Closet Confessions of a Forgotten Mom

I hear their little footsteps coming down the stairs, and I know I have exactly five seconds. Five seconds before the requests begin.

“Mom, I want some milk.” 

“Mom, can I look up something on Amazon?”

“Mom, where is my blue shirt?”

“Mom, I NEED you!”

I spend the rest of the day being needed: Fielding questions, saying no, explaining why I said no, and dishing out instructions. While most days I’m content to act as our family’s chief operating officer, the one who manages the chaos inherent in raising four boys, I sometimes crumble beneath the weight.

One particular Tuesday morning, after I’d been making breakfast, locating school clothes, and kissing my husband as he headed out the door on a business trip, I found myself alone in my closet. I had ten minutes before we needed to leave for school drop-off, so I stopped for a moment to let myself breathe. Air filled my chest, and as I exhaled, the exhaustion overwhelmed me. It was only 8:00 am and already I was wishing I could go back to bed—or better yet, trade places with my husband whose work trip sounded (in my mind) like an all-expense-paid vacation.

I began to cry. My knees hit the floor with a thud, and my face planted in my hands as tears filled my palms. Kneeling next to our dirty laundry, I cried out, “God, why am I always the afterthought? Why must I care so much for everyone else? Will anyone ever take care of me?”

My cries turned to sobs—guttural noises no human should ever make. And when the tears finally ran out and I unraveled the last thread of my self-pity, I wiped my face with the nearest sock.

That’s when I heard it. My knees still plastered to the closet floor, a gentle voice whispered to my soul, “I see you.” Warm familiarity washed over me. I closed my eyes and smiled at God’s nearness. I let those three words sink in. In all my feeling forgotten, I had in fact forgotten God. By taking my eyes off the One who is constant and instead focusing on the struggle, I had allowed myself to get carried away by life’s current, buried beneath the waves of requests.

But as I remembered whose eyes were always watching, whose plans always pursued me, my angst melted away. Like the abused and abandoned Hagar who found God in the desert (Genesis 16), I marveled, “You are El Roi—the God who sees me!”

What once felt burdensome began to crystalize into blessing. With a renewed mind and tranquil heart, I put down the sock-turned-Kleenex and stepped out of the closet ready to be needed yet again—over and over (and over) again.

Those closet confessions transformed something deep inside me that day. The sacredness of that moment still lingers, the Spirit’s words tattooed on my heart: To God, I am not an afterthought. I am seen. And He’s not just throwing me occasional glances, but relentlessly pursuing me every moment of every day. His mercies meet me in the trenches; His watchful gaze is more than enough.

Knowing I am seen helps me see differently. Without my eyes turned inward, I am more ready to give without expectation. With my gaze fixed on God, I have what I need to love untethered, to hand out the grace that I have been given so freely. I can be needed because my need rests in Him.