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Invisible Girl


Invisible girl

In a visible world

Masked by her fears

Shrouded by her loneliness

Camouflaged by her pain

But she’s there—inside—

Under the layers

Peel them back

Find her.

Dare to find her.

Don’t let her scare you away.


She’s underneath it all


And she’s quiet but strong

Shy, but smart

Sad, but joyful

And she wants to be your loyal friend

If you’ll just be her mediocre one

Invisible girl

In a visible world

Have you found her?

Have you even looked?


CjZ

Circa 2008/2009


Growing up in the 1970's had its perks. Toys in cereal boxes were one such perk. The absolute best toy came in the Post Super Sugar Crisp box as the

. Oh, that would be the INVISIBLE INK MONSTER PEN. Not only was I a budding writer in June of 1978, but I was also ten years old and an aspiring detective the likes of Charlie's Angels (original). To be able to pen secret messages to my fellow angel friends, that took it next level for me and my fifth-grade besties.


I was always enamored with the idea of being invisible.

Mrs. Hansen, my beautiful blonde fifth-grade teacher, read aloud The Littles every day after recess. The Little family lives in the walls of the Bigg family's house, virtually invisible to them as they co-exist and sneak necessary provisions, matchbox dresser drawers and eavesdrop on conversations. My imagination grew wealthy and rich as I considered the adventure of living life undetectable. I was keenly aware that I felt little and small like the characters who lived behind walls.


Unsurprisingly, 1970's children: the formidable Gen X sandwiched between Boomers and Millennials is typified as the 'forgotten' generation, the 'lost' generation;

the 'invisible' generation.


I was always enamored with the idea of being invisible.


That is, until I was rendered invisible by a society that struggles to recognize and denies the existence of sexual abuse in Christian environments. We are a culture that minimizes and callously avoids the stark realities of intimate partner violence. Women's stories are ignored. Police do not act. Family does not get involved. Traditionally-- almost liturgically, church communities have had zero skillsets to decode the invisible signs that seem painfully obvious to survivor circles. So many women fade into the woodwork behind the walls of Bigg people everywhere that have no earthly idea 'we' survivors exist. It's often as if we are writing our stories with our MONSTER PEN of INVISIBLE INK.


Sometimes, we are not surviving. Sometimes, we need the splash of water to give us color. We need visibility in this self-preoccupied society. We need some angel detectives to notice, to care, to uncover the stories we've written in back allies or back seats or backwoods or backhandedly. Or, these secret stories were written to us or for us, unwittingly. It sure would be nice to be seen. The demographic of those currently or formerly abused is daunting. One in 3. One in 4. One in 5. You can find national statistics here. I am keenly aware that I am a statistic and that many of my readers are as well.


This poem was born in the aftermath of my revealing the INVISIBLE INK MONSTER MESSAGE of Mr. Magoo's actions against me to his employer and larger governing body. The significance of this, primarily, because he worked with children. Some friendships became strained, some friends just didn't understand by no fault of their own and an important extended family member was unrelatedly and arbitrarily punishing me with the silent treatment. For several years. Nothing communicates one's invisibility more than the silent treatment. It is likely the very loneliest time of my life. So few knew my invisible story--to this day, very few know what the ink written on my heart said or meant during that time. I was no longer enamored with the idea of being invisible. I was keenly aware that when others don't see you, you can't make them see you. They have to look. No matter what you are willing to reveal, invisibility is solved by seeing the other. By being seen, we come alive with hope.


The story of Zacchaeus has long been my favorite childhood Bible story. He was short. I was a short little kid. (still short, btw) He was avoided and hated by a good many of his peers because he was a tax collecting scoundrel. I had a host of school bullies and mean kids on the bus or those who avoided me. But Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Jesus spoke to his littleness, He invited Himself to tea behind the walls of Zacchaeus' home and he changed the man forever.


Jesus saw me. He spoke to my invisibility and my littleness. Jesus invited Himself into my heart behind the walls I erected, and He changed me forever. He looked for me in my loneliness. I am keenly aware that He made me come alive with hope.


