The God Who Sees You

do what you are afraid to do

I have a friend who, after a lifetime of unsuccessfully fighting her weight, managed to lose fifty pounds. When I asked her how she did it, she told me, “I finally figured that I knew what to do. I’ve tried nearly every diet on the planet. I knew what foods are problematic for me. I knew I need smaller portions. I knew I need to exercise every day. I didn’t need to be educated. I just needed to do what I knew to do.”

That’s something I think we need to remember when it comes to those blind times in our lives, those times when we just can’t sense God’s presence or direction. We may be waiting to see God, to get more instructions, to be inspired, when what we really need to do is start walking and do what God wants us to do.

And what God wants is no secret. We’ve got a whole book of instructions. We have the witness of thousands of years of believers and the testimonies of others in His Body reminding us to:

•     love God with all our hearts and minds and souls and strength (Mark 12:30).

  • love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31).
  • confess our sins, repent, and accept God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9). In my experience, this alone is often enough to give me clearer vision and make it easier for me to see God.
  • forgive as we have been forgiven (Matt. 6:12–14).
  • feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, care for orphans and widows, visit prisoners (Matt. 25:31–46).
  • love, support, and encourage our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ (John 13:34–35; Heb. 10: 24–25).
  • trust in God and not lean on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5).

We’ve got our marching orders. So maybe it’s not inappropriate to ask: What are we waiting for? We don’t need to have an epiphany to tell us to do those things. We don’t need a life-changing vision. We just need to … obey. And interestingly enough, the very act of obedience often helps us see God better. . . .

I love the way the Oswald Chambers explains this: “All God’s revelations are sealed until they are opened to us by obedience…. God will never reveal more truth about Himself until you have obeyed what you know already.”*

do what you need to do

Sometimes, in fact, I suspect God goes into hiding to nudge us into actually using what He’s already given us. He lets us go it alone (or we feel like we’re alone) to help us develop confidence and experience in living His way.

I’ve done that as a parent. When my children were little, I would sometimes let them be outside by themselves or walk to a friend’s house without supervision while I’d secretly keep an eye on them. They needed that experience of making their way in the world. They needed to learn to function without my constant direction. So I stayed close, but I tried to stay out of their sight, for a little while at least.

I really believe that God does this with us as well. He gives us the freedom to do things on our own because He wants us to grow. It’s like He’s saying, You’ve got a map (the Bible). You’ve got GPS (the Holy Spirit). You’ve got your cell phone (prayer) and your instructions (see above). You’ve got My promise that I’ll be there if you need Me. So what’s stopping you?

And here’s one other wrinkle. In my experience, at least, God often doesn’t show Himself until I start moving on the path to obedience. It’s the very act of doing what I’ve been told to do that both strengthens my faith and opens my eyes to see more of what God is doing.

I’ve said it many times, and I believe it with all my heart: You never know what’s on the other side of your obedience. With every step, you may well see more of God. . . .

But what if you take a step, or many steps, and nothing seems to change? What if you take step after step, doing what you know to do, and you still feel like you’re walking blind?

If that’s the case, you might consider something radical. Maybe you don’t see because you don’t need to see.

God is your Father. He knows what you need more than you know it. And that means He knows what you don’t need. You may be stronger than you think. Your faith may be more robust, your trust more solid than you realized. You may have the precious ability to walk in faith, not sight.

But you’ll never know that, either, until you take a step.

*Oswald Chambers, “Whereby Shall I Know,” My Utmost for His Highest, October 10,

The God Who Sees You

Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.

Order The God Who Sees You here.  The God Who Sees You




It’s a warm word. An inviting word. A beautiful word.

More important, hospitality is a word that speaks to the heart of the our faith and calling.

8The bible shares that we are to “practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13)—to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to our friends and families, but especially to strangers and those in need (Leviticus 19:33, Hebrews 13:1-2). Showing love for others is not only an act of love and faith it is a loving response to the Lord’s example and to our very creation—the fact that God has made us for relationships and community! We are made and called to use the tools of our entire lives—including our homes, our hearts, and all our spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:9-10)—to welcome and serve others and to offer them the hospitable gifts of comfort and care.

Kathleen and me
I  believe that women especially hunger to live this way.

The yearning to share ourselves and our homes with others is part of our God-given nature and the call of the Holy Spirit on our lives.

It is beautiful other centered living.


But several factors tend to hold women back in today’s culture.


Many of us have never learned the skills of managing a household and welcoming others into it. We compare ourselves to others and worry that our homes and their cooking skills aren’t up to snuff. We’re so busy caring for our jobs and their families that we just can’t summon the time or energy to “entertain.” And the never-ending avalanche of cookbooks, how-to magazines, and “beautiful living” television shows often discourages while it inspires—whetting our desire to do better, but also convincing us that what we have to offer will never be good enough.

