When You Feel Invisible

by Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young March 1, 2024
“And he said, ‘Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?’” Genesis 16:8a (NIV)

For some of us, the weeks after Valentine’s Day bring a slow ache. Every grocery store is stocked with discounted roses, every boutique has marked-down cards and heart-shaped boxes of candy, and we're reminded of who and what we are missing.

The year my husband went to heaven, I grieved a lot of things. One of the painful realities was that my love story had abruptly ended. I found myself a suddenly single mama raising three daughters on my own. I feared spending the rest of my days alone. My heart felt like a teacup poured out and shattered into a hundred pieces on the floor. I felt unseen, unloved and forgotten in my grief.

But the story of Hagar in Genesis 16 was a profound reminder to me that God sees and loves us and that He does not forget His promises, even when we feel like we are alone in the wilderness.

Hagar was an Egyptian girl who was sent (perhaps by Pharaoh) to be a servant of Sarai, Abram's wife. After years of infertility, Sarai urged Abram to sleep with Hagar in hopes Hagar would bear a child. Hagar had no agency in this situation.

She became pregnant, but as you might guess, the household dynamic quickly went sour. Genesis 16:6 says “Sarai mistreated Hagar” (NIV), and Hagar fled to the wilderness, which felt like a better option than staying put.

The wilderness is the landscape for many key moments in Scripture, often signifying a dry or lonely time when a person or group is suffering, struggling in their faith or in need of mercy. But God meets His people in the wilderness with His presence.

God found Hagar in the wilderness and asked her two important questions: “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8).

God knew the answers — but He invited Hagar to share her story. He helped her understand she was not alone. God promised to care for her and all her descendants. Then Hagar called Him by the name El Roi in Hebrew, which means “the God who sees,” because He saw her personally (Genesis 16:10-13).

Although my story is vastly different, I’ve always felt a kinship to Hagar, lost in a wilderness under impossible circumstances. And just as He did for Hagar, God has met me in my grief with His love, and that makes all the difference.

Maybe you are navigating heart weariness today too. Maybe you're grieving a loss, a broken relationship or circumstances that feel impossible. Friend, El Roi cares deeply about you. He calls you beloved. He is your Maker and eternal Husband (Isaiah 54:5). God will never betray you, walk away, or fall short on His promises.

Dear God, thank You for seeing me and adjusting my perspective. When I feel unloved or invisible in my grief, remind me I am never alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Dorina is the author of a new devotional journal, Breathing Through Grief. This comforting, giftable journal is for those who are processing their own loss, whether loss of a loved one, a season of life or a community. Let the words and prompts in Breathing Through Grief encourage you with the knowledge that you are not alone and bring you peace as you continue forward on the road to healing.



Dorina also offers a weekly Glorygram, which includes encouragement for chasing God’s glory on life’s unexpected trails as well as great resources for friends navigating grief. Follow her on Instagram @DorinaGilmore for daily glimpses of His glory.


Exodus 34:6-7, “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin …’” (ESV).

The Hebrew word hesed is used more than 250 times in the Bible and is often translated, as in Exodus 34:6-7, as “steadfast love,” which describes the heart of God.

How have you experienced God’s mercy and steadfast love in your life? How might you show that lovingkindness to others? Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2024 by Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young. All rights reserved.

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