Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Invisible Mother

A wonderful story (worth reading again if you've heard it before), which illustrates the joy and worth of working for "an audience of one" and the great cathedrals you are raising up! (I did NOT write the story below, it was forwarded to me, thanks Faye!) Enjoy!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fuelled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my children to tell the friends that they are bringing home, 'My Mom gets up early in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want my children to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to their friends, they'd say, 'You're gonna love it here...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

To all the wonderful mothers out there!! God bless and keep you.


  1. That was an unbelievable story! Thank you SO much for sharing it with all of us! I can relate to that mother perfectly! Thank you for the inspiration!!!! {hugs}

  2. What a blessing to read Mel! So very true and thanks for sharing....

  3. This is amazing! TFS! It is exactly what I needed to read today. It truly touched me.

  4. I really needed that story today, Melanie. Thank you for sharing it. I'm afraid I've been feeling sorry for myself lately and God sent you to share this with me today. Thank you and God bless all mothers!

  5. Such an inspirational story...I know that all of us mom's have felt invisible at some time! Thanks for sharing, this is one I will keep forever! Hugs...

  6. Wow- thank you soooo much for sharing this! Right into my "save" file!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this, Melanie! It is so inspirig and reminded me what my focus should be -- building a great cathedral, not expecting to be recognized for it! Besides, the "cathedrals" us moms create really do know what we do!

  8. Thank you for sharing- I am not a mom but this was perfect as I finish the end of the teaching year!

  9. Thanks, Mel, I needed that!! Not that I feel like an invisible mom, but in other ways. You always know just what to bring us. *HUGS*

  10. Hi Melanie - I also received this as an email this morning, it is a real blessing, and I shared it with my DD and DIL.

  11. Wow, what a great message! It's exactly how I feel at home, and also at work. Your message made my day, and I will share with others at work about the process we are going through as I am sure it will be encouraging. Thank you, Melanie!

  12. Love this, Melanie! What a beautiful comparison to help us remember the value of what we do as mothers, and to inspire us to keep on keeping on! <3

  13. Melanie, You have no idea how much I needed to read that this week. Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Thanks, Melanie, for sharing this story about The Invisible Mother. After I read it, I sent it to Germany to my daughter-in-law who is building three great cathedrals!

  15. Such an inspiring story...and yes, we can all identify with the first part...now to give it much thought and prayer to identify with the last part. Thanks for sharing Melanie...truly a blessing for today.

  16. Melanie all I can think of to say is thank you so much for posting this! A reminder for all of us, that He sees us always and guides us if we allow Him into our lives. He will lift us when we are down and comfort us when needed...and there are many times as a Mom that we need that. It is hard to see our children hurt,these Cathedrals being built.

    Blessings and Hugs,


    P.S. keeping William in my prayers and your family, I hope he is feeling better today. I just loved his Mother's Day book he did for you! And you look good ina bathing suit! tehe!

  17. Hi Melanie, thanks for sharing the story. Even tho I'm not a mother, but I can appreciate it and be thankful for my mum. It does apply to any caregiver too, for sometimes the going is tough but God sees the fruit of our labour & that is enough. Wishing you a wonderful day!!

  18. So glad I read this. I am a wife, mother, & step-mother. I know this feeling, and this was very encouraging to read!


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