What many of us need is a miracle—the miracle of a changed perspective. And that’s what I offer to women who are hungry to lead more beautiful lives and to share those lives with others . . . but who may feel inadequate, unprepared, or just too busy to do so. FREEDOM from perfection and the joy of reaching out.


I am inviting you to rethink what it means to be hospitable:

• It’s not “entertaining” . . . but providing a comfortable setting for people to enjoy and learn from one another.
• Not showing off . . . but sharing life, embracing hospitality as a message you give other people about their value.
• Not kitchen theatrics . . . but kitchen-based ministry, using food as a catalyst for community.
• Not dinner parties and open houses . . . but mealtime communion and openhearted living.
• Not house beautiful . . . but rejoicing in the beauty of shared meals and fellowship in a welcoming setting.
• Not doing something unusual for “company,” but creating an everyday lifestyle that provides welcome to family, friends, strangers . . . and yourself.
• And it’s not just for those with gorgeous homes, professional cooking skills, support staff on call, or special spiritual gifts. It’s the way God intended all of us to live . . . and what God calls, He enables!


I have always had a heart for this kind of miraculous hospitality. I have taught it in my popular workshops for the past fifteen years. And I have been living it for decades . . . as a college student just out on my own . . . as a young wife inviting another family to share a tiny apartment . . . as the stay-at-home mom with four small children hosting dinner parties for the movers and shakers . . . and as a single mom with four teens and a full-time career as an author and speaker. Lifegiving Hospitality is a warm, encouraging and practical message that the loving, serving reality of the hospitable life really is for them.
The best news of all is that we don’t have to wait for the change of perspective to begin changing our lives. The skills of hospitality are learned by doing—literally “practicing” it. And my desire is to provides the tools to do just that—including easy basics, time-saving tricks, and a small arsenal of foolproof, irresistible recipes But my primary teaching thrust is not “here’s how,” but “you can do it . . . beautifully, and have fun doing it!”


My heart is to give encouragement for any woman interested in a hospitable lifestyle is to “start simply, but simply start,” then move step by step toward a life that is more beautiful, full, and welcoming.

Won’t you join me friend?


For More on Lifegiving Hopitality ck out my books: Lifegiving and The God Who Sees You:



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We are not who we think we are…


My Facebook friend Mary Jo Weatherly Montagna once posted a remarkable thing as her status: “We are not who we think we are,” she wrote. “There is a glory to our lives that our enemy fears, and he is hell-bent in destroying that glory before we act on it. Once we begin to see with God’s eyes and we begin to know His truth, it changes everything.”

Stop. Read that again. Ponder the power of this truth.

You were created in God’s image, with a glory that reflects His own glory. God made you to be His, He claims you for His own, and every time He looks at you He sees a reflection of Himself. A unique personality, incomparably beautiful. Created out of love and for love. Made to live forever. That’s your spiritual essence, your true self. And that’s who God sees when He looks at you. Not just your sins and shadows. Not just your feeble efforts to do right. Not just the intimate details of the earthly you. But the real you. The eternal you.

It’s so hard for us to really see ourselves. We compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths, our strengths to another’s weakness. We judge ourselves too leniently or too strictly. We beat ourselves up for things we can’t control but excuse ourselves for actions we could avoid if we really wanted to.

It’s also difficult for us to understand what has happened to us in the past. How our upbringing has shaped us. How trauma has wounded us. How our own sin and the sin of others has marked us. How God’s grace has kept us from catastrophe and made up for what we lacked. It’s true that we can often see more clearly when looking back, but not always. Memory is notoriously unreliable, and some puzzles are never solved.

And as for the future—do you know what you really want? I’ve often had a hard time understanding that for myself. I find it difficult to distinguish between what I really need and what I lust after, my God-given “heart desires” and my own selfish wants.

Amid all this confusion, it’s an absolute gift for me to remember that the God who sees me is the God who knows “the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10).” Remember, God is Lord of the past, the present, and the future. So when He looks at you, He sees the entire story of who you are and where you’ve been.

He understands what you’ve been through, the forces that have shaped you and made you … you. He considers your family history—the people who raised you, taught you, loved you, failed you. He recognizes the traumas that mark you and echo in your memory. He sees the love and support, the misunderstandings and broken relationships, the successes and failures. All the unique combinations of events and experiences that have brought you to this current moment are an open book to God when He looks at you.

God also sees your present circumstances—where you live, who you share your life with, what your days are like, the secrets you don’t dare tell anyone. He’s aware of your daily needs for sustenance, your deeper needs for meaning and involvement, your longings and dreams and desires. He sees what you go through when it’s just one thing after another, when the bottom drops out, when a straw breaks the camel’s back, when you’re holding on to sanity by the skin of your teeth. He understands what helps you, what holds you back, what still has the potential to waylay you in the future.

