They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this one holds a thousand stories.

It was pouring down rain as we all got dressed in our carefully orchestrated earth-tone outfits. Children running everywhere, fighting over toys as parents snatched away any colorful foods that might smudge or stain. We were ironing, showering, fussing with hair until everyone looked perfect. 

And still the rain fell.

This was our only opportunity to get the pictures done so we pushed through, just praying the clouds would part. We loaded up the cars by pulling them into the garage – just to keep everyone dry. We brought our three utterly useless broken umbrellas and piled them in with us. We texted our dear friend and photographer. “Bring your scuba gear!” He instructed.

We drove twenty minutes. I had Jessica and her crew in my car and she checked the radar. She showed me the big splotch of bright red that we were heading into. A car driving next to us hit a large patch of water and our windshield was covered for too many seconds. I gripped the steering wheel and said another prayer. 

As we drew closer to the park, the rain started to slow. The clouds began to part and a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. We couldn’t help but laugh – what happened to the large red thunderstorm? We met up with our photographer and made our way to the spot he’d picked out. We had to trudge through some high wet grass to get there and just a few lingering drops of rain fell.

And then the rain stopped.

We haven’t seen all the pics yet, but the one our friend sent us that night gave me goosebumps. This was a moment I’d dreamed of for years. All of us together for the first time. Our eight children – some with their loves, the beautiful grand babies, my precious mom, my dear friend Jennifer whom God grafted into our family. Oh, the stories in this picture! The storms that preceded it! The losses that created it – that somehow God used to weave us all together. 

So to most folks, this is just a sweet family picture in the middle of a field. To our crew, it shouts redemption, restoration, hope, life – GOD. God’s goodness. God’s love. God’s way of bringing beauty from ashes and hope from sadness. God’s way of showing off a rainbow after the storm – shouting his love from the skies. It’s just how He rolls and I’m thrilled that I got to witness it with this crew.

Truth is, without the rain, the beauty would not be so riveting. And without the pain, this moment would have passed as just another family picture day. But because of all that preceded it, this moment was/is so much more – a moment captured in time that will forever be memorialized in this mama heart.

A taste of heaven – when all of us will be together again after the storms.

30 Responses

  1. What a beautiful picture! The kids have grown up so much! Incredible what a few years & God’s Grace has accomplished! Thank you for sharing this exquisite moment.

    1. Thank you for celebrating with us, Kathie! Yes, they’ve grown so much! When I look back, I can hardly believe it. Feeling grateful!

  2. Elsa, you brought tears to my eyes as I know some of the pain that brought you here. What a beautiful family!!! I’m so glad you could all be together. Love you all!

  3. What an amazing photo…..story……and family! It’s lovely. To have that one moment in time that captures so many of those you love and cherish! So glad God, once again, turns everything to a blessing. 🙂 Thankful for your blog!!

  4. What a beautiful family! Is that Samantha to your right? She reminds me of you if I’m right. I just mentioned to a colleague last week that I haven’t heard from you in a while, but I imagine she is busy with her big family! And I even mentioned you in our final Divorce Care meeting today – and here you were when I got home. It’s just a God timing isn’t it? You surely are a blessed lady.

    1. Thanks, Alona! I feel very blessed! And yes, that’s Samantha to my right. Hard to believe she is nearly 30 now!

  5. Elsa,
    What an amazing photo. I just love that you were all able to come together as a family and capture these smiles! God is amazing, is He not? Even in the detail of pausing as storm and sending a rainbow. Thank you for sharing.


  6. Love the picture and the words you wrote Elsa! What a wonderful family picture! God blessed you with the rain stoppage and the rainbow

  7. Dearest Elsa and family
    Once again Elsa you have penned such beautiful words and emotions – and made me feel I was
    along for the rainy ride.

    What a treasure to have captured so much love in one photo.

    For sure it is a keeper. Blessings in Abundance – love, Denny

  8. What a beautiful moment in time that was captured at JUST THE RIGHT TIME. God’s timing is perfect. I love reading your posts~ Thank you Elsa!

  9. Elsa I lost a dear close friend recently and have not been able to mourn or get back into a daily routine since her death. Your story brought tears to my eyes because I am a true believer of the lord. You are blessed with a beautiful Family. I have witness the 3 day death of Jesus when my Mom passed on a good Friday 16 years ago. The day of the funeral it rained and then during the mass service the sun came out with a rainbow. When it was time to head across town to her burial site god kid you not it started to hail, at that time I was not good with my faith so not really knowing the story when Jesus was nailed to the cross I really did not know the real story. Thank you again for your story.

    1. Thank you so much for writing! I’m so sorry for the loss of your close friend. Praying God brings sweet comfort as only he can!

  10. Oh Elsa! How I celebrate all the goodness of this family portrait! I love how God is dramatic, loving, funny and caring about details– all at once! He parted the stormy skies, sent a rainbow and helped you create a masterpiece photo! Love you, girl!

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