Monday, 1 October 2012

Praised at the Gates

Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:31

Have you ever heard someone praising you behind your back?
Isn't it a wonderful thing to happen upon a conversation you weren't supposed to hear, where you are being praised for something you have done?

There is something to be said about hearing a compliment you were not supposed to hear. It is so different than a compliment said to your face.

I would assume ( though my mother tells me not to do that), that most people are like me and find it difficult to receive a compliment. I find them awkward to receive. Mostly because I am the kind of person who thinks most people are just being kind when saying a compliment and may not actually mean it.

My oldest sister got married a little over a year ago. While spending time with her and her new husband I noticed that he never ate any desserts that I made. (I love baking, cooking is a chore, but baking is a pleasure)I had never thought anything of it until it was brought up in a conversation. So I asked him, knowing that his mother loves to bake and entertain, "Do you just not like to eat desserts? Doesn't your mother make dessert all the time?"

His response was shockingly honest. " I don't normally take desserts that other people make because I know that they are not going to be as good as what my mom makes."   He had never tried anything I made because he didn't think it would be good. I was kinda shocked, but had to bring it up that he had never tried anything I had made. He of course felt terrible and I told him that if he did that to me again I would be very hurt, cause now I know his secret.
He has since eaten many of my delicious desserts and has said that they were tasty. But it is hard to believe that he is telling the truth.

But if I heard him talking to someone else about how amazing something I made was, maybe it would be different.

Has your husband ever told you that you are stunning, beautiful, or sexy, and you doubted it?

I find myself doubting it all the time. For some reason I find it easier to accept a compliment from someone else. Its like because he is my husband, I know he thinks I am beautiful, but likely no one else agrees.  

When I was pregnant with Little E, Mr. T told be that I was beautiful when we were heading to church one Sunday.  I was feeling extra large and frumpy and had spent the morning on the verge of tears because nothing fit or if it did fit it looked terrible.  I believed that he thought I looked good, but I myself didn't think I looked good.

After church we went out for lunch and while we were sitting there a woman from church came up and complimented me saying that I looked beautiful and glowing and that she couldn't believe I was almost 8 months pregnant because I was so thin.  She then sat down at her table with her family and friends and continued to talk about me to them.  

For some reason it was easy to believe she was sincere. It was a totally unsolicited compliment and it came at a time of insecurity in how I looked.  It was very uplifting, but the part that I appreciated most was not her compliments about how I looked that she said to my face, but what she said to her friends and family. She talked about how I was kind and good with kids and a number of other little things that were very uplifting.

Having your "works be praised at the city gate", wether you were meant to hear them or not, is still a special feeling.  It makes us feel like we are doing something worthwhile, something important.

We are made to do good works for God, to further his kingdom.  As mothers we get used to not receiving praise or recognition for all the things that we do on a daily basis. We would like to hear a thank you and a way to go sometimes, but we get used to not hearing it and we sometimes forget that what we do is really important and that it is Gods plan for us.

It is nice to receive recognition but most of the time, when we are doing what we were made to do, we won't receive any praise. Our praise will come, hopefully, when we stand and are judged and hear " well done my good and faithful servant."

For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 2:10

Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. 
Proverbs 19:21

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 
Matthew 5:16

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12

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