Don’t Read A Book By Its Cover… Or A Picture By Its Looks… - Encouragement Café - November 6

Don’t Read A Book By Its Cover… Or A Picture By Its Looks…
By Samantha Jackel

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

We live in a world that promotes perfection and prosperity. You see it plastered on the front cover of our magazines, in the titles of New York Times Best Sellers, or our friends’ happy snaps of exotic holidays, new cars, happy families, blossoming relationships and answered prayers that overwhelm our Instagram feeds.

While the majority of us find ourselves stuck in the daily grind, do you ever wonder, “Why doesn’t my life look like this?”

Thanks to social media, we are more connected than ever before—a fact that makes it nearly impossible to avoid the attention of family, friends and complete strangers who choose to ‘watch on’ as we live out our day-to-day lives.

More and more, we find ourselves under pressure to project this same image our world promotes: perfection and prosperity.

Let’s face it… no exhausted mother of five wants to post a picture of herself ironing her third basket of washing, or share an ‘Instagram Story’ of their family holiday where her kids are arguing and screaming in the back of the car. 

But how often does our perception of what life ‘should’ look like mismatch our reality!

On October the 14th 2018, Peter and I celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary—and this is no small feat considering how far our marriage has been from ‘smooth sailing’.

The first five years were literal hell on earth… and the remaining twenty-five saw us cry, laugh and cry some more.

Before being blessed with five beautiful children, we grieved the miscarriage of our first child. Before owning a house outright, we had to sell our furniture just to pay the bills.

Before God gifted us our own ministry, we had given 100% to other ministries only to be slapped in the face by their leadership and those we served. 

If you scrolled through my Instagram account or Facebook profile, it would be easy to come away thinking that my life is ‘blessed’. For me, these images aren’t trying to depict a ‘perfect life’ to my followers.

Rather, they are an invitation to share in the joy of coming out of a tough season—an invitation to see God’s goodness and His purpose for these times.

Since our first was a nightmare, my husband and I will be jet setting to Italy for our second honeymoon to celebrate our thirtieth anniversary.

From the pictures I post on social media, you will not see the years of heartache and hard work that got us to this milestone. You won’t see the sacrifices we made to have a holiday. You won’t see the prayers we prayed to even allow us to board the plane. Rest-assured, we serve a good, good God.

Through it all, the joy and the pain, I have learnt to always give thanks—and that true trust is allowing Him to take you on a journey that doesn’t look like anyone else’s.

Bookmark this Scripture—

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant”; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.  

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:9-10NIV

Dear Lord, Thank You that Your Word is true. Thank You that You promise that You are with me and that You never leave me. Lord, I take comfort that You walk with me through each season. Help my heart to remain steadfast and faithful.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

©2018 by Samantha Jackel.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Monday, 06 November 2023.