When No One Sees But God {And Gratitude In Pictures}

Quietly, soft worship lullabies playing in the background, I write scripture on the board for my girls to copy.

Before I can finish a sentence, one already needs me for a math question, and I move around and hover, serving their needs, quieting this one that blurts out words that cut, instructing another one how to find and keep up with her pencil, and helping yet another little one settle down with crayons so her older sisters can focus on the tasks at hand.

And no one sees this–it is just a grace that enevelops and I know His presence consumes.

There is no need for approval from man when you are right in the lap of the Father.

.


 

Fellowship and growing in the word with the body of Christ are things we’ve wanted. But it has been elusive and just isn’t something God has allowed at this point in our lives for some reason. It’s been a long season.

And if I’m being honest, I’m envious of others who have that. But I’m not alone in my aloneness. I know others have these same questions, these same lonely feelings, these same burnings and groanings. We are in a season right now, not in growing in the word, or revelation, but in our deeds, serving, our behavior, attitudes, and sins and idols of the heart.

 












This is not a work of our own hands, our own will–only grace can do this work–only His spirit and sometimes the Spirit groans and travails within our souls in words that are hard to describe, hard to verbalize or even secretly etch out onto paper.










I hesitantly, very timidly try to tap it out here, not knowing if I can even understand it myself, or if I can rightly convey these groanings.

 
 

Sometimes the Spirit within is longing for heaven, for something altogether different, something eternal, and all those fleshly things–they churn hard within, the mind and weak nature not knowing what to do with those things. And so the Spirit groans. I ache.

The temptation is to fill it with things that won’t suffice. And I forget and in my earthly skin, I fill and fill and still, I’m empty, this body of death holding nothing but decay for me.

 

Like a woman birthing and wild with pain, God is weeding so much out and doing such a pulling, tearing, hard work. Everyday we become more and more like what he wants us to be. Are we finally becoming in our home as we want to be? With no one watching, no one knowing, not even family–because in our isolation no one sees–no one except us and God.

He is the only one that sees. and that is what makes it so hard and it is also what makes it so real and rewarding. There is no body of other believers seeing our works, our good attitudes and servanthood–and cheering us on– no pastor encouraging us and saying “well done”, not even really any family visiting to take part in the fruits God may have lavished upon our home.

 
 

 
 

The girls and I talk about the scripture scribbled in bright colors across a white board in morning light–how Jesus said we shouldn’t do things to be seen by men, to not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, to do it for our Father in Heaven, that He who is not seen may see our good works and reward us in Heaven. He warned that those who do good works for men to see have already received their reward in full and will receive none in heaven.

This convicts me and lets me know I’m on the right path and where I have erred.

Right before Husband gets home, we stop everything and clean up and wipe counters, put dishes in dishwasher and light candles. He walks in from seven grueling 16 1/2 hour days and says he forgot the prize at the store, but the girls ask if they still get to do their presentation tonight of what they’re learning for their Daddy. He says, Of course, I want you to do it for me, and I will bring your prize home from work tomorrow!

We have dinner together at the table because we all desire togetherness, and when it’s neglected, we wander blindly and falter, and can’t find any sure thing. And we gravitate back towards what holds us like glue–truth–the sanctity of this holy moment of togetherness, of giving thanks. This is a miracle–a true miracle of grace.

It is so much easier to fullfill our fleshly desires than to be selfless and loving and to sit with one another and to talk, and discipline kids when they dont want to sit or eat, and listen to stories and give and share. We read the bible at the table each night, but it isnt always pleasant. I find it difficult to sit still, to just be with them, to take in all the noise, to be gentle and patient, put simply–to love. And I ache.

I ache for all the moments I miss because I’m selfish and yet I can’t seem to discipline my body and my mind to just still while He sings over me, to just be all here, right now, wherever and however He has asked it of me. It is hard, and awkward, and brings up sin out of all of us–just maybe this is the very purpose.

We all clap and cheer and holler like a bunch of sillies hell-bent on love for each precious grace-daughter as she stands up and recites her memory work. There are smiles all around as my three daughters bow and their Daddy laughs deep baratone. Run off and brush your teeth, I tell them.

They all scurry away to bed and just for a moment I forget the ache.

I sit in the nursery rocker while Husband sleeps and the house moans, the girls sleepy heads all in beds and the quiet I have longed for all day is finally here. I rock my toddler baby girl, and as I sing about God’s greatness, the God-head three in one, Father, Spirit and Son, the Lion and the Lamb, the soft tones of Isabella’s favorite worship song waft over to her bed a few feet away, the “God Song”, she calls it and I haven’t been at all perfect this day–actually I’ve been a downright wretch of a sinner–and somehow His grace just envelops and none of it matters.

There is only us and God watching from above. It is very lonely but oh so hallowed, sacred and holy. So quiet, more reflecting his heart than anything I’ve ever known. More peace in our home abounds than ever before.

Oh yeah, there are times screams pierce and words cut deep, but I know He has us. I know His presence consumes everything.

I know I’m safe in His lap and okay just being me, the child He’s rocking so tightly.

Gratitude in pictures:

 
#917…A Daddy and a daughter growing fast
 
 
#918…Two sisters who love one another…
 
 
#919… Laughter…

 
#920…her hair ablaze with light…
 
 
#921…  a shaft of light…
 
 
#922… Lilly pretending to be a puppy at the table…
 
 
 
#923… Innocence of a child…

 
#924 Baby girl pulling Daddy on to jump too…
 
 
#925… Little one who insists her Mama jump with her!
 
 
926…her beauty…
 
 
#927…her humor…
 
 
#928…them wrapped up in sun…perfection to this Mama’s eyes…
 
 
#929… her wisps, her lashes, her cheeks…
 
 
#930…sunset on the beach, another season ending, another season full of opportunity on the way…
 

**Friends, your comments mean so much to me–they soul-drench me in grace and minister to me. And your prayers mean even more. I am not able to answer each comment–I am probably wrestling a mountain of laundry, or baby girl who apparently thinks freedom means clothes-free; teaching a Classical Conversations lesson, cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, reading a good book with my kids in the hammock, {or dancing to hip-hop with them while they roll their eyes}, out running, having a glass of wine with Husband, or lying in a warm bath just trying to breathe, friend! I hope you understand? Thank you in advance for grace. If you are reading this, you are awesome and I already love you! Head here to get to know me better and to read why during this season of life, I am just quietly writing, and not visiting via social media as much….

** Thank you for so, so much grace, friends. My heart cannot express in mere words,  my gratefulness.
Still counting and joining in community with sweet Ann and others…

 

*Photos in post: Lorna and Ivy sketching Leif the Lucky…
All four girls very busy…
Lorna working on her history sketch…
Solemn Isabella …
Reading in the hammock…
Husband reading bible…
Toys on nursery floor…
Shaft of light on wooden floor…
Girls hovered over a lizard…
Heads huddled up…
Ants in tree bark on a nature walk…
Lilly napping…
Playing with a balloon…
The Lord’s Prayer…
Playing with favorite ponies…
Girls fingerpainting…
Masterpiece…
Early American History–Individuality…
Bella’s art…
Lilly’s art…
Family around the table on a day Husband was home…

Linking with L.L…

On In Around button

 
Still counting and joining in community with sweet Ann and others…







 

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32 thoughts on “When No One Sees But God {And Gratitude In Pictures}”

  1. I really soaked in your heart here. I love to hear it, and to hear your thoughts on the grace God has given you and your family. What beautiful growth, the fullness of these moments and thoughts that you continue to capture with your words and beautiful, beautiful photography. What gifts God has given… to give Himself to you, as you live and love and walk and breathe Him in, together.
    I can hear the things you cannot say with words, I know exactly what you mean. God is teaching me so much through all the things I'm taking in right now that I cannot put into words. I'm learning about the peace and joy found in quiet gratitude before Him… it is a place I feel like I'm learning about for the first time.
    I love you, this was beautiful. ❤

  2. That ache is one I know. And I ache with you and rejoice with you all at once- knowing that you are being stretched and sanctified and also smothered with grace and crowned with beauty. Keep living for an audience of One- He's all that matters. Blessings to you and your sweet girls.

  3. Hey there sweet friend…holy ache indeed…when we do have these seasons of lonely times…this is where we can find a deeper abiding…build a deeper friendship with the ONE who never leaves or forsakes…the One who stick closer than a brother…He sees you…He hears you…He loves you…and I think He finds great pleasure in seeing you pour your heart out to Him…so you can pour your life out for your family…all else pales compared to this. I love the picture of innocence…and you jumping with your girl. ((hugs)) to you my friend~

  4. I'm with you in a season of fellowship poverty, without family or community to do life with. It's lonely and some days I'm not sure why it is this way. But like you I'm pressing into Him, enjoying the silence for awhile. You said it well.

  5. I echo Ro's comment. She has such wisdom and a beautiful heart, doesn't she? This hard lonely place is also a glorious place, because He draws near. You writing, as usual, is just flowing with grace and beauty.

    Blessings to you, beautiful friend.

  6. Ah, friend.
    I have been thinking so much about lonliness lately — and now I come upon this.

    While I don't have exactly the same circumstance as you, mine is a lonliness that co-exists with being “peopled.” We are in a fellowship where we feel very isolated for various reasons, even though there are many others around who love Jesus. (My hubby works those ridiculously long days, too, AND we homeschool. I think that adds to the feeling of confinement sometimes.)

    But, really, I guess we are all lonely, aren't we? Nouwen calls it part of the human condition. A wound called lonliness. Your post was a beautiful example of what happens when we let the wound draw us to the Healer. And let Him be enough.

    Thank you for your candid honesty. And your gorgeous pics.

  7. I so enjoyed this snapshot into your daily life, and into your heart. Oh, yes, this loneliness. I get that. I can go days with very little interaction outside of my own family. It didn't used to be that way, but because of time and life circumstances, it just sort of happened. Sometimes, I forget how much I miss community, until a moment like we had on Labor Day night with that one long table in the yard. We do need fellowship, but it's not always easy to make it happen this side of Heaven.

  8. I read your blog often . I've been in this season for almost 21/2 years. my walk with God has become so close in thease years. It has really forced me to press into Him daily. To trust Him fully.Something I never would have done in the place I used to be. Its hard some days , but thats when I press in closer and harder. I dont subscribe but I visit often on wednsdays for God Bumps. It refreshes me and gives me a window into others who share my desire to know Him better.

  9. “I ache for all the moments I miss because I'm selfish and yet I can't seem to discipline my body and my mind to just still while He sings over me, to just be all here, right now, wherever and however He has asked it of me. It is hard, and awkward, and brings up sin out of all of us–just maybe this is the very purpose.” Right there with you, friend. Maybe it really is His purpose. Aren't you glad that He knows our hearts even when we can't put into words our groanings?

  10. I know this place, of quietness and ache and loneliness. And I love how you push on towards Him, knowing He sees you, holding you all so lovingly, perfectly. I love how you rest there with Him, knowing, more than anything that yes, you are seen. And oh, how He smiles. Bless you, Nacole. Thank you for the beauty you share and offer up with such grace and wisdom.

  11. we are not alone in our aloneness. this is a theme that seems to be permeating nearly everything my wife and i come across lately. it feels like God is reminding us that we are not guaranteed the life we think we deserve, but we are guaranteed that he will never leave us, and that others are journeying alongside.

    thanks for the gentle (and much needed) reminder…

  12. You and your girls are beautiful. I loved reading your heart here and I connect with so many of your thoughts and feelings. “Like a woman birthing and wild with pain, God is weeding so much out and doing such a pulling, tearing, hard work.” This speaks so perfectly into what He is doing in my life now too, and someone reminded me this week that the birthing brings NEW LIFE, God is doing a new thing! Praying that for you too!

  13. Beauty captures in photo's and words. My family was in that place of isolation a few years back, we went through many tough times physical and mental, emotional…but the spiritual grew like nothing else -a beautiful garden life…God walked us through and the whispers of the Spirit kept us going. Keep going :0)….the coccoon only lasts for so long before you break into the light.

  14. Those seasons of isolation, the places where things aren't always quite right, we grow in them quiet and graceful, don't we? Prayers for you and your family as you keep finding your footing, do those goodnesses to one another not to be seen by man. He sees and He delights in all these truths and the gratitude. Thanks for your open heart all over the page here. It blesses.

  15. oh girl. i was so moved by this post. there is such grace and beauty and light in your life, and your words are exactly what i needed to hear tonight. you are not alone. we're here with you. and God is there, among you. this is so very evident.

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