Nothing is more important than honesty in prayer. There are no pretensions in prayer, so the best place to begin is wherever you are.
- Robert Schuller
Before Elizabeth moved away, she had one request: a family portrait for her new home. The proofs came in yesterday.
It is a curious thing to look at the pictures. I know each face by heart yet rarely look at everyone all together. Things pop out: Elizabeth and John look alike, Maggie and Andrew have the same mouth, Mary and Maggie share hair color.
I also think of what isn’t visible: the relationships between siblings, who has confidence and who doesn’t, who is working on mastering a temper or developing a positive attitude. You can’t see inner struggles or worries in a picture, personal triumphs or failures. You can’t see faith or doubt or temptations.
It reminds me of when Saul was looking for the Lord’s anointed and saw one of Jesse’s sons, and was told, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). There’s a difference between the surface and what’s really important.
It’s true that I have a beautiful family. It’s also true that in many ways we’re not as perfect as we appear. Looking at my smiling family reminds me not to make sweeping assumptions about people, but to pray for God to heal the weaknesses in others that only he can see.
Julia Attaway is a freelance writer, homeschooler and mother of five. She is the editor of Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of Motherhood, a book of devotions for first-time moms. She lives in New York.