More important, when He sees you, He doesn’t leave you there. He’s a God who acts, remember?

He sees your weariness … and offers you His strength.

He sees your feelings of inadequacy—such a common experience with women—and offers you His completeness.

He sees your pain … and suffers beside you.

He sees your doubt … and gives you reason to trust Him.

He sees your worry and your anger … and offers you peace.

He sees your small steps of obedience … and cheers you on.

He sees you stumbling … and helps you back on your feet.

He sees your loneliness … and offers you His presence.

In all your daily needs (even those you don’t know you have), He provides for you appropriately, often in ways you would never expect. And He longs for you to avail yourself of His provision.

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that God never looks away from what we’re going through. He is the God who suffers and rejoices with us on a daily basis. He sees it all clearly—even when we don’t.

Simply put, God sees you with a depth and breadth that only He can. He sees how all the messy loose ends of your life weave together, how you can be whole.

One day, He promises, you will see it all too.

In the meantime, He’s holding your future in His most capable and loving hands.

The God Who Sees You

Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.

Visit Tammy’s video on  The God Who Sees You



Thanks today for the Blog Guest Post on Pearl Girls!

Why We Long for God to See Us



Not long ago, I accompanied a friend to the hospital for surgery. After she was wheeled away, I began talking with one of the nurses. Somehow the conversation came around to the nurse’s brother, who had been killed in an accident three years earlier. Like most untimely losses, the brother’s death had dramatically disrupted this woman’s family. Her mother still struggled with bitterness. Her parents’ marriage had faltered. Her baby son, born two weeks after her brother’s death, would never know his uncle.

Soon my new friend was pouring out her heart to me. And at some point, I shared with her something I had been thinking about a lot.

“Do you understand that God sees you in all this?” I said. “He really sees—”

I hadn’t even finished the sentence before she started to weep. She cried so hard that another nurse walked over to see if she was okay. She was completely undone at the thought that God saw her pain, her fear, her broken heart. She kept saying through deep sobs, “He sees me? He really sees me?”

That was just one simple encounter, one more reminder that the message of the God who sees you is one that needs to be shared again and again—with those who don’t know the Lord and with those who do. There’s a reason we hunger to be recognized, acknowledged, appreciated, and cared for. There’s a reason our hide-and-seek life—yearning to be found by God, yet fearing it at the same time—leaves us feeling so bruised and unsatisfied. It’s because God has intentionally and wonderfully created us to see and be seen, to live in intimate and joyful relationship with Him and with others.

More important, He put that need in us because He wants to meet it. He’s put the longing there to draw us closer to His heart.

We hunger to be seen—because He really does see us.

The challenge is to really believe it . . . to live in the confidence that we are recognized and accepted and included and, most of all, loved.

Can you do that? Can I?

I’ll admit I’ve had my struggles, but I can honestly say I believe it with all my heart. Here’s why:

First, the Bible tells me so, and the Bible has proven a reliable guide in my life. The whole sweep of the Bible can be understood as the story of a God who saw His people, even when they couldn’t see Him. A God who came to earth and paid special attention to the unnoticed—the meek and the mourning, the children everyone turned away, the powerless rather than the ones on top. A God who cared so much about what He saw that He came to earth in human form, turning hide-and-seek into the ultimate show-and-tell.

But I also believe because God has shown me, again and again, in the circumstances of my life. He has shown me through the whisper of His Holy Spirit, through the timing of my experiences, through the love and example of other people and the mysterious provision of what I have needed most.

I’ve seen too much evidence not to believe God sees me. I’ve been loved too much not to make it the story of my life.

I want it to be the story of your life as well. I want it to change everything, including the way you look at God and yourself and other people. I want you to live in confidence that when God looks at you, He sees beauty. He sees value. He sees hope. And even when you’re hiding, even when you’re so beaten down you can’t see anything clearly, He’s still hard at work, crafting a beautiful future of relationship with Him and with others. . . .

That’s . . . my personal witness as someone who at times has felt forgotten, uncared for, unloved, invisible. I truly believe I have a word from God for those lonely, aching times in your life.

The message is this: Regardless of how you may feel, God does see you.

He knows your name, and He loves you—passionately and tenderly.

He sees your needs, and He yearns to fill them.

At any given moment, even when you feel most alone, He is working out a plan for your future. . . .

One way or another, one day soon, you . . . will be able to say, thankfully, “I have seen the God who sees me.”


