To Be Seen…

Be Seen /

Amanda, Heidi and Tiffany at If:Gathering:Local

This past weekend I attended something called If: Gathering. It’s a conference that gathers women together with the intention of providing them with the tools and the courage to go out and share Jesus with others. I actually attended what’s called If:Local, meaning that we didn’t fly to Austin, Texas for the event but rather watched the simulcast from a location closer to home. There were about 2000 of these If:Locals all over the world. Anyway, there were so many great messages given but what stuck out to me the most was the over all theme of being seen.

What does it mean to truly see someone? To be seen? There is so much hurt and suffering in this world that it is easy to become calloused when we hear about the hard stuff going on in people’s lives. Cancer, divorce, addictions, death… you  name it, it’s happening all around you. After awhile somebody’s tragedy just becomes yet another news story. Take a simple bible story, how many times have I read the story in the book of Mark chapter 5 where it talks about the woman being healed of a bleeding issue by touching the hem of Jesus’s robe? This woman, who had been bleeding for 12 years, that always gets glossed over in my mind, 12 Years!! That is an overwhelmingly long time. Can you even fathom what it would be like to excessively bleed for 12 years? She was desperate at this point and knew in her heart that if she could just touch Jesus then she would be healed. And she was. But the amazing thing was not only the healing but that Jesus knew that someone had touched him deliberately and wanted to know who it was. He wanted to see her. He wanted to look her in the eye and let her know that he understood, that he loved her and that her faith had made her well. There were thousands of people around and he stopped to make sure that one woman knew that she was valuable and that she was important.

It’s hard to take on another person’s pain. It’s hard to lift up your eyes to meet another’s and let them help you through yours. Pain is vunerable and pain brings shame. Everyone wants to be that person that pulls themselves up by their bootstraps and charges on full speed ahead. The reality is that there are a lot of times when we need to pull up the straps for others so that they can gain the strength that it takes to hold them up on their own. I have been on both ends of the spectrum.  I have met the challenge with some, waded in and swam in the ocean through the storm, just as others have done with me. With some I have failed to rise to the occasion, whether that be out of fear or just simply not knowing what to do, in the same stroke others failed to rise with me and in hindsight it was more than likely for the same reasons.

So what do we do? How do we better posture ourselves to see the people in our lives?

Show Up. Just be there. I have several friends that don’t live near me whose lives have been totally shattered by death. I can’t physically show up but I can text, email, send cards. I can tell them that I love them and that I am praying for them and be available if they want to write back. My friend Kristy and I have been friends since birth. Our mom’s had a race to see who would come out first, her or me, I won! Kristy lives in California and I live in Oregon. She has 4 kids and not much free time but she still found the time this past year to send me songs over YouTube, cards, gifts and texts. There were not too many weeks that went by that I did not hear from Kristy in one form or another. She showed up. She is still showing up, Kristy is not only coming up to run the 1/2 marathon with me but she also paid my entrance fee! She is one example of many people who took the time for me this past year and those simple acts of love have provided me with a wealth of ideas of ways that I can show up for others.

Be Seen /

Kristy n Me 2004

Extend Grace. When people are struggling they might not always think before they speak or act. Before you get offended and write them off, stop for a moment and take in their situation. Take a deep breath, choose to forgive and wade right back in. I can’t tell you how many times my words and actions in the last year have wounded others. My filter in normal times isn’t super great so adding a ton of physical and emotional stress to an already weak filter, well it causes great damage. I’ve said this before, but I sure think it would be nice if all other stressors in your life would just hit a pause button while you are walking through something huge. But that’s not the case and it’s no excuse to treat others poorly or say hurtful things but if someone you love is hurting and they uncharacteristically wound you, extend grace and love them anyway.

Pray. I’ve heard it said somewhere before that when we get to Heaven and we truly understand the power of prayer we will wish we had done it a whole lot more. There is so much more going on in any given situation that we can’t possibly know or understand. But God? He sees and knows it all. He can provide the comfort and peace that people are seeking and all we have to do as loved ones is ask. So pray. Pray as you write letters or texts or while you are sitting with your person. Pray when they have wounded you, pray for their heart as well as for your own. Pray for healing or restoration or mercy or whatever it is that they need to see them through. If you don’t know what they need then ask God to meet their needs whatever they may be.

Everyone wants to be seen, to know that whatever they are going through that they are not alone and that they are loved. I have been given lots of opportunities lately to Show Up, Extend Grace and Pray. We are all still facing our own trials as we extend ourselves to others and I don’t do it perfectly but I so desperately want those that are in my life to know that they are seen.

What about you? In what ways do you let the people in your life know that they are seen?

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  1. Kristy Newport says

    Love you FFB (Friend from birth!)! Thanks for seeing me too!

  2. I love that Tiffany, Show Up, Extend Grace and Pray. When make that deliberate first step to show up, we are not just talking about it we are doing it and in the process that person knows that person that they are seen and even though we don’t always know how to help we are there.

  3. Show up. Extend grace. Pray.

    Sounds like a good solution to just about anything!

  4. Tiffany, I am in Michele Cushatt Undone Together group. I attended an If:gathering local here in Texas.
    I had breast cancer 17 years ago a the age of 45.
    I loved you post. It made me see a few things I need to do. Thank you

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