I might have been about ten years old. I don’t remember the details of the day I hatched a delightful plan to create my own little “hideout” in the back of the bedroom closet I shared with my sister. It was a 3-foot x 3-foot storage area on a raised platform above the stairwell below. So, the clearance might have been a mere 4 feet.
Without asking permission, I began tossing out the stored items that filled that space. I am sure I created quite a mess in the bedroom – one that I, alone, would have the responsibility to rectify once discovered! When the space was cleared, I surprised myself with the stubborn determination and strength to haul our wooden play table and chair up into my new hideout, snake an extension cord from the bedroom outlet, and rummage around to find a small lamp to offer a little light.
It is crazy to think that in that tiny, dark space, with NO natural light (my absolutely non-negotiable “must have” for any home or workspace now!), I couldn’t have been happier! I felt like Thomas Jefferson in the Independence film we had seen a hundred times at the Visitor’s Center in Old Philadelphia – alone in his little row home, secretly writing something bold and daring and yet critically important, by the light of a single candle.
Who knows what wild scenarios I dreamt up to play out in my own little bubble that afternoon. But I distinctly remember deciding that whatever I wrote in that private space also needed to be written backwards! Like the words on the front of an ambulance that can only be deciphered with the help of a mirror. I painstakingly wrote page upon page, all backwards, thinking it would be more difficult for anyone to discover what I was up to.
I was tucked away, in a hideout of my own making, envisioned and created just for me. It was quiet and uninterrupted. I felt protected and excited about whatever new ideas would emerge from that time in my own little bubble.
I haven’t thought about that day in decades. But the ideas presented in my new favorite book, Unseen by Sara Hagerty, took me back to my kid-sized bunker!
In Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed, Sara begins on the flip side of my hideout story, when feeling tucked away, unnoticed, unvalued, misunderstood, or disregarded isn’t so comfortable or desirable. With raw and vulnerable honesty, she shares personal stories of the times those unseen moments were particularly painful – until … she realized there was One pair of eyes that always saw her. She discovered that those Eyes were tender and kind, that the One who not only noticed her in those unseen places, intentionally drew her to them. In secret moments with the Lord, she could begin to ask more important questions than “what do others think of me?” She began to ask her Creator and Savior, “what do You think of me? When You see me, especially when no one else does, what do You see?”
In that private dialogue, her love for the One who sees her grew! Her love for His Words, His heart, and her curiosity to know more about this One who loves her so intimately blossomed into a new hunger. She began to crave hiddenness and the treasures He would give to her in that place. She couldn’t wait to uncover more of the unseen things about the Lord, the glimpses into His heart that were hidden in plain sight in His Word. And she learned to adore Him with those Words, pray those Words, claim those promises. She learned “the weight of prayer in God’s unseen world” and she made a priority to spend more time talking to Him than investing in any other endeavor.
I used to think that a book was “good” when I couldn’t put it down. Now I understand a whole new level of “good” when I NEED to put Unseen down so I can process and pray! Packed with Scripture and bathed in humble, honest prayer, Sara’s raw and vulnerable accounts are captivating and transformative.
I need time to process every time she presents God’s truth that flips the script I have been following. The secret place she has found with the Lord displays a beauty and depth of an eternal reality I long to know more fully too! How thrilling to be seen by my Creator, to be drawn aside into my own private space with Him, to be given eyes to see and know the unseen parts of who He is that enable me to see myself in His light, and to look outward from that place with fresh perspective that is otherworldly – His!
Through her words and her passionate heart for others to find this best kept secret, Sara has taken me by the hand and led me faithfully to Him. And in those moments of new understanding, I find myself in a new posture before the Lord, with new language on my lips (often His Words offered back to Him!), and a new longing that daily sounds like this: “What do YOU see, Lord? Show me YOUR heart for this person, this situation, this new love of just spending time, just me… with YOU.”
It touches me deeply to realize that the Lord, Himself, has been drawing me to this place for a long time. When I started this blog a year and a half ago, He placed these words on my heart:
“In the cover of His Presence He hides those who trust in Him.”
As I have wrestled thoughts and questions and discoveries into words ever since, my growing desire is to share moments when I am “awed by His Person, steadied by His truth, wrapped in His love!” Like Mary at Jesus’ feet, I want to linger with Him, learn from Him, and be directed only by Him.
When I was ten years old, I longed for my very own “tucked away” place. How much sweeter to realize that is exactly what my Savior delights to give me – only better. He hides me within His very presence. He has envisioned and created a safe and protected place – just for me! He welcomes me to enjoy uninterrupted time to learn and grow, to heal and to be renewed – by Him. As I search His Word, He opens my eyes to find new treasures. His Spirit holds up the “mirror” so I can read words that seemed backwards to me before! – so I can be lost in the joy and wonder and security of who He is!
“Your life is safe in the care of the LORD your GOD, secure in His treasure pouch.” I Samuel 25:29
“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
Don’t we all long to be known in this way? Tucked away in a secret place reserved just for us? Protected and molded by the Creator and Redeemer and Lover of our souls?
To my readers, I say: don’t take my word for it. (I believe Sara would say the same!) Start your own journey to (or back to) a secret place with the Lord, just you… with Him!
[If you think Unseen will help you find your way, it is published by Zondervan and is available (starting TODAY!!) at local book stores and through online distributors.]
As Sara says, “Read it slowly – take your time.” Our Savior was never in a hurry. The Father’s plans are exact and eternal and what He longs for you to learn about Him is worth lessons that are slow enough to savor. Place it all at the Savior’s feet, let Him guide you through the work He wants to do in your heart.
It is unique. It is personal. It is sacred.
It is just you… with Him.
Read more here: Psalm 27:8-9 – Psalm 40:16-17 – Psalm 139 – Isaiah 43:1 – Jeremiah 31:3 – Hosea 2:14 – Matthew 11:28-30 – Mark 6:31-44 – Luke 10:42