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Are You Appreciated?

Do you feel the only time you're noticed is when dinner’s late or when someone needs laundry?
Know what makes my day? It’s the simple “thank you” from one of my sons when I gave him his folded laundry. Only one son ever said it regularly, but those simple words, made it worth it.

My husband tries to minimize the work that I do. I appreciate that too.

But it’s those words. (Remember my love language is words. Maybe you feel appreciated by gifts, time, acts of service, or touch)
Like when we finish eating dinner---that took most the day to prepare and only fifteen minutes to eat. The boys say, “Thanks for supper, Mom." I do notice when they don’t say it. I wonder if they liked it, or if they're sick, or…

But even with that, sometimes I feel like I could drop off a cliff. Would anyone notice? Except of course, for their dirty socks and maybe missing dinner.

Men are made to work. We covered that two weeks ago. Adam was given a job. He felt his worth by what he did.

Women, of course work, but our fulfillment doesn’t come from what we do, as much as who we serve.

We change diapers, wipe noses, make dinners, and watch countless baseball games, not because we like to, but because our children and our husband need us to.

We find our worth, not by what we do, but who we help.

We were made to be our husband’s helpmeet.

So much of what we do goes unnoticed. But that doesn’t bother us.
My husband recounts a comedian telling this story: His wife cleaned the house from top to bottom, did all the laundry, made a gourmet dinner, even black-toping their driveway in the 100’ weather.

The husband, on the other hand, after sleeping in and watching several games on TV, cleaned his ash tray. He wanted everyone to know about it and acknowledge what a good job he did.

He gets his worth by what he does and who acknowledges it. He craves respect.

His wife’s worth comes, not by his acknowledgement of what she does, although that would encourage her, but by how it helps him. That’s why a woman would do anything for her man.

You’ve seen some women who are mistreated, even beaten, by their husbands. Why they don’t leave? Their worth is tied to who they serve.

A little girl is known as “daddy’s girl.” A jealous boyfriend sees her as “his girl.” When you marry, you become his wife. Even with today’s attempts to change roles and “fix” genders, they cannot erase that God-given role. A woman finds her worth by who she serves.

The temptation for wives is to look outside the home for that fulfillment. Especially when her children are teenagers and no longer seem to need her.

When our boys were finally out of diapers, I had so much more time. I considered writing, something I hadn’t been able to do for 25 years with little ones. But then we received our youngest. I was thrust back into diapers and toddler-hood.

Many women start working.

Teenagers need their mom more than toddlers.
They won’t cling to you when they’re afraid, but they need you.
They're busy and rarely home, but when they are home, they need you there.

I’m not saying sit around and wait for them, and wallow in pity because of the extra time with nothing to do.
But I caution leaving too soon.
Most of our counseling times with our older boys have been when they've finally worked up their nerve to talk. If you're not there, you can't help.

I was up at night with babies, but now, I’m awake trying to hear our sons' news, or discussing their future options, or answer questions that bother them. Deeper issues than just "here, let me change your diaper."

How about after they leave? Now you want to do something with your life…go for that degree, do what you’ve always wanted….
Again, use caution. Your husband has been waiting for the kids to grow up (not that he's pushing them out the door, mind you.) He has plans. He’s been patient. He’s waited for your attention.
If you haven’t developed your relationship with your husband as the children grew up, now it will show. You may even live with a stranger. Readjust your focus and know your husband. What are his dreams? His desires?

Men seek some challenges I will never understand. But I don’t have to understand them, but I must accept them as part of who he is.

If after re-connecting with your husband’s needs, you still sense God’s Spirit drawing you to work, seek your husband’s counsel. Some husbands may consent, not wanting to keep their wives from doing what they want, but may resent it. They may feel threatened if their wives bring home more money than they. (Most woman do marry up on the pay-scale.) Respect what he is able to provide. Or resent the time she no longer has with him.

When you reach for your fulfilment outside the home, beware of your heart. It is now divided.
You are responsible to your employer and serve him. But you also left your heart at home. You feel appreciated at work. You get paid for doing things you don’t like doing. It’s easy to compare what you get at work and how you’re treated at home.

Guard your marriage from discontent, comparison, and serving another.

Keep your man, your only man.

When I did start writing after the youngest became more self-reliant, I couldn’t do it all. I made easier dinners. I bought more bread, rather than making it. I made the garden smaller, (of course there were less boys to help weed it and eat it.)
My husband was understanding. But I still try to do the things that he values. I sit with him when he eats after coming home late.
There's a cost and sacrifice. It's always more than you think. Time. Energy. Money. Commitment. Everything.
Count the true cost.

Moms are in it for the long-haul.
I started this article asking about feeling appreciated. There’s no doubt we do work better, feel better, and function better when what we are doing is appreciated.

When I get a card from my engineering son, he thanks me. He’s a father and sees his childhood from two sides now. He shows deep appreciation for me. It makes me cry.
When my sons pull together and buy me a dishwasher for my birthday. I again cry.
When my sons find, or buy flowers, or chocolate. My heart melts.
It really is the little things that make the difference.

My husband reminds me of Proverbs 31:28, “Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her.”

Appreciation won’t come soon, and it won’t come when you expect it. Or even demand it. It sneaks up on you when you’ve finally learned that it doesn’t matter (well, maybe a little). You're going to serve regardless of their response.

Falling off the cliff and not getting noticed? I don’t think so. There’s too many dirty socks to do.

Appreciation?

When I serve in my God-given role, even though no one else sees, the Master sees and will reward. I look forward to hearing Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.”

Then, I will be truly appreciated. And it will be worth it.



How do you feel appreciated?

Very encouraging article. You're right, appreciation is required, but it does feel good. Jeremy (the only one at home yet) always thanks me for dinner and for other things I do for him. It's rather nice. Thanks for your article.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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