My dad and his five brothers refused to eat cottage cheese. Their wives tricked them into eating the hated food by hiding it in fruit salads and assorted casseroles. As I grew older I began to wonder what it was about cottage cheese that made it a universally hated food in my dad’s family. My curiosity was even greater when one of my grandma’s friends told us she could not understand why my dad and uncles hated it, because, she said, “Your grandma made the best cottage cheese in town.”
My parents were born during the great depression. My mother lived on a farm and carried happy memories of her childhood. She would tell us that she never felt deprived in those years. While the depression raged around her family, they were secure on property my great-uncle owned, the animals they raised and the food they grew. Her life was full of 4-H meetings, canning demonstrations and winning trips to the State Fair.
I later learned that my dad experienced growing up in town very differently. Survival was hard. The primary protein in my dad’s life was the cottage cheese that his mom made from milk of the one cow they owned. Nothing could go to waste. I do not know if she ever sold her cottage cheese. But, I do know that it accompanied every meal. She must have been proud of her ability to feed her family nourishing food. But, for her sons, the meal was not only tiresome, but a sign of their poverty. While they doted on her later, I doubt any of her sons ever thanked their mom for the work and effort she put into that cottage cheese.
Our best efforts may go unnoticed, unappreciated and undervalued. Our labors may seem wasted on those we give ourselves to. Fortunately, our value and worth as human beings does not depend upon the praise of others . . . But rather rest in God, who loves us and wants good in our lives. The apostle Paul encourages the people of Ephesus with these words.
“I pray that . . . God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through the Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19
Feeling unappreciated today? Bask in God’s loving care and know that you are one of God’s beloved and precious children. A child of infinite worth and value.