On Snapchat and Remembering

by Kimberly Knowle-Zeller


That seems to be the way we take pictures in our family.

With lots of wrangling and funny faces and crazy sounds and patience.


That’s, of course, when we use Snapchat to take pictures to share with our friends and family. Our toddler loves to see the pictures we take and scroll through. She loves holding her new baby brother. So we snap pics and share them. Over and over again.

Our daughter playing in the leaves: snap a picture.

Our son asleep in my arms: snap a picture.

The two kids laying on the floor together: snap a picture.

A dinner that ends up mostly on the hands and face of our toddler: snap a picture.

A beautiful sunset: snap a picture.

A first haircut: snap a picture.

My daughter singing along in church: snap a picture.

The dog chasing the kids: snap a picture.

The pictures are ordinary moments. They are our lives. They are the joys and missteps. They are the tantrums and the cuddles. With Snapchat we can write notes on the pictures, share thoughts, and invite people into one small glimpse, a small snap, of our lives.

It’s almost like we say with each picture we share: Come and join me in this moment. This one precious, fleeting, beautiful moment.  

Because that’s the thing with Snapchat, it’s just for a moment, a number of seconds, and then it’s gone. Unless of couse you save it to your story, which means it stays for a day. But then, too, it’s gone. It is truly a glimpse at one moment of our lives.

Sometimes I’ll screenshot my pictures so I can save them for later and add them to the myriads of pictures saved on my computer. But mostly I take a picture, send it, and let it go. I savor the moment and experiences in which I took the picture. I give thanks that I have two loving, alive, and joyful kids. I’m grateful to have friends to share the messy and chaotic parts of our lives.


I send a Snapchat picture and say to my friends: Come and join me in this moment. This one precious, fleeting, beautiful moment.

Because isn’t that life, too, isn’t that parenthood? A series of small, beautiful, messy, chaotic moments lived over and over again? To be stored somewhere in our bones and bodies and hearts. Moments that take our breath away. Moments that stretch us to the core. Moments we hope we never forget. Moments that shape us and grow us. Moments that allow us to be who we have been called to be – beloved children of God.


Come and join me in this life. This one precious, beautiful life.  


Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com


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