow more than we ever could in the limelight.
This also speaks to my battle with social media. It’s one of those things I have a hard time controlling sometimes. I want to post things and share what I’m doing and see what people say in response. But in the end, 27 likes on my picture of a beautiful dinner isn’t really important. But making that beautiful dinner for my family can be an act of worship if the work is met with the right attitude and if I give God the glory for my ability to make it. Sometimes I pull away from social media…maybe because I have been feeling insignificant and unseen already, and so I don’t really want anyone else to know. But those times have been some of the best months I have walked with my Savior.
I have not completely read this book yet. I have to take it slowly and digest it. But the chapters I have read are very marked up as the Lord has used Sara’s words and her own journey of “unseenness” to challenge my heart in this matter.