He Sees You

*This is a repost from the archives, one that I return to again and again*

Today, I want to encourage you to be God’s YOU.

And,what if you feel like you work hard and no one notices? You pour out your heart, your time, your life, and you are not seeing the results that you want.  You feel like no one sees you.  

Well, I want to introduce you to a friend…..

She goes by Tinang Kule, which means simply, “mother of Kule”.  Her real name? I don’t know….I have never heard it.  It, like her personal identity, has been quieted….never to be spoken again.

Her life is given in total sacrifice to others, even her own name is sacrificed and she is known only as the mother of her first-born.  Her day begins early.  She starts the fire to begin cooking so that others might eat.  It is hot and laborious work.

She smiles and sweats.   She is happy that everyone likes her cooking.  The satisfied nods of appreciation are enough for her.

She stokes the fire and carries on.

Task runs into task as she continues to cook and clean, care for and nurture.  She hears the MAF airplane overhead and she rushes to get a brown paper wrapped package full of fried rice for the pilot….my husband.  She is intent on having it there for him when he arrives.  Each day she does this, for whichever pilot might land in her village to serve her people.

She rushes down the dirt road with a thermos full of hot tea and the brown paper package.

I am humbled.

She asks me if I have any laundry.  I sheepishly say yes.  She picks up the bag of filth and we walk to the river.  She crouches down and begins to beat the clothes one by one against a rock, a rhythm of beating and twisting and soaking and twisting again.  I try to help….the kids bathing nearby in the river giggle as I, the white lady, try to do it right.  It is difficult and monotonous. 

I whisper to the mother of Kule, “This is so much work…it doesn’t matter, you don’t need to wash our clothes.”

She replies with a big smile, “Oh no, I love to wash clothes.”

And she means it.

Seriously? She loves to wake up early with the only thing to look forward to is serving? Where is her recognition, her moment in the spotlight? Where is her identity?

She doesn’t even have a name to call her own.  Tears spring to my eyes.  Am I willing to do the same? To go unnoticed? The answer….embarrassingly is no.


Sure I am willing to sacrifice, to serve my family, to go mostly without recognition.  But, there is that little part that wants to be known, to be recognized, to be called by my name.

She smiles and I see Jesus all over her.  His is the name that she is known by….it is her identity.  He sees her.  And it is enough.

It is E-N-O-U-G-H.

He sees you.  He is proud of you.  He adores you.  His praise is the only praise we need.  His love fills our need for identity

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “He will rejoice over you with singing, He will quiet you with His love.”

Do you believe it? Is it enough for you?


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  • http://joyfulmothering.net Christin

    This story still grabs my heart strings. I feel like there is always so much distraction — so many other things *I* could be doing. Why isn’t it enough to just serve the ones I love? What if I didn’t have them? Would I be sorry that it wasn’t enough to simply serve them and *love* them?
    Yea. I would.

    I don’t want to waste my life living in regret. Tinang Kule is a jewel–far above that even. I want to be molded such as that.

    • Joy

      Yes, Christin, you make an excellent point. We would be devastated if we did not have our loved ones to care for, so why is it so often not enough?! And I am with you….I want what she’s got. Thanks Christin. You are such an encouraging commenter. I love that about you!!

  • http://www.gracetags.com Janelle@GraceTags

    This fills me to overflowing!


    • Joy

      Me too Janelle! Thanks.

  • Kristi

    He DOES see us. ME..YOU. Great, wonderful, enriching words. Love you Joy. Just love you! Don’t know how, but somehow, the Lord loves you more than me!! How is that???!!! :)

    • Joy

      Ah Kristi, I just love you. Of course He doesn’t love me more than you silly!! :)
      Thanks for your encouragement. It is SOOO good to know that I am not alone in my learning about sisterhood and what God thinks about me. Love ya!

  • http://twitter.com/AshlieWrites Ashlie

    So beautiful, Joy. I agree with Christin, this story tugs at my heart so much. Causes me to reflect on my own heart and motives. I’d like to think that I am just “enough” serving those I love, but you’re right, there’s a part of me that wants the accolades and recognition. I’m convicted, yet hopeful because this is yet another stroke of His molding hand. I need these reminders.

    “His praise is the only praise we need.” yes!!! let it be.

    Thank you sweet sister! :)

    • Joy

      Ashlie, We all need these reminders, and I’m so glad that you are joining me in the molding process! It isn’t easy or fun but it is so worth it. In a space where there are comments and subscribers it can sometimes be hard to remember that HIS praise is the only praise we need. But it’s true, and in the end, His praise is the only praise that matters!! Love ya Ashlie!!

  • http://twitter.com/mamastreets Betsy Stretar

    Absolutely precious. I think this is a great question you ask…I though of something similar very recently. Within my heart, I heard the word…”obscure” as if God was asking me if I would be willing to lay down my pursuit of leadership roles and trade that in for a servant role? I can’t believe this but I actually have an interview in Houston next Friday with a major airline to become a flight attendant. A serving role….an opportunity to just serve people who fly. I’m excited about this as it will also give me flexibility to write on the road so to speak – and pursue the things God has put in my heart. Thank you so much for sharing this sweet woman’s story with us. :)

    • Joy

      Wow Betsy, what a great story! I hope that your interview goes well. It’s not something that people usually pursue…obscurity, but I love that.

  • http://www.deniseinbloom.com Denise In Bloom

    I love hearing and reading this once again! A beautiful representation of Christ. Thank you for sharing this series, but most of all for sharing your heart!

    • Joy

      Thanks sweetie!

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  • http://www.abideathome.com Rhonda @ Abide at Home

    Enjoyed this post – it was wild – I had just written a post myself on identity – (http://www.abideathome.com/2011/11/30/defining-my-identity/). It seems like sometimes I walk in confidence, remembering why I have value, and then at other times I wallow in insecurity because I play the comparison game. It was just crazy how I had no sooner finished drafting it and then I stumbled upon this – maybe God is reinforcing this idea in my brain! Call me a slow learner! haha! Thanks for your series – it is a blessing!

    • Joy

      I love how God put this in both of our hearts at the same time. Thank you for sharing your link!

  • Brianna Preston

    Oh, my. Yes. I AM encouraged. Thank you.

    • Joy

      I am so glad.

  • Georgina

    Joy, thank you for sharing this again. I was so convicted the first time I read it (too busy comparing myself) that I missed the beautiful picture of our Savior’s love. He made himself nothing, took the form of a servant, out of love. And there in a small village, Tinang Kule has chosen to do the same. She has made herself nothing and taken the form of a servant to show Christ’s love to others because of the great love with which she is loved. How I long to be that secure in God’s love. Thank you again for sharing!

    • Joy

      You are so welcome Georgina. I pray that it is a picture that you can carry with you to remind you of His great love!

  • Julie Elrod

    Thank you for sharing this Joy.

    • Joy

      Hi Julie! I’m so glad you stopped by. You are so welcome. Love ya!

  • http://yaikosfollowingthedream.blogspot.com Kristen

    This story of Tinang Kule brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful woman! Like you said, I am willing to sacrifice, to serve my family, to go mostly without recognition…but there is a small part that does desire to be known. A good reminder that the One who sees all and knows all adores and loves me!

    • Joy

      She is a beautiful woman. She is a hero of mine…because she is so humble. That’s what I want to be. :)

  • http://thepoorganiclife.com Katrina Ryder

    Wow. I am not going to be able to get away from the reminders from that night–no matter how hard I try. The Lord is really doing something through you, Joy. Thanks for letting Him use you to encourage other women.

    • Joy

      Anytime sweetie! You still need to send me an email……no pressure! :)

      • http://thepoorganiclife.com Katrina Ryder

        I will; I haven’t forgotten. ;)

  • Raising Mighty Arrows

    Such a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

    • Joy

      Thank you. I’m so glad I can share her story!

  • Anonymous

    I love this story! Thanks so much for telling it again here. What a beautiful testimony and challenge. What an affront to our all-about-me culture. Oh, how I need this heart! Lord, make us all more like you. Bless you, sweet Joy!

    • Joy

      You are so welcome dear Misty. Love ya sweet sister!

  • Julia

    Awesome post!

    • Joy

      Thank you. It’s God’s story and I’m so glad to be able to share it!!

  • Amanda

    Wow. Just wow. Tears rolling down my face…

    thank you so much for this!!

    • Joy

      You are so welcome. I cry every time I read it too. :)

  • Tiffany

    How timely is the Holy Spirit. I am a new pastor’s wife. We live on an Indian Reservation in the midwest, and life can be very hard sometimes. There is much work to be done, and I am not often showing joy in doing this work. Thank you for this post.

    • Joy

      Oh Tiffany. I KNOW what you are dealing with and not many people can say that. Before we lived in Indonesia we were missionaries in a small Athabascan Indian village in Alaska. I KNOWWWWW how hard it can be. Oh my, yes. All of the devastating issues that you have to deal with on a daily basis. If you ever need someone to talk to I am here, just shoot me an email!!

  • Anonymous

    That Zephaniah verse is my FAVE.

    I loved hearing this message in person and getting the encouragement again today. Will you tell Tinang Kule thank you for me?

    Love you, Joy. You *are* joy. xoxo

    • Joy

      I will!! Her nephew and niece are going to come out of the village on the MAF plane and stay with us next week! I am so excited to love on them and spoil them!! They are 10 and 9 and it’s going to be so much fun!

  • http://www.theinspiredbudget.com Tanya@The Inspired Budget

    I feel so refreshed after reading this. Thank you!

    • Joy

      You are welcome.

  • http://www.joyfilleddays.wordpress.com Sarah Beals

    LOVED this post. Can we do it all only for Christ?”As Unto The Lord.” He sees and rewards. Great thoughts. Love having something substantial to ponder as I wash my dishes. :) You never fail to deliver. Thx, Joy! :)

    • Joy

      Well, thank you Sarah. But, honestly, if there is anything that has touched you here at this blog, it is all Jesus. I am just a mess, so don’t think it’s me that doesn’t fail to deliver, it’s ALLL Him. :) Blessings to you!

      • http://www.joyfilleddays.wordpress.com Sarah Beals

        I know that it is all Him, but I am thankful just the same that you were a conduit of His grace to me. XO

  • JM

    Tears…I am completely moved, touched by this woman, I want to be like her; selfless-with the heart of servant. thanks for sharing

    • Joy

      You are very welcome.

  • http://rebeccanicodemus.blogspot.com Rebecca Foley

    Thanks so much for this story! I needed it. How ungrateful I am! I think I might write it out and post it somewhere, “He sees you, He is proud of you, He adores you…His love fills our need for identity.” I need to remember to make HIM proud of me!

    • Joy

      Oh now that is a good idea!!

  • http://twitter.com/LittleWriterMom Lisa Littlewood

    Sweet words that I am thankful to have heard a second time…especially today, a day when my kids have been misbehaving, and pouting and whining…I’m trying to do, do, do for them…the tasks seem large and tedious today, and it leaves me asking ‘what about me?’ sometimes…I am thankful to see this sweet woman’s face and hear her story…and am humbled to be reminded that it is not about me…

    • Joy

      Yes, Lisa. Me too. It’s a hard thing to remember in the midst of the stress and exhaustion when you just want calgon to take you away, huh?! :)

  • Ashley (MommaAsh)

    Tears. Lots of tears! Humility, graciousness, love, tears! Thank you do much for posting this!

    • Joy

      Just let em flow. :) I’m so glad that the Lord would use this to touch your heart today.

  • MarMat

    OMG. This is so touching. First time here, came across trough simplemom. and it’s amazing. Thanks a lot for this post. I’m heading now to read more about your blog.

    • Joy

      Welcome! I am so glad you are here!

  • Sarah G.

    oh Joy. This brought tears to my eyes tonight. it was just the message i needed to hear. as the mother of three littles my life is quite taken up with the day to day, lately leaving no time to blog, etc… i struggle with that. i want to do and to BE. i am so glad that who I am is enough to Jesus. Oh help me to always remember that and do everything as unto Him. God bless!

    • Joy

      Thanks Sarah for sharing your heart and your thoughts. Yes, I think we can all agree that life gets swallowed up by the mundane and our self cries out to be noticed! It’s a common struggle for all of us. You are not alone! :)

  • http://intentionalbygrace.com Leigh Ann

    This is absolutely beautiful, and a wonderful reminder. I’m a new follower, so I didn’t know that you guys were involved with MAF. We have very dear friends who are in the process of raising money so he can fly a plane for MAF. Amazing. Simply amazing. Will be sharing your blog with the wife. She will love it here. :)

    • Joy

      Oh I’d love to know who your friends are. Do you know where they will be going?
      Thanks for saying hello!

  • http://www.themuzungumama.com Lexi

    This so made me cry! I live in rural Eastern Uganda and I’m learning day by day that when others let me down, I must look to Jesus for all my praise, recognition and comfort. Thank you sister! Praying for you and your family!

    • Joy

      Amen sister. Thanks for sharing your heart. We are all right there with you!!

  • Toni Raquet

    Yesterday, I read this verse in my quiet time…”God is not unjust; He will not forget your work & the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people & continue to help them.” (Hebrews 6:10). And now I read this…I think God must be trying to tell my something! He sees; it is Him we (I) serve; He will reward us beyond any recognition we might receive here on earth; His love & recognition is ENOUGH!

    • Joy

      Amen and Amen Toni!! Love that!

  • Jenn

    Thank you so much for sharing this… it was just what I needed to hear.

    • Joy

      You are welcome!

  • http://www.timberlaketales.blogspot.com Sharen

    I wish I could say that it is enough for me, but embarrasingly for me too, most of the time it is not. How I wish it was. I desire that it be so one day.
    I came across your blog just other day, so I am a new reader. My husband started looking into doing a course in Aviation a number of years ago at the Australian Centre for Mission Avaiation in Melbourne, but never went through with it, but every now and again brings up the subject! I also have an Uncle that served with MAF years and years ago and now is with Wycliffe Bible Translators, so I love to hear about other missionary families! Blessings.

  • Cvleuen

    I am new to your blog, but I, like everyone else, had tears in my eyes as I read this. How humbling. About 17 months ago, I felt God asking me if I were still willing to serve Him, even if no one else ever knew. It stung a bit as I realized my own desire for recognition; thank you for sharing.

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  • http://www.fixedonhim.blogspot.com Denise

    This is such an encouraging and timely word for me, Joy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tammyhelfrich

    Beautiful and hard hitting. I’m sure most of us would answer the question the same way. Thanks for sharing.

  • Guest

    We should do it because it is the right thing, but the Bible even tells us that “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” ” Proverbs 31:28-29. Our husbands and children should still learn that saying “thank you” for all we do is important.

  • Kris

    Thank you for this post. Beginning about 4 months ago I believed God was leading me, a mother of 7 beautiful children, to take on a ministry position at our church. As much as I was excited about the opportunities to serve I was excited about who I would be if I was hired. I have been struggling in my identity ever since I found out I was not accepted for the position. Satan has swamped me with feelings of failure and disgust. Now I’m asking the Lord to help me to be content with *simply* being a mom and teacher to my children. As if that isn’t enough!!? I will be back to read this again.

  • Kriztleigh

    As a momma of four children and a husband who has been gone off and on in our lives with the military this post is exactly what I needed. Brought tears to my eyes.

  • Deb

    Pretty sure you wrote that for me. Yup. I needed that TODAY! So tired of doing and doing and doing for the family, wish they would notice. Thanks for setting me straight. Yes, God knew when you wrote this that I would need it today.

  • http://www.servingjoyfully.com/ Crystal

    I needed this! I know this is something I really need to work on. I had a rough childhood, and sometimes I think there is carry over from that, this constant need to have *someone* notice and care. But, I know that God always does and I want that to be enough. I want to serve Him through serving others even if no one else ever notices or cares.

  • Katelasley

    this is just what I needed to hear today. Thanks for sharing such meaningful words.

  • M at A Marriage Restored

    WOW! How humbling. In one of the sermon podcasts at Northpoint Church, he preached on running the race set before YOU. Not someone else. This precious lady is clearly in tune with the Father and knows her race. I pray I will be as content in MY race. Thanks for a beautiful story.

  • Robin Wheatley

    This is beautiful. I needed to hear it. Sometimes I get depressed about the never-ending, never-finished housework, and I have a washing machine! And I struggle to do something and be something, but it is none of it worth it, is it? We are whole in Jesus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=585907637 Anna Christopher McCrary

    Wow! This brought tears to my eyes. I need to try to be more like this, to do more and not require anyone to notice but him. Since after all, He is the only one who matters. I gripe about my laundry (with machines) , love how this has pointed out , how much I take for granted. Thank you for sharing!

  • Pam

    I am really moved by this entry & it is less about the identity part & more about the He-sees-me part: “He sees you. He is proud of you. He adores you.” I have chronic migraine & often I feel lonely & useless to my family. Thank you for this reminder. It made me cry, which is actually good.

  • Alynnr

    Great post. So, does she go around to certain families and just “help out” or does she get paid for the cooking and cleaning? Here in the states this doesn’t even make sense. No one comes by to cook for my husband and I might wonder if someone did. I guess I’m asking for perspective, cause in the Midwest this doesn’t happen. No one ever asks to do my laundry. :)

    • Joy

      We were visiting in their village for several days. I don’t live there and we were guests so she offered to help me do my laundry because that is not how I normally do laundry in my own home and didn’t know how to beat it on a rock like they do. :)

  • Sandy

    Wow!! Brought tears to my eyes, too! So often, too often I am more concerned with what one can do for me!

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  • Ashle Mack

    These posts inspired me to start my own blog for teenaged girls. My husband is a youth pastor and I am so passionate about young ladies and their hearts they have such a great need for Christ and they fail to acknowledge it. You can read what I have so far of my blog at theultimatesisterhood.blogspot.com

    Please share with any teenaged girls you know. I’m praying really hard to make a difference. Thank you everyone!! Have a blessed day!

  • Lauren_onebrightcorner

    Thank you so much for your honesty in this! This woman is such an example to me! Just last night the Lord was talking to me and telling me of my weakness with selfishness–putting self on the throne. This is definitely something I need to be working on!

  • Kathi

    As she serves, God emanates! Dear God I am crying too…she is loving one another as Jesus loved us. Just as our Lord directed us to do. We must serve one another without looking to receive: no tit for tat as my Mom would say! It is in the poorest countries of the world we find the richest, finest mentors. And those who do the least complaining, I think. You bring joy to the world Joy. I have been out from Internet for a while and am catching up on my blog reading. I believe Joy you are blessing thousands by doing His will, bringing us your stories and His word. Love, love this post! God bless you and your family and the most beautiful smile and soul of Tinang Kule.

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