We Need to be Known — Nicole O'Meara

I’m standing before the living room window in my aunt’s home which is situated on a steep hill in the mountains.  Being that the living room is on the second floor, my view out the window is of fat leafy branches of the large oak tree in her backyard—I think my aunt lives in a treehouse.

I can see the tall tree swing hanging limp. On days when my older brother is there playing with his best friend, they swing so high, it’s terrible.  Of course, I can’t tell them the swing scares me—they’re boys.

So I play inside where there are plenty of interesting things to see and do. There is the jar in the sunroom to look at.  It’s as tall as me and filled with too many tadpoles to count.  Why don’t we call eleven and twelve one-teen and two-teen?  And there is Aunt Win’s homemade play-dough to smoosh.  Don’t tell her she used too much salt in the dough this time.  I had to spit it out, not like the play-dough at Sunday School.  Today, because it’s just Aunt Win and me, I made miles and miles of play-dough noodles and Aunt Win let me cut the noodles myself.

After a lunch of peanut butter and jelly, I mosey to the living room which is dark except for light from the big window.  I’m here in front of the window because of the box on the shelf. It’s my favorite thing in the whole house. I’m not supposed to touch the things on this shelf, including the music box with the little seagull that swirls around on the mirror lid, so I clasp my hands behind my back and touch with my eyes. Aunt Win wound up the music box and now the seagull is spinning around the mirror while the music is playing.  It’s making figure 8s and twirling in the center.  It jerks a little bit as the music slows down, and now it has stopped.

I’m aching to watch it spin again and hear the tinny notes.  I can’t think of anything I’d like more than to stand here and listen and watch. The seagull is mesmerizing and the music fills me inside, like a mug of hot chocolate. I look at Aunt Win but I don’t say anything.  It doesn’t matter because she smiles and I think she knows. I think she understands—I need to hear the music again. How does she know?

I turn back to the music box and wind it up and the seagull spins again.

Created to be Known

In the beginning of mankind, Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden and they were perfectly known. God knew Adam. God knew Eve. Adam knew Eve. Everyone knew everyone perfectly. I wonder if there was ever a moment of misunderstanding. Probably not.

We were created with a need to be known. Known like God knew Adam and Adam knew Eve. And the crazy part is, we are. We are known just that perfectly by God. Yet, in the chaos of this broken world, our need to be known will, at times, feel unmet. Maybe for a while, maybe for a lifetime.

Remember back in junior high, when you felt like no-one got you. Heck, you didn’t get you! Yeah, that happens.

And then there’s chronic illness. Rare, invisible, or undiagnosed illness can bring on feelings of being misunderstood like nothing else. You might feel loved and known and at the same time misunderstood because what you live with is beyond the understanding of those who love you best. {sigh}

If this describes your life, let me encourage you. If no one else on the entire planet knew you, if not one soul really understood, God does.

God knew you before you were born. He knew what troubles would come your way and, amazingly, he wants to enter into them with you!

Known by God

Psalm 139:1-4 (ESV) says,

 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.

God told Jeremiah,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).

God knew Jeremiah before he was formed in his mother’s womb. He knew Jeremiah, probably, before Jeremiah’s mom knew she was pregnant!

Five-year-old Nicole needed someone to know how much music stirred her soul and how her request to hear the music box wasn’t a child’s manipulation out of boredom. God sent an ambassador in the person of my Aunt Win. Her response showed me how intimately I could be known, a lesson I would transfer to my Lord when I was old enough to understand. All I knew then, was that beinfg known felt like a treasure and it connected me to my aunt for life.

Known by Name

Even though we haven’t seen each other in person in about twenty years, I’m still close with my Aunt. I can’t imagine letting her fade from my life. She knows me, which makes her permanently important to me.

The funny thing is, she’s not actually my aunt. It was years before I knew that though. Her name isn’t Win either, by the way. When I discovered the truth, it mattered not. To me, she’s Aunt Win. That’s another thing about being known—it gives you a name and a relationship. I could never call her simply, Linda. She’s my Aunt Win!

It’s the same and more with God.

Isaiah 49:15 tells us that your name is so precious to God that he has engraved it on the palm of his hand.

“Yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;

You are unforgettable!

Known Completely

Nahum 1:7 (NIV) tells us,

The Lord is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him

Trouble, to use the word in Nahum, can be isolating. Maybe you don’t want to share your trouble with others. Maybe they know and don’t want to be near the mess. Maybe, you don’t want to be near your mess! {Gasp} But God knows you and your mess…and he cares.

God enters your mess and offers his strengthening presence. He knows what you need, better than you know your need. He knows what makes you laugh and what makes you cry. He knows what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning, and what tempts you to do nothing.

You don’t need to explain yourself to him. Like my aunt, God looks at you and smiles with understanding. He gets you.

He knows when you need the music to play; you don’t even have to tell him.

How does being known by God change the way you view your trouble? How does it change you?

Like playlists? I made this playlist to focus on God’s comforting presence. These songs are the finest balm.

Let me share my playlist with you.


When God’s Ways are Higher Than Our Ways

BlogNicole O’MearaMarch 18, 2023acceptance, endurance, Isaiah