Front Porch Flowers

In some ways, “Front Porch Flowers,” is a second part to last weeks post, “3 Ways to Stop Judging.”

The quote above “. . . you couldn’t tell a thing about a family by their front-porch flowers” is a realization Cornelia Taylor, the main character in my book In Search of the Painted Bunting, comes to when she’s confronted with what’s been going on behind the beautiful exterior of her friend Opal Ann’s house.

Sometimes, when I give my testimony, I talk about how in my early life I was in such pain while being so far from God. On the outside, I had a wonderful job, wore nice clothes, and put a smile on my face. No one knew. But behind my own version of front porch flowers, there was a massive storm brewing, one that would almost break me.

Often, we’re tempted to believe the social media post fa├žade—that everything is in perfect order, that there is no chaos just beyond those curated images, and that another’s life is free of the unavoidable messes, pain, and heartache of our own.

But it’s just not true. My respect goes up a hundred-fold for anyone who creates social media content and dares to show what’s beyond the framed images.

The idea that we must measure up to those perfect images is breaking the lives of some of our youth. We all love beauty , but somehow we have to be real about our brokenness, our failings, and our ragged edges and at the same time offer hope in Jesus.

And we need to watch for the subtext in conversation. Often, we get hints to the pain of others if we really listen. When they dare to crack the door to reveal their hurt, let’s resist immediately offering platitudes, but be willing to suffer with them.

The Message renders the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 12:9 like this: “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.”

So, let’s be genuine in our love and get rid of any hypocrisy. Let’s watch for when those metaphorical front porch flowers are just window dressing to hide the pain behind them.

And like Cornelia, we may find God at work in unexpected ways.


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