His pinched lips and jerky movements caught her eye. Her brother struggled. With forced restraint, he bemoaned the impossibility of his task.
She gently opened his clenched fist and removed the pieces of his project. Then, she slowly and methodically began the job of piecing it back together.
He left the project in her more capable hands and skipped away with an upturned face. He hummed a happy a tune.
She worked away. Her face reddened. She avoided my gaze, looking intently at the object of her frustration.
I frowned. She appeared to be successful in her task. Why the excessive throat clearing and narrowed eyes? I slipped down beside her. What’s wrong?
“It’s like I’m invisible. I’m working hard at doing something nice and he doesn’t appreciate it. Why doesn’t he appreciate me?”
Every person longs for appreciation. We long to be noticed. We want our good deeds recognized and praised. I nod as she speaks because I’ve felt that same slow burn. I want my family to notice and admire the small sacrifices that I make for them. I want to hear more thank yous, more compliments, more acknowledgments.
But like motherhood, life is full of opportunities to selflessly give yourself to others, and many of those actions will not be recognized or praised. Certain circumstances burn that reality deeper into our souls. My toddlers never thanked me for a diaper change. Our youngster never thanked the doctor for the needle that will make him feel better. Perhaps we need to rephrase the question. Instead of, “Why am I not appreciated?” ask, “Can I do this for the Lord knowing His pleasure is thanks enough?”
I lean in closer to her. “If God asked you to do this for your brother, would you?”
Of course! Her head nods emphatically.
“If God is the only one who ever notices this kind act, is his pleasure enough?”
“Then do it for the Lord. He sees. He knows. And he is pleased.”
A tiny smile tugs the corner of her lips upward. She bends over the project and begins again in earnest.