The memory is vivid. More so now than ever before. Standing in the wading pool with a friend, she said, “Oh hey there’s Amber! Have you met her? She’s great.” We were all in our swim suits and all I saw was tattoos, covering her body. She was tall, with short hair. You know, that sportsy type of chick, not the “spin class sportsy” but the “I played actual sports and could kick your butt in a heart beat if I wanted to sportsy” type. Gut reaction judgement told me we likely wouldn’t become good friends. I don’t have a competitive bone in my body and I am basically a big whimp.

Thirteen years come and gone and I’m holding the program for her memorial in my hand. Caressing her paper face, wishing I could see her smile just one more time. Wishing for just one more of those hugs, the kind with no reservations. Never on that first day would I have imagined the gaping hole in my heart this woman could possibly leave behind. Never.

It was years after that first greeting that our friendship dove deep. When my world came crashing down she showed up. Showed up with food. Showed up with reservationless hugs. Showed up with understanding. Through it she learned me and I learned her. I was known and she was known. Our times together were few and far between but we knew one another. And there is just nothing like being known.

Spending a day at the service, in my home state, surrounded by a handful who really, truly, know me. One face across the table bubbly, and always kind. Rose colored glasses are her middle name and I’m practically Charlie Brown. She is the brightest bright spot a girl could ask for. Shoulder to shoulder with another. If you looked at her photo reel you’d think someone like her might write off someone with my life credentials and you might think I’d do the same. She is the definition of loyalty. She’s propped me on those same shoulders many days I could not stand. Flying home. A stinging reminder of feeling unknown.

At the beginning of cross country move round three. Unknown. Wearing that scarlet D of divorce to every new introduction. Unknown. Children with hidden disabilities, who’s behavior is confusing and can’t be explained or understood in one interaction. Unknown.

Maybe your feeling unknown too. Maybe it isn’t moving or divorce or disabilities but that *unknown* feels like your dearest friend. I stand before you as one who’s lived that feeling on repeat. And it’s so lonely. I stand here to tell you what’s true. You are deeply, intimately, intricately known. The good, the bad, the ugly and worse. And equally, you are deeply, intimately, and intricately loved. Not inspite of the good, the bad, the ugly and worse but even because of it. There is a God, and he knows me. Really knows me. He also knows you.

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” {Psalms 139:1-6}

I can’t imagine if I’d missed the gift of being known to Amber and knowing her too. A tiny glimpse of the depth of known we are to Jesus. She didn’t write me off because we were different. They didn’t write me off because we were different. Treasures I might have missed if I’d have written them off because of difference. Living, breathing treasures. Time has taught me not to make that mistake again. She’s gone and I could have missed her completely.

To be known is a gift, a gift God’s waiting to give you. Get to know him. He already knows you. And put on some fresh eyes so you don’t miss the other gifts he wants to give. A bit of his love, running right through those tattoos, those rose colored glasses, those perfect photos. Someone who’s needing to be known just the same as you. She might be standing right in front of you. Be known. Be loved. You already are by the one with the highest standards so why not take the leap. Take the risk, who knows what treasure you just might find.

4 thoughts on “When You Feel Unknown and Alone

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