Adapted from The God Who See You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.

unnamed More about Tammy Maltby:

Tammy is a speaker, author, and media personality with a heart for helping women to live rich, authentic lives. Her multifaceted life can be summed up in one word “encouragement”. Tammy’s graceful and transparent style of communication inspires women to live a more honest and real lifestyle. Her passion for beautiful living and relationship-centered hospitality shines in her recent book, The Christmas Kitchen: A Gathering Place for Making Memories. Tammy is also the author of Confessions of a Good Christian Girl, Lifegiving: Discovering the Secrets to a Beautiful Life, and A Discovery Journal to a Beautiful Life, is coauthor (with Tom Davis) of Confessions of a Good Christian Guy, and has just finished her newest book The God Who Sees You released in April of 2012.

The_God_Who_Sees_You1193A5 A ten-year cohost of the two time Emmy-winning NRB TV talk show of the year Aspiring Women, Tammy is spearheading a movement encouraging women to “Start Simply but Simply Start!” Tammy is inspiring women to use food and faith as a tool to create community and connection. It’s not just about how to cook, more importantly it’s about why we cook!

Tammy is the married, mother of four grown children, two of whom are adopted internationally. She is a doting grandmother to four grandsons and makes her home in Colorado.

Learn more about Tammy and The God Who Sees You at



Did you ever see the television show Undercover Boss, which premiered in early 2010? It’s a reality show that follows the heads of companies who go “undercover” in their own companies. The CEOs or other high-ranking executives disguise themselves and join the ranks of ordinary employees—scrubbing toilets, assembling burgers, loading trucks, cleaning motel rooms, and getting to know their fellow workers. Usually they struggle to keep up with the work, and they gain new appreciation for what these jobs entail. They also come to appreciate the hardworking, creative, enthusiastic employees who struggle to do a good job while coping with money woes, medical problems, and other personal issues.

At the end of all the shows, the undercover bosses reveal their true identities and express verbal appreciation along with more tangible rewards—bonuses, vacations, promotions. Tears flow at these “reveals.” But it’s not the tangible rewards that touch the employees most deeply. What matters most to them is realizing their efforts have been noticed.

There’s power in those tearful moments because they touch us where we all live. We work so hard and pour out our lives and mean so well, and too often we feel that nobody notices what we do. Perhaps nobody even cares.




But God does.

Matthew 6:4 says it clearly: “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Since God sees what is secret, that means He’s well aware of what nobody else even notices. He sees your faithfulness and your obedience, even in the face of doubts. He sees the choices you make to follow Him and persevere in doing right. He sees you trying again, even when you’re weary. And because God looks at the heart, I believe He sees and honors your attitudes and your good intentions, even when you don’t quite succeed. He honors your attempts to act on what you hear Him saying, even when you get the message wrong. He even honors your honest doubt and your feeble attempts to move toward Him despite those doubts.

In fact, just as Jesus once held out His hand to a sinking Peter, God responds to your smallest attempt to reach Him. He sees what you’re trying to do and reaches down His hand to help you up.

I truly hope that you receive approval and appreciation for what you try to accomplish here on earth. I hope you enjoy the satisfaction of knowing your efforts are successful and appreciated. But even when you feel like nobody sees you, keep reminding yourself that God does. In fact, He’s your best and most appreciative audience.

When you take a step of obedience and faithfulness, He’s applauding all the way.

The God Who Sees You

Adapted from The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby (with Anne Christian Buchanan). Copyright 2012 David C. Cook. Used with permission. Permission required to reproduce. All rights reserved.



Affirm the Good-Grow the Good

April 4, 2013

A little thing comforts us because a little thing afflicts us. Pascal. Be the “little thing” in someone’s life today.   Small is under rated these days. We think bigger, faster and cheaper will bring ultimate satisfaction in our lives. What a trap for our personal lives, families and our communities. I am convinced one […]

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How not to be Jesus

March 5, 2013

When we encounter another person, we always have a choice about how to respond to him or her. Sadly, not all our typical responses are the kind that reveal Jesus to the world. For instance, it’s so easy to look away instead of really looking at the people around us. We focus our attention on […]

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Dancing Beyond the Fire

February 22, 2013

When I look back over my own life, I’m astounded by the way God has used my gifts, my talents, my decisions, my life circumstances, even my mistakes to put me exactly where He wanted. . . . Your story will be different from mine—constructed by God from the raw materials of your own life […]

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Releasing the life we planned to embrace the life that is waiting for us.

February 13, 2013

The Truth of Restoration We all want our hearts to be healed. But once you’ve been traumatized  you just can’t bear the thought that it could happen again. Everything in you tells you to hunker down, to cut your losses, to settle for a little bit of happiness. That’s when you need to act counter-intuitively, […]

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How Can I Forgive this?

February 10, 2013

I don’t know of anything more difficult then the on going issue of forgiveness. I must say the more I read and live, the more I am learning true forgiveness is a daily choice. And it is a choice to live free. Seth Barnes sent out this article tonight from the Mayo Clinic. (  It focuses on the reality of […]

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