Of all the personal objects Stephanie Hope lost in the recent, record-setting Louisiana flood, she said she was most struck by finding three family Bibles in the ruins of what was her home, which was taken over by seven feet of water.
Hope posted on Facebook that she lost pictures, recipes in her grandmother's handwriting, antique furniture she grew up with, vehicles, every wall and every floor. However, she is still in awe about recovering the following three Bibles:
Her Wedding Bible: "It is the Bible my brother, the Rev. David Glenn Atkinson, held and read from as Reggie Hope and I promised to honor each other all the days of our lives. My brother held that Bible as I stood there in silence, wondering if I could really "do" this again ... for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health 'til death do us part. I had done it once; was I strong enough to do it again?"
Reggie's Pastor's Bible: "How many times has my husband held this Bible in his hands as he read God's word Sunday after Sunday and every day in between, to the one, to the few and to the many, as he tried tirelessly to answer what God had called him to do. I saw those memories cross his face for a fleeting moment as he looked at his Bible and then returned to scooping up the treasures of our lives to throw in the trash heap that is now our front yard."
Her Birthday Bible: "Reggie gