Hidden

Psalm 22:24
“For He has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted neither has He hidden His face from him, but when he cried to Him, He heard.” (Amplified Bible)

Have you ever felt invisible?

Have you ever wondered if your voice was heard? Have you ever wondered if you had drawn the short straw? Said the wrong thing? Were born at the wrong time? Have you ever been knocked down and got back up again, dusted yourself off and started again? Have you ever believed that the year ahead of you would be the best year? The one you’ve been waiting for, all of your life? Have you ever wondered why, when you seem to be doing everything right why nothing turned out at all?

Have you ever felt invisible?

I woke up early the other day, as is my habit, it seems. In my dream like state I could see the children I teach getting off the floor holding their reward books that they had filled with stickers, walking mesmerized towards their trays where these books are stored. Some of them were sniffing the pages because they had reached the highest honor, the ‘scratch and sniff’ sticker status and they were showing their peers, discussing the scent, counting the squares until they would get one again.

As I boiled the kettle I thought about the children who still sat upright on the floor waiting to be noticed, waiting to be rewarded, waiting for their seal of approval from me. We just want to belong don’t we? We want our names to be connected with success, we want to be encouraged and we want to fit in. We don’t want to be sidelined, reprimanded, taken out, sent to another room.

When your daughter gets diagnosed with a life threatening illness it feels like you have been taken out for good. You can’t do what you used to do. You no longer conform to the social delights that life used to offer.

Instead you sit by her bed, you watch her hair fall out, you watch her face change from the effects of prednisone, you see the texture of her skin change, you watch the tremors in her hands, you see the elasticity leave her skin through sudden weight loss, you watch her try to make herself look pretty when she goes out with friends, you listen to her slurred words, you watch as sheer exhaustion prevents her from going out at all, you pray to God that the three days without a memory are just a passing thing induced by drugs, you pray that the paralyzed vocal cords miraculously vibrate again, you pray that all the attacks against her somehow make her stronger and that she never gives up the fight.

Everyday your heart breaks a little bit more as you wonder how much longer, how much further, how much more you will loose.

You watch others make their way to the teacher to get another sticker. You ask them for a smell. You tell them it’s beautiful and you think, “Wow, they really must be good to be rewarded like that.” Sometimes you feel like you might just disappear altogether.

As I pour the boiling water over my tea bag I decide to investigate the sticker books. To try to discover if I have overlooked anyone and if I have I will make amends. I will show them that I’ve seen them, embraced the individual gifts that they bring to my room.

I shared this with Sam. We love to talk about the children, the psychology of the classroom, the changes in the curriculum since she was at school.

“I was never a ‘stand out’ she tells me. I was always just average. I never got student of the week, a citizenship award, a most improved or an academic achievement award.”

“I’m the same,” I tell her. “I’m average too.”

All week long I have been thinking about value and conformity. Why do we value the assembly line, the cookie cutter, the simple, compliant life? Why do we embrace the status quo? Weren’t we designed to be world changers?

Deep inside me, under layers of disappointments, under the sting of regret, beneath the pressure of grief, a flame flickers. It never goes out. I can feel the heat as it burns inside me. It is strong in hope and even the anguish of my tears cannot put out this flame.

I’m watching through the lens of my life and I can see that I was never compliant really. Even on my first day of school I was placed on the time out chair at the front of the room. I’ve never really just accepted what they told me was true. I liked to investigate and know for myself. I came to salvation through investigating and I have never looked back since that day in my bedroom when I was 17. That day I surrendered my life, it was real.

My passion for God has caught me out at times. I’ve been opinionated, I’ve been out spoken, and I’ve let me get in the way. I have kids like that in my class. They call out instead of listening, they forget to put up their hand and I remind them that it isn’t helpful to the rest of the class if they continue to stand up and speak out of turn. To be honest, I like these kids. I think that they might be world changers and so I tell them I understand that it’s hard, I give them another chance to conform.

Like them, I wonder if God might be teaching me to behave as well. Maybe He is just waiting for me to sit still long enough to hear His wisdom. Maybe He is preparing me for the day when my voice can be heard. Maybe He is taking my life and coating the pain with grace like honey, sweet to taste.

Maybe he’ll make a line through the ‘get it perfectly right kids,’ the good kids at the front, maybe one day I’ll have something worth saying, something worth listening to, a message that doesn’t sound like me at all.

L.B. Cowman writes: “John the Baptist never performed a miracle, but Jesus said of him. “Among those born of women there is no one greater.” (Luke 7:28). His mission was to be a ‘witness to the light.’ (John 1:8). John was content to be only a voice if it caused people to think of Christ.
Be willing to be only a voice that is heard but not seen or a mirror whose glass the eye cannot see because it is reflecting the brilliant glory of the Son. Be willing to be a breeze that arises just before daylight, saying, “The dawn! The dawn!” and then fades away.”

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11 Comments

Filed under Life

11 responses to “Hidden

  1. I need to let you in on a liiiiiittle secret! Come close so I can whisper. Actually, call Sam over also, it’s OK for her to hear. It is true for her as well. Are you ready?

    You are so not average. Average, I think, would be the LAST word I would ever use to describe you. I’d probably start with beautiful. Amazing. Strong, brave. Faithful, graceful, grace-filled.

    & you know what? You already do have something worth saying; worth listening to. Oh your voice, I am SO thankful to God for your voice. I’m so not good with words a lot of the time (this is one of those times)…but mmm. I would be in a very different place if it weren’t for your voice, your words, your song. God is using you, He’s got you all covered. He is so good.

    “See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10).

    As for the kids who can’t put their hand up to save themselves, who spend longer in time-out than at their desks, who have more paper pick ups than play times…I like them too! Such spunk. I was always the ‘good girl’, the super achiever, top of the class. & it was overrated. Completely overrated. I like to take lessons from B these days. He has way more fun 🙂

    Lots of love xx

    • Clare Froggatt

      Thanks Katie,

      I don’t think being top of the class was overrated for you at all. It is clear to me that you were brilliant at school, as you are now. You writings are those of a gifted genius, maybe I’m selfish but I am glad you were a high achiever so I can be inspired by your words.

      I was only a high achiever in english class, drama and debating but in maths and science I had so much fun I hardly learned a thing. I am glad that learning has changed since I was at school. That activities are hands on, that creative expression are encouraged.

      Thankyou for believing in me. I agree whole heartedly about Sam. She is a living legend and I watch that each day in awe of how she keeps moving forward with such grace and dignity. I have been blessed with three incredible children. For this I am completely grateful.

      Love Clare

  2. Wendy Gilbert

    I totally agree with the response above. There is not thing Average about you and Sam. You are a voice even when you are silent. We are all listening and watching.

    It was also very encouraging. On the odd occasion (well maybe a little more often than the odd occasion), I did like to speak out of turn, particularly in high school. Maybe I can change the world also. Isn’t it funny how we need order and conformity in the world but we also need those who will put their hand up when no one else will.

    Keep putting to paper, the things that are in the depths of hearts.

    Love to all the Froggatts.

    Wendy

    • Clare Froggatt

      Thank you Wendy, I have no doubt you will be a world changer, that in fact you already are. I am excited to watch what opens for you in the coming months and years. I look forward to reading your words as well. (Note to self: I must call you this week)

      Love to you all

      Clare

  3. Melissa Enomoto

    I completely agree too.. I treasure your words Clare, I always have. They have imparted something of eternal significance in my life. We honour you, and I have a sneaky suspicion that God does, too! 🙂
    Though I know the feeling of the hidden place, and how grateful I am for the way that God forms gold through the fire.. Such grace!
    xx

    • Clare Froggatt

      Dear Melissa, I am thankful for the season we had to ‘do life together,’ all those years ago. How blessed I am to find your words now on my blog in the most difficult season of my life. How was I to know all those years ago that I would have to apply the words I preached to my congregation the way I have in the last 13 months to my personal world. His words are definitely strong enough to withstand the fire, He walks with us in it, never leaving or forsaking us. Thankyou Melissa, I know you have had trials as well. It is so wonderful to encourage one another as you have done for me today. I appreciate you. Love Clare

  4. Honeybee

    Very beautiful, insightful wonderings. Its all a bit of a mystery really. But God. We are with you all the way & are inspired by Sam’s courage & your strength. M.

  5. Clare! Wow!! Your writing is so inspiring me to be, not who others want me to be, but to be who God wants me be. In high school its really hard to stand out with a love for God, but when I read writing like this, it inspires me and reminds how decided I would come to this world…. God! If it wasn’t for Him, i wouldn’t be here now and if I do ‘conform to the ways of this world’ how can I stand out FOR Him.
    Thanks,
    Bec

  6. Sandy Foster

    Thanks so much Clare – what a beautiful piece of writing. I always feel so personally touched by your words. Your message always touches something so deep in my own heart. I think there are so many people who struggle with that “just average” feeling, and experience an existence where they feel hidden and unnoticed like their life isn’t important.

    I too agree with the comments above – I think of you as extraordinary, in every sense of the word. One who always makes others feel important, cherished and loved. A world changer. What a gift you have.

    I love it how your light and your flame shines and burns day and night – always providing warmth, encouragement and insight to those you come into contact with. I have been so blessed your posts each month. So thought provoking – always leading me to Him – to go higher and deeper into the things of God. You truly are a voice that causes others to think of Christ!

    Believing with you and Sam always.

    Thank you. Love you xxx

    P.S. As the mother of a “non-compliant” – I am encouraged again, to lift up my eyes… and see life from His perspective.

    • Clare Froggatt

      Dearest Sandy, It is a selfish thought on my behalf but at the moment your words of encouragement, your smile from across the building, the books and the hugs make you extraordinarily significant in my life. Your words give me wings. Thankyou Clare x

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