“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…”
In the human heart there is a desire to be blessed, to be loved, and to feel special…
As moms, we long for what we do to really MATTER and be NOTICED. Especially in this modern age, moms are desperate for notice.
- if I had a JOB, I would be pulling a paycheck. I would have a more-socially-respected answer to the question, “what do you DO?”
- if I had a DEGREE, I would have a title. I would be Dr. Jess, or “Jess, RN,” or “Professor Connell”
But when we are “just a mom,” no one pays us. Very few notice or respect the answer, “I’m a stay-home mom to my kids.” No one refers to us with a title. Almost no one gives kudos for all the learning and work we’ve done and are doing.
In the time when we are doing the hardest work we’ve ever done, the resume has a blank space.
No one notices when you put in extra hours this week to tackle a special project (i.e., potty training, dealing with tantrums, starting your baby on solids, dealing with mastitis, managing a home ravaged by a stomach virus, etc). As a mom, there’s no annual job review with a built-in bonus structure, no additional vacation time earned after X number of years, no promotion because we’re doing a particularly excellent job.
So if we aren’t careful, our heart will grasp.
We may grasp for:
- other (outside) affirmation (i.e., “I run this mom’s group;” “I lead this study;” “I’m in charge of this community group.” “I speak at mom’s groups.” “I’ve got this side-hustle.”)
- some measure of financial control (home businesses, joining an MLM and building a “downline,” being a couponing guru, becoming the go-to bargain queen)
- praise from those we love.
It’s this last one I want to address, because it can be subtle, but insidious.
Mama, if your heart is grasping for praise, I want to tell you something true:
THE PRAISE OF HUMANS WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH FOR YOU.
If this is you, and you long for people to just sit up and NOTICE:
- what a good job you’re doing,
- what a purposeful approach you have to mothering,
- how clever your children are,
- what a wonderfully-behaved child you have,
- what a clean home you have,
- how you run a tight ship,
- how you save your family money and make your budget work,
- how you only follow certain parenting patterns and not others,
- how your kids have turned out,
I want to gently tell you, partly from my own experiences and partly from watching others fall prey to this as well– EVEN IF THEY DO notice, it will never be enough for you.
It may at first feel good (“SOMEONE has ****FINALLY**** noticed!!!! MY!!!! super-costly!! sacrifices!!!!”).
But if praise is what you crave, the praise you get will ultimately work to your downfall.
The praise of people will fall flat, over time. You will only crave more. You will desire for it to be seen MORE publicly, said MORE loudly, MORE often. You will clamor for it, and your heart will demand it.
And what is said will not be enough for you.
The only way praise really works is if it’s in the model of Proverbs 31: other people rising up to bless you, of their own accord.
When it’s done this way,
- they are offering it from the overflow of their hearts
- you’ll know it’s genuine
- you can receive it as an extra encouragement, without it being pivotal to your identity
LIVE FOR THE PRAISE OF ONE
Ultimately as moms, our hearts’ desire should be for CHRIST to receive the glory and thanks and praise for His work in our children’s lives. If our children find reason to thank us, or offer their blessing to us for our work, what a gift to us!
But ultimately, even if we don’t get it, we can find joy and rest in our souls when we rest in the praiseworthiness of God.
Cause here’s the truth:
I don’t deserve praise. ANY good thing I have done– as a mother, as a wife, as a friend, as a woman– is only because of HIS grace in my life. Not because I’m an American, had this particular economic background, or was raised in this/that denomination, or this/that home, or this/that school… NO! ANY good thing I have done has been by His grace at work in my life.
And the same is and will be true of my kids. They don’t OWE me. I am not “the reason for their success.” (Or, conversely, for their failures.)
Christ is faithful. He creates. He decides the times and boundaries of our dwelling on earth. He gives grace upon grace. He planned good works for us to do, in advance, before we were even twinkles in our parents’ eyes. He gives us the abilities we have to DO the things we do. He finishes every work that He starts.
He is the one who is faithful.
Not you, mama.
When I recognize this… deeply take it to heart…
- I am free to delight in the praise of God,
- I am free to receive the “rising up blessings” of my children without it defining me.
- I am free to receive hard truths from my children without despairing.
- I am free to hear even lies/poorly-remembered half-truths without it defining me.
- I am free to have good days and bad days.
- I am free to be needy and not enough.
Because I know HE is enough.
He uses all things– my *best* human sacrifices, as well as my crappiest mom day– to work and to will for His glory and grace to show up in our lives.
And when I concern myself with HIS praise, rather than my own, my heart can be at rest.
I can LONG for His praise to be multiplied in my life… and know it will be accomplished. Unlike the idol of personal affirmation, THIS (Christ’s praise)– is an eternally-attainable goal for any mom.
IN THE COMMENTS:
Will you share, so we all can learn together– how do you fight living for the praise and notice of others? ESPECIALLY in this social-media-how-many-likes-did-that-get culture?