The story of Hagar is my favorite Bible story as an adult. Hagar is alone in the hot desert. Contemptuously banished from the big house by her unborn child's biological father and his wife-the very ones who made her a pregnant slave-mother, she was a runaway. It is there in that desolate place that God sees her, affirms her intrinsically sacred existence and makes her a promise.


Hagar, a non-Israelite, a woman with no power or status, is the first person in Scripture to be visited by an angel and the only person in Scripture to give God a name—El Roi, “the God who sees me.” In the midst of her pain and struggle, Hagar receives God’s blessing and promises. 
This is all good news for those of us who are less than perfect, who wander in desert places, who weep over the consequences of our own decisions, and who are victims of abuse or rejection. It is among those such as Hagar that Jesus is to be found, ready to meet us at the place of despair when it seems that God is absent or that God’s promises are false. God comes to us in wilderness places. Hagar, as much as Abraham and Sarah, is a model of faith that we can learn from. She shows us where to find God. Rev. Grace Rohrer

Do you see it? How small and insignificant she must have felt--like she held such little importance to anyone?! Like she didn't ask for this. But she is visited by an angel--an angel decoding her feelings of invisibility; an angel revealing her secret sufferings. In that space, she marvels that God is 'the God who sees' and names her child, Ishmael meaning 'the God who hears.'


God sees me. He hears me. In all those moments I feel the contempt of others, when I want to run away, when I feel like I didn't ask for 'this', and yes--when I feel invisible, God sees. I am never invisible to Him. He is always searching, always sending angels, always making promises and always bringing me into intrinsically sacred existence. If I write my story with MONSTER INVISIBLE INK, Jesus will see it.


To be visible, 1978 INVISIBLE INK from a monster pen (dug out of a Post cereal box) had to have water splashed on it to reveal the message. It was not like the movies. There was a significant chance that your message was a water-logged piece of paper with traces of very faded ink that never revealed the whole content of what you wrote. It was cool in theory, but it had practical limitations. This tickles me. Charlie's Angels detectives needed finer equipment than that silly old pen. In The Littles, the Bigg family had no sleuthing skills to know that an entire Little family lived within their walls. They were clueless to the parallel stories lived out within feet of them.


It is my belief that the Lord will bring buckets and buckets of water to splash onto our camouflaged places of pain. I believe Jesus will bring all of Himself to see our suffering and see us--as we were, as we are and as we will be-- because He sees. He notices.

He cares. Hagar's God is my God. I am enamored by this Great God. I am keenly aware He steps into secret childhood stories. I am keenly aware He steps into our secret adulthood stories. I am keenly aware we are not forgotten, ghosted, gaslighted or estranged by Him. He invites us in. He comes for tea. He sends angels. He draws near. He speaks. It is His name and His nature to see us.


May we mimic this God, the God who sees, as we look out at a world with invisible stories. May we be curious detectives, angels unaware, who bring visibility to marginalized people in our culture--people you know facing sufferings of every kind. There are statistics walking among you. Be an angel, notice. Be like Jesus, see them.


If you feel invisible today, I see you.

Better, God sees you.

He is keenly aware of you.


The God Who Sees

How can I believe

That I am loved by

‘The God who Sees’

Like the woman at the well

My story to tell

That He sees me as Hagar

Alone in the desert, scarred.


Who am I to imagine

That He is mindful of me

A woman caught in sin

Like the women of old

Surprised by the cup of water, cold

The God Who Sees

The God Who Sees


Unconvinced God is for me

Unsure He ever hears my prayers

I wrestle with eternal fears

But He is ‘El Roi’—

God Who Sees

In the dark places

In the desert

At the well

In sin, In the Spirit.

He sees

He sees.


He knows my name

He sees each tear

He is not partial

He really does Hear.

His Spirit, for each one

In this family—set free

The God Who Sees.


CjZ

Circa 2008/2009


The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth

in order to strengthen those

whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

2 Chronicles 16:9a


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