Invisible – CMN Women
by Priscilla Perumalla
If I can be vulnerable here, I’ll admit I have never felt more invisible in my life than in this season of our church planting experience. I’ve reached out to others who I felt had been where I am, only to be met with busy signals. I am, somehow, the only one who seems available to do children’s ministry, and I haven’t sat in a church service in months. I watch others connect in the community we are building while feeling like an outsider looking in.
The funny thing about me is that I am not typically the “center of attention” kind of lady. However, I’ve been working hard to build something and I’ve sacrificed so much. It’s difficult to not want at least one person to notice – someone to say, “Hey, I see you. How are you? I have been where you’re at. Let’s grab a cup of coffee and talk about it…”
There’s this game that has been circulating on the Internet where parents will play a “magic” trick on their kid. The object of the trick is to make the child believe that after putting a magic blanket over them, and saying a few magic words, it will make the child invisible. Once the blanket is removed, everyone else in the room pretends that they can’t see or hear the child. The particular video that I saw put the child in a panic mode and she began to cry hysterically.
It wasn’t until a recent shower (I don't know about you, but there seem to be two places where God speaks to me: in the kitchen and in the shower) that I realized I was like the girl crying in the video. My invisibility came from my perception rather than my reality.
The sweet healing words of Jesus came to me as cleansing water washed over me. He stirred my imagination to see Ruth gleaning in the fields, stooping down low to glean whatever might be left from the hands that were allowed to touch the first fruits of the crop. I imagine the gleaners were almost invisible, just like people are so used to seeing the homeless on the streets here in New York that they learn to ignore them.
Then I saw Boaz standing tall and taking notice of Ruth. She was no longer invisible. She was seen by the only one that mattered – to the one that had true power and control over the crops that were being harvested. In fact, Boaz went as far as speaking to the reapers commanding they intentionally drop more than what naturally occurred.
Through this amazing story, my loving Father spoke to me and reminded me that He sees me. He reminded me that He provided all the things I have stooped down low to gather. It is He that controls what is released and what is withheld. That which is not given, I do not need. He reminded me to embrace these seasons of invisibility because major transformation happens there.
The faithfulness and generosity we live out in unseen times pays dividends. I find serving God can be so counterintuitive at times. We tend to want our good deeds and sacrifices to be known. Ruth could’ve never guessed her faithfulness in her unseen personal life would be noticed. In fact, she had every reason to believe otherwise. After all, she was a foreigner, but her character set her up for blessing.
Ruth 2:11-12 says:
"Boaz answered her, ‘I have been made fully aware of everything that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people that you did not know before. May the Lord repay you for your kindness, and may your reward be full from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.’”
My prayer for you is that you would find peace and fulfillment from the ever-attentive love of Jesus, even in the midst of seasons where you’re feeling invisible.
Priscilla Perumalla and her husband, Stephen, live in New York City, where they planted The Grace Place Church in 2016. They reside in West Harlem with their two children, Boston and Aviah.