I have the privilege of writing with amazing women at The Mom Initiative, women like Melinda Means. Melinda is a writer who shares her brokenness in a way that reaches out and touches your soul.
Her book, Invisible Wounds, is a peak into the world of her personal pain and how God has walked with her through it. I saw myself in so much of her story and I think you will, too. It’s on sale right now (only until Wednesday) for 99 cents, it’s a steal!!
She has graciously allowed me to share an excerpt of her new book with you, so enjoy!
I’ll never forget it.
Even all these years later, it still gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
We were on a family vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My daughter Molly was four
and my son Micah was a toddler. A slew of young families were staying at the hotel and enjoying
the beautiful beaches. My very social daughter was thrilled to have a never-ending supply of
On our last day, the beach was so crowded that we struggled to find a patch of sand to
spread out our beach blanket. Still, we decided to squeeze in a few, final precious moments by
the water before we headed for the long, looooong (did I mention long?) ride home with small
Finally, it was time to go. My husband Mike began to pack up our stuff. I told Molly to put her
toys in the beach bag, and then turned around for a moment to tend to Micah.
When I turned back around Molly was gone.
Nowhere to be found. Where was she? How would we find her? Had someone taken her? My heart started racing. I quickly went into
full panic mode. I grabbed Micah and walked around, frantically yelling her name. Mike started
searching in the opposite direction. Soon other people began to join us in the search.
Then, suddenly, mercifully, there she was. She had noticed one of her favorite playmates a
little further down the beach and dashed off to say goodbye—completely unaware of all the
commotion she had caused.
As careful as we are as parents, we can’t keep our eyes on our children every moment. It’s
even far more difficult to see what’s happening inside their hearts and minds. The same is true of
how others see us. As close as we may be to friends and family, they often don’t see the real us.
Parts of ourselves are sometimes too raw, dark, or embarrassing to reveal.
Our Creator sees it all. Every part of us. Every thought, every hurt, every unspoken desire.
His loving eye is always on us. He knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. Those
painful places we don’t want anyone else to see? Those hopes, fears, and doubts we don’t dare
utter? He wants to meet us there.
In Genesis 16, God saw a woman named Hagar in the midst of her pain and despair. God
had promised Abraham a child who He would make into a great nation. When years passed and
his wife, Sarai, was old and still not pregnant, she suggested Abraham have a child with her
maidservant, Hagar. When Hagar became pregnant, she suddenly felt superior to Sarai—perhaps
more favored by God—and routinely disrespected her. In pain and retaliation, Sarai mistreated
Hagar so badly that she finally ran away.
As she wandered in the wilderness, Hagar most likely felt alone, fearful, and hopeless. She
finally spotted a place of physical refreshment. That is where God met her: “The angel of the
Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness …” (Gen. 16:7 NLT).
It’s in the “wilderness” of our circumstances, either ones beyond our control or those partly or
entirely of our own making, that we most readily believe that God has lost sight of us. He must
have turned away for a moment and lost us in the crowd.
Maybe we feel we don’t deserve for Him to see or help us. In truth, the wilderness is often
where God wants to reveal Himself to us most sweetly. I love what Hosea 2:14 says: “Therefore
I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” (NIV)
The angel of the Lord heard Hagar’s cry of distress. Many scholars believe this angel was
God, in the Person of Jesus Christ. He assured her that He would take care of her and her unborn
son. It would not be easy, but He would give her and her son what they needed. He would create
a great nation from her and her son’s descendants.
It is at the end of her encounter—strengthened, comforted, and hopeful—that Hagar gave
God the name, El Roi, or “The God Who Sees”: “… She said, ‘You are the God who sees me.’
She also said, ‘Have I truly seen the One who sees me?’” (Gen. 16:13 NLT)
When God sees us, it’s not simply observational. It doesn’t mean He just knows where we are.
When God “sees” us in our pain and misery, it is a supremely loving act. He desires to
extend His overwhelming love, mercy, and compassion to us.
He wants to comfort and help us in the midst of our quiet desperation and despair.
© Melinda Means. This post includes excerpts from Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re
Hurting. Used with permission.
About Invisible Wounds:
So many of us walk around looking fine. Hidden beneath the surface, however, are deep, painful
physical, spiritual and emotional wounds. We feel isolated in our pain. We feel guilty about the
private doubts we have about God and His goodness. We live alone with our invisible wounds.
In this book, Melinda draws from her long history with chronic illness—hers and her son’s—and
also shares the stories of seven brave, beautiful women who reveal their hidden hurts.
Throughout its pages, she tackles the tough spiritual questions and dark, raw emotions that
accompany suffering and illuminates the path that leads to hope that heals.
Melinda Means is a weary soul in need of refreshment from the only Source who can quench our
thirst. After years of chronic pain and questioning God’s plan, she has found the joy of seeking
the Healer more than the healing. She is a professional speaker and writing coach at Revealed
Coaching, as well as co-author of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for
You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015). Her website is melindameans.com.