“I changed the sheets today!”
“Great,” my husband responded with his mind clearly on something else.
“I finally got it done,”he piped in. “I sent in my abstract for the conference this Fall; it will be good to present this time.”
Marvin was invited to speak at an international science conference and he was happy to finish one of the requirements. I wasn’t happy for him though. All I could think about was the difference in our accomplishments. I was so proud of myself for FINALLY remembering to change the sheets on our bed and he was preparing to speak about cutting edge research in front of some of the world’s top scientists.
How far I have fallen.
In the past, I received praise all the time from my boss and co-workers. Someone was always slapping me on the back and saying, “Well done!” Then in my ninth month of pregnancy, I resigned from my job to be a stay-at-home mom. I was looking forward to it, dreaming of all the things I’d get done. But the reality of an infant soon sank in. Get a lot done?! If I did the chores, cared for my son and retained my sanity, it was a good day.
These days, I waited with bated breath at the dinner table, hoping Marvin would compliment the meal (granted, it was only spaghetti and sauce from a jar). And I definitely wanted him to sing my praises for at least 10 minutes about the sheets.
When compliments didn’t come, I got mad. “Here we go; he’s taking me for granted,”I fretted.
I wanted him to notice every little thing I did, from cleaning the kitchen to washing his clothes. The truth is, he often thanks me for what I do and appreciates my new role, but it was never enough. I felt starved for attention, thanks, praise. And this was becoming a source of contention in our marriage and unhappiness in me.
And then, one day, the Holy Spirit whispered a simple verse into my heart, “do(ing) the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Eph 6:6-7).
There it was, that verse speaking a simple truth, “Do it unto the Lord, Nicole… Don’t work for your husband’s praise; work for mine.” In truth, my husband can’t appreciate every thing I do. He can’t pat me on my back and say Thank You all the time. But God sees everything. He sees all the behind-the-scenes service of a wife and mother and is ever ready to say, “Well done,”if we will but listen.
Managing a home and raising a child are two of the most hidden jobs we can do. No one sees most of the work; they see the results: a warm, comfortable home and a happy child, but they don’t see the process, the mundane things that create those realities. But God does. Nothing escapes his notice and he ever exhorts and promises:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)