I stripped off my old wallpaper and replaced it with a fresh, new look today. I’m not talking about faded floral prints or flocked fleur-de-lis, but instead, the “wallpaper” we all use on our cell phones. It’s the image we choose to be greeted with every time we pick them up.

Soon after Steve went missing, I switched my wallpaper out to display one of my favorite photos of Steve and Ellie. In this scene, Steve is happily kissing Ellie’s perfect, apple-round baby cheeks as she shyly giggles and looks away, clearly pleased with all of that Daddy love coming her way.

When I first put it there, it would surprise me and fill me with a rush of longing carried on a quick, sharp inhale. Maybe it was masochistic of me to leave it there, but I found the pain re-oriented me to our altered reality–like a reviving slap in the face–while the longing stirred a sense of connection I was desperate to feel with my recently evaporated husband. But now, with so much time and distance from Steve’s death, this image no longer surprises me or stirs such intense longings. I take this as a natural process, a healthy sign.

Today when I looked at the familiar photo, I knew it was time to let go of it and make a shift to something that would better reflect my heart and focus at this point in my journey.

When I use my phone now (which I must do 1,000 times a day!), I am greeted by the image you see here of my daughter Ellie (on the right) and her most excellent friend, Victoria. These two olive-skinned beauties likely paused for just a moment , capturing their happiness before they zipped off to the “next thing.” (As Ellie seems to take pleasure in reminding me, “College is really busy!”)

Danny Gokey, in “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” sings about transitioning forward after great loss: “Beginning. Just let that word wash over you. You’re all right now. Love’s healing hands have pulled you through. So get back up, take step one. Leave the darkness, feel the sun. ‘Cause your journey’s far from over and your story’s just begun.”

These two spirited, courageous girls are propelling themselves forward, grabbing onto the future with both hands, eager to live out the one-of-a-kind stories God has written for each of them. They are an excellent example for all of us–a reminder that each day promises a chance to start again, start fresh.

“Beginning. Just let that word wash over you.”