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Challenge: Gratitude & Giving

How a photo reminded me what a shred of hope can do

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We took a picture today and it carried me back to a little over ten years ago.

A little over ten years ago, my husband and I moved back in together after living apart for six months following his stay in drug rehab.

A little over ten years ago, our little family of four took our first vacation together with a sober Daddy. We laughed and swam and visited the Dinosaur Museum and cheered when he finished a 50-mile trail run through Colorado National Monument.

A little over ten years ago, I took a photo of my husband with our two little boys as this small shred of hope chiseled its way into my heart after so many years of just surviving life. We had teetered so close to the edge of losing it all.

I’ve carried that photo in my wallet ever since.


And now here we are ten years later in the same place.

We hopped out to enjoy the view today, and he turned to me with a smile, “Remember the last time we were here? We took a picture in this very same spot!”

I noticed how his face beamed as we re-created that picture…now with five kiddos surrounding him.

Then we buckled everyone back into the car and our eyes met across the seats. I know we were both thinking the same thing.


Somehow that little shred of hope from so many years ago took up residence in my heart.

Somehow that little shred of hope spread out and took over.

Somehow that little shred of hope grew into this beautiful, ordinary life.

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We drove off down the road amid all the bickering and whining and fruit snack wrappers and Lizzy singing, “Happy birthday to Mommy” over Zootopia on the DVD player and I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude wash over me and fill me up from the top of my head to the very tips of my toes.

I’m so incredibly grateful for it all.


Friend, are you in the middle of a rough patch? A difficult year? An awful season?

Are you only just surviving life?

Are you teetering close to the edge of losing it all?

Can I share with you just a small shred of hope?

Please hear me now and let the following words chisel their way deep into your heart:

Time heals.

God restores.

And there is ALWAYS reason to hope.

Who knows what kind of beautiful picture hope will create.

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