when things are not what they seem

As the saying goes, "Don't judge a book by it's cover." Truth is, we always judge books by their covers. We judge the covers of people by outward appearances every day. How one looks, acts, and lives is a little keyhole looking into what's inside. 

Since I too am guilty of looking at a person, or a family, and making assumptions about their lives, I wanted to switch roles for a moment. 

 I have been thinking lately about how others might perceive my family. 

Our family, the Davis family, lives in San Diego in your typical suburban neighborhood. Our house is nothing big, but the view is pretty magnificent. We have two boys, and each have their own bikes. My husband drives a Lexus and I drive an SUV. We both have an iPhone and I own a laptop. Our oldest goes to swim lessons and our youngest loves kicking around the soccer ball.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and Nick is a pastor and writer. We pay our taxes and make student loan payments (ugh). A few times a month, we go on date nights and we shop at normal grocery stores. Our clothes are nothing fancy, but we have all we need. Occasionally. we'll even wear LuLu Lemon (clearance, of course).

We drink good wine (not $2 Buck Chuck) and love to find an excuse to host a party. Hospitality brings us joy. Our Instagram's display mostly the cutest pictures of our family and kids and in our free time you will find us blogging, reading, or binge-watching a Netflix series (we just finished Prison Break). 

So from the outside, we seem to be living the American Dream. God, cars, home, kids, health, jobs, etc. 

The truth is, not everything is sweet smelling roses. Almost all that we own or have was either given to us or we obtained through the efforts and sacrifices of another. We've worked hard, true, but can't take credit for most of what we have. We have two great vehicles thanks to my selfless in-laws who gave us their older cars. We live in a great neighborhood in San Diego, thanks to my mom who splits rent with us. 

Most of our kids clothes and toys are from my mom who makes it her mission in life to spoil them. Date nights are made possible from my sisters and mom. Nick's great jobs are thanks to our friends and his colleagues.

Our life that we get to experience is all because of the generosity of others, and also because we live life with others. God has so graciously allowed us to have the best family and friends who are alongside us on this pilgrimage.  It is by His grace alone that we get to raise these two boys and get to enjoy this life, with all of its joy and pain. 

This keyhole into our life will not show you the countless times where my husband or kids were sick, or when our student loans almost equaled our monthly rent, or when we say things are not nice to each other, or when our temper runs hot. Each of us have our own battles.

Next time you are at the grocery store and you see a mom who has it all and you find yourself envious, or out of pride you think you have it all and she is envious of you; remind yourself, like I need reminding, that we all have our own burdens in this life. The grass is not always greener on the other side. We only see what is on the outside, for man can only judge by appearances. But things are not always what they seem. God knows the heart. This can be frightening, but for all of those who are in Christ, it is a source of comfort.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
— 1 Samuel 16:7