Purposeful Faith

When the Recognition Doesn’t Come

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I waited a week for acknowledgement that the gift was received. A book I carefully picked out for this season of his life when he was groping for meaning and purpose.

I opted for the express shipping so it would be there in time for his birthday. My anticipation of his reaction mounted.

But the gratitude never came. There was no text, no thank you. I went online to make sure the package was delivered and saw it had.

It was as though the attempt to reach out never happened.

Self-defeat and pity consumed me. Why did I bother? Why did I make an effort when time and time again it wasn’t reciprocated?

An old wound was irritated. I knew I needed to address the source of pain, but I waited.

When a similar situation happened weeks later, I could no longer ignore the ache. I longed for recognition of the love I was pouring into those around me. I watched as others received pats on the back and validation.

In quiet moments between the fluster of a home with two young boys, I searched for peace. I asked the Creator to show me his heart.

Here’s the thing about asking the Father to reveal himself to you: He always delivers. It may not be on our timeline or in the way we prefer, but his response is as sure as the dew after a slow rain.

In another room I could hear my three-year-old begging for praise from big brother. He’d just put together the choo-choo and to him, it was a lifetime achievement worthy of celebration.

The desire to be seen was as deep and innate in him as breathing.

I flipped through my Bible trying to grasp the life behind the words on the page, but the syllables fell flat. Turning pages aimlessly, I landed in John.

Jesus was talking with the Jews, who were persecuting him because he equated himself with the Father. They wanted witnesses who could testify to the truth.

But the Father is the only witness Jesus needs.

“I am the one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” John 8:18 NIV

Even though the Jews didn’t see Jesus’ heart and eternal worth, the Father did. And he sees mine too. But often, my actions say my identity in Him isn’t enough.

I run after accolades and gold stars, but the only credit I need is from my Creator. He approved me, sealed me and delivered me.

I crave the spotlight and the center stage, but on God’s stage we are all equals.

If I walk in step with the Spirit, his witness is sufficient. Everything I have is a gift from Him, and I am simply pouring it into others so that they may experience the life he gives.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with recognition and encouragement. In fact, scripture tells us to encourage each other and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

But this type of acknowledgment is conditional and fleeting, while God’s adoration is unconditional and eternal.

Whose favor am I seeking most?

Months after my seemingly forgotten gift, I was visiting family. My loved one brought the book out and told me how much it meant to him. As he opened it to talk about a particular passage, I saw pages filled with marks from his highlighter and thoughts written in the margins.

Despite my flawed impression, he saw my heart.

And your Father in Heaven sees yours too.

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*Photo Credit

Guest ContributorAbby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a "Cheerleader of Faith", Kelly's greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

Read more about Kelly

11 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you Abby! I know I so often want to be seen. I want to be loved and appreciated. But, what man does not see, God does. You remind my heart to settle deep down into the Father’s love – that is all I need. Thank you dear friend.

  • Oh, Abby! I have a similar story, where I waited and hoped for affirmation about something near and dear to my heart. I tried to figure out a way to bring it up, to satisfy my curiosity about the silence, but only ever felt anxious about it. Then one morning, the answer came. “Say nothing. Let it go.” “OK, Lord,” I thought, and that’s when the peace came. Thank you for this wonderful reminder that His witness is enough.

  • “But this type of acknowledgment is conditional and fleeting, while God’s adoration is unconditional and eternal.” Thank you for this beautiful reminder, Abby. My heart, too, often craves recognition, and I forget the importance of how much God adores me.

    • Trudy, I think it’s an innate desire we all have but yes, he does adore us so much more than we can imagine! Thanks so much for stopping by today. Blessed to hear from you.

  • I’ve experienced those kinds of things too: giving or pouring out for someone who doesn’t express appreciation. Sometimes I let it go, and a time or two I’ve gently mentioned it. But our heart motivation is what matters. I realize so often I’m serving another because I hope to GET something: recognition, love, feeling needed. What a good reminder that God is our most important audience.

    • So true, Betsy. We truly do need to check our motivation and our hearts. It call still hurt when those attempts to reach out aren’t acknowledged, but it’s freeing to know God always sees. Thank you for your words, dear friend.

  • Abby,
    There is something in our human nature that craves the accolades of the world, but God lovingly reminds us to do all for an audience of One. Thank you for this touching reminder that God is “El Roi” – the God who sees. I continually need this reminder…
    Bev xo

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