Thursday, May 22, 2008


This is rather a long post, with no pictures. However, I wanted to remember this and perhaps it will be an encouragement to someone else in the drudgery of peanut butter sandwiches and laundry. I received it as an email from my husband. He prefaced it with a thank you and that he sees and understands the sacrifices I am making for our family. Wow, sometimes I feel I've sacrificed but at other times I feel I have the best of it all. But it did cause me to remember that reading Good Night Moon for the umpteenth time, making sure my daughter eats the right breakfast, packing lunches (which I really don't like), putting away another load of laundry, and etc, is more important than the knitting on the couch that hasn't been touched and the book that hasn't had the cover cracked in a week. It also caused me to remember that reading my Bible daily and constant vigilance in prayer is the only way I'll have the wisdom to aid in building those cathedrals that point upward and be invisible.
Here it is...may it encourage you as well:
I'm Invisible. It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please." I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and theeyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa *** laude- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, and she's gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees." In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will becovered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied,"Because God sees." I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become." At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. Great Job, MOM!


  1. Wow, Debby...just WOW! I just finished reading your post and am so touched and humbled and inspired by it. I'm sharing it with my daughter (mom of two little ones)

    I am glad that God gave you that little boost and inspiration just when you needed it most...and glad, too, that you shared it with us!

    Cary at Serenity Farms (from the Christian Artisans list)

  2. Those feelings of being invisible are shared by many woman... most efforts aren't noticed until they have to be picked up by another in the family ....then it seems our worth is realized :o)
    Hubby had to pick up lots of chores when I had back surgery...He now appreciates and sees everything I've done that he now has to do .....

  3. I haven't read that before, but it's wonderful. I remember being told by a quite elderly friend at a point when I was a harried, tired, young mother of two children in diapers, "The hand that rocks the cradle, changes the world." When I most wanted to give up, sit down, and cry, that came back to me and gave me the strength to go just one more day.

  4. This is the first time I have ever been to your blog and I absolutely have been ministered to by the "Invisible" post. Thank you for sharing. DH and I are missionaries. However, I have several physical problems that keep me from being active at our place of work. Instead, I am home, totally out of the "ministry" and doing quiet things. Invisible. But this post certainly helps to keep things in perspective. And is so true. Even tho we are not in the forefront, God sees. And that is what is important.

  5. Thank you for this post. There are definitely days I feel invisible but now I don't mind so much.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing that.
    It came to me at a time when I needed it the most (of course, is it ever any other way?)
    I recently took in my 8 year old Granddaugther during the week so that her Mother could go back to school.
    I changed my work schedule and my home schedule in order to take care of her.
    I have had selfish thoughts a few times when I would have rather been knitting or reading.
    Reading this post has really given me a whole new perspective on what I am doing and why.
    Again, thank you and God Bless

  7. Wow! I know I'm repeating Cary's first word but I just couldn't help myself. I accidently came upon your name in a new sock knitting group tonight and thought I'd check out your blog. I, too, am a Christian. I've done things backwards compared to you : been at home for 25 years, now working outside the home since the nest has emptied. Loved this post!!! I can relate to it as I reflect on the years I was home.

    knitteang on ravelry