~ To the young mom who sees the smiling, content baby on the Facebook post and wonders what she is doing wrong- you don't see the whole story.
You don't see the nights spent rocking a colicky newborn to sleep. You don't see the worry on the mom's face as she wonders what could be possibly wrong with her baby. She is fed, she is dry, she is warm, so why is she screaming?
You don't see the endless hours of marathon nursing sessions. Feeling like all you do is eat, drink water, nurse, go to the bathroom, change diapers, and nurse some more. Wondering if your baby is getting enough to eat, and weighing them after they eat to see how much they got in a session. Counting their wet and poopy diapers, just to make sure that they are getting enough.
You don't see the utter exhaustion that the mom feels. Wondering if she will ever sleep again, and figuring out that it has been over a year (going on two!) since she slept through the night.
All you see is the smiling baby, in the rare moment that everything is perfect in the baby's world.
~To the wife who sees a friend's post showing flowers from a romantic husband who feels a flash of jealousy inside- you don't see the whole story.
You don't see the time and effort put into their marriage. You don't see the fights, and the arguments, and the tears, and the forgiveness and the grace. You don't see the long hours the husband puts into providing for his family, or the long hours that the mom pours into making the house a home. You don't see the work, the sweat, the tears, and the prayer that goes into the marriage. Good marriages don't just happen, and if you are one of the 'lucky' ones that have a good marriage, it's because a lot of time and effort has gone into making it a good marriage. A lot of sacrifice, dying to one's self, and putting someone else's needs above your own has happened.
All you see is the flowers.
~To the church planter who sees the anniversary pictures of someone else's church plant and wonders if they will ever succeed in their own church plant- you don't see the whole story.
You don't see the years and years that it took to sow, water, and harvest. You don't see the blood, sweat, and tears that went into building a church family. You don't see the thousands of doors knocked, the hundreds of miles walked, the physical labor spent, and the thousands of hours of praying. You don't see the mental battle that happens when you become close to someone, only to have them move, or worse yet, stab you in the back and spread lies and rumors about you. You don't see the hurt that comes with it, because it's not something that the pastor and his family broadcast. You don't see the sacrifice, or the love that goes into it.
All you see are the smiling faces on anniversary day.
~To the homeschool mom that sees the post with all the perfectly coordinated kids on their first day of school and wonders how in the world the mom still looks sane when she is homeschooling five kids at once- you don't see the whole story.
You don't see the beginning years. The years filled with doubt, and questioning, and mom guilt. The wondering- "Am I doing good enough for my children? What if I don't teach them everything they need to know? What if I fail? AM I failing?" You don't see the tears when a child just can't seem to get math. The frustration, and the chaos when you can't teach three children at once, the phone is ringing, the toddler is tearing apart the house, and the washer and sink are broken. The feeling of just wanting to run out of the house screaming, or at least be in bed with the covers pulled over your head as you cry it out.
All you see is that blissful, happy moment, right before school starts.
~To the pastor's wife who sees the post of a pastor's wife that you admire, and you wonder how in the world she always seems to have it all together- you don't see the whole story.
You don't see the worry in her heart. Is she enough for her husband, for her kids, for her church ladies? Is she too loud, is she friendly enough, or is she too stand-offish? Is she genuine, and not fake? Does she make everyone feel welcome, and accepted? Is she there for her husband? Does she provide the help to him that he needs, or does she need to do more? You don't see the restless nights as she tries to plan certain events, trying to make sure everyone has a good time. You don't see the running list in her head- all the time, all the time.
All you see is a smiling face every Sunday morning.
~To the single lady who sees the post of a newly married lady and feels a pang of envy- you don't know the whole story.
You don't see the years of praying that went into finding a good spouse. You don't see the waiting, and the patience, and the character that went into waiting for the right one. You don't see the reliance on God- wondering if they were ever going to find "Mr. Right", or if they were destined to be single forever. You don't see the late nights praying, crying, and writing in a journal about their impatience. You don't see the determination that it took to remain pure in a world that encourages promiscuity.
All you see is the joy on the faces of bride and groom on their wedding day.
~To the barren women who sees the post of a new mom and feels overwhelming sorrow- you don't know the whole story.
You don't see the miscarriages that happened. You don't see the years of praying, waiting, and longing for a babe to hold. You don't see the devastation every month at the realization that a baby would not be coming. You don't see the heartache every time the lady that lost a baby had to attend a baby shower. You don't see the pain, sorrow, and longing as your arms remained empty.
All you see is the new baby.
Behind every Facebook post is a story. For some, it's a story of pain and heartache.
For others, it's a story of pain, and then longing, then expectation, and then joy.
For most, there are untold stories behind every post.
The post might be the end of the story, but there is a story behind it.
We all have pain.
We all have heartache and sorrow.
Most of us just don't post it.
There is something in all of us that wants certain parts of our lives to remain private.
Maybe it's a defense mechanism; a need to protect ourselves, to not be vulnerable to just anyone.
Maybe it's a pride thing. We want to show everyone that we can handle whatever life throws our way. We are strong, hear us roar.
Maybe we feel like we have to be strong to everyone, because we have so many people counting on us and depending on us. Whatever it is, we all do it.
But no one's life is perfect, and anyone who thinks a Facebook post is 100% accurate, and that it tells the whole story, think again.
The next time you see a "perfect" facebook post, think of all the untold stories behind it.
We all have them.