We were strolling in our neighborhood one summer evening when a fellow walker stopped to express admiration for our new little family.  My husband pulled the red Radio Flyer wagon with our blonde-haired, blue-eyed son, 2 1/2-years old at the time, perched in the back seat.  Leash in hand, Golden Retriever tugging at the other end, I walked alongside them with our 9-month old  daughter  strapped to my front,  her bald head happily bobbing above the Baby Bjorn carrier .  “You are just the picture of the All-American Family!” declared the walker.  I smiled, feeling flattered by her compliment and, at the same time,  a bit guilty of false advertising.

Truth be known, our household better resembled a Nanny 911 episode than the image of the All-American Family.  At that time in our lives, my husband and I spent most of our days in survival mode.   Our son had been diagnosed with autism just months before and his younger sister’s arrival totally wreaked havoc on his little  world.  Amidst  nursing sessions and diaper changing,  our days at home bore witness to frequent, lengthy and intense meltdowns over furniture not being in its proper place, truck wheels spinning incorrectly, and misplaced Matchbox cars.  Just when our little lady started sleeping through the night, our son started waking for several hours in the middle of the night, screaming and crying-over lost articles in his room.  These panic episodes continued for almost 2-months.  Physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted, I was hanging on by a thread.  Hardly what one expects from the All-American Family!

I share this very real snapshot of my life with you in an effort to illustrate how deceptive outward appearances can be.  Only a few friends and family were truly aware of how desperate I felt during those early days with my two little ones. Understandably, most of us want to put our best selves out there, whenever possible.  After all, who wants to walk around wearing their own brokenness for all to see?  It’s just not a pretty picture!  At the same time, if we allow Him, God takes the  hurt and pain that we so desperately want to hide and turns our ugly into His beauty –  images of grace, compassion, healing and joy.  Knowing this truth, as I tell of my own story,  I pray that I may reflect more of His image and less of my own.

What about you?   Will you share a glimpse of God’s handiwork in your life?