I genuinely believe for most of us, our deepest desire is to make our parents proud.
From a young age, it’s what we all long to hear, isn’t it? “I am proud of you.” When we mess up enough times, we begin to feel as if that just isn’t possible anymore. So, we tell ourselves it’s fine, and we don’t care. But deep down, most of us do, even if we don’t admit it, even if we don’t realize it. Some have never even known their parents or have such anger towards them that they train themselves not to care. If they were to dig deep enough, they would find they were angry because they feel as if they have been robbed of being able to hear those precious words from someone who really meant them.
As a child, nothing made me happier than to create things to give to my mom. She used to keep boxes on top of boxes of things I had made. You know what I did? I grew up to be a creative. By saving all of my things, she was teaching me from a young age that I had value. Knowing your value, your worth is the very “stuff” that confidence is made from.
As I grew older, I did some things, many things that made both my parents not so proud. Eventually, I began to believe that no matter how much good I did, it would never outweigh the mistakes I had made, and I eventually began to see their approval as something that was just unattainable. I then started to view God’s approval in the same way. What a clever trick of the enemy it is to use our parents, who are only human, as a tool to destroy our confidence at an early age and our relationship with a perfect and almighty God—his primary objective.
The irony is this: it wasn’t until I quit seeking my parents’ approval and started seeking God’s approval that I finally made my mother truly proud. If my dad were alive today, I know he would be too.
How many of us find ourselves in a similar position when it comes to God? We mess up so many times that we begin see ourselves as bad, and we eventually give up on trying to be good.
Don’t let the enemy convince you to give up. Making mistakes is ok. Just try not to make the same mistakes! God knows your heart; He knows when you’re really trying, when you’re truly seeking Him. God knows if you are only doing good to get into Heaven as opposed to doing good because it’s simply who you are. The latter is what makes God most proud!
Mothers, tell your children when you’re proud of them. Let them know it’s ok to mess up, but also that true repentance means that you make a significant effort to not repeat the same offenses. Talk to your children about their Father, God. Tell them that the very effort they put into making Him proud is exactly how proud He will be. It’s not about perfection; it’s about effort, true effort.
When we know we have made our Creator and our creators (aka our parents) proud, it’s easy to have confidence as an adult. We all need someone outside of ourselves to be proud of us; it’s just part of being a human. Not everyone will admit this, however. We live in a world full of people who worship the self and people who refuse to admit they need anyone or anything besides themselves. Independence is praised in today’s world. Every time I heard the words “I’m proud of you” from my parents, it truly moved me. When I heard those words from God, however, it transformed me.
It was Christmas Eve, and I began to imagine how my mom would react when I gave her my book, the book I had dedicated to her. Would she be genuinely proud? Would she be disappointed that the surprise wasn’t a new boyfriend or an engagement ring? These were the things that ran through my mind as I prayed. “God, please just let her be proud of me.”
Seeing my book come to life, I was filled with joy, excitement, and absolute peace. God really had His hand on this project, and it was finished; it was perfect. But still, in the corner of my God-filled heart, I longed to make my mother proud.
After that prayer, I made my way into the living room and stood in front of my bookshelf because something on the shelf had caught my eye. The books on one of the bottom shelves had cascaded downward leaving two standing pink books exposed—two books my mom had given me back when I was a teenager. “To My Daughter With Love” and “Don’t Ever Give Up Your Dreams” by Susan Polis Schutz, a woman who had created two books filled with poems she had written for her daughter. Some might say that was coincidence, but I don’t think it was. I knew in that moment this Christmas was going to be unforgettable, and my mother was going to be prouder of me than she had ever been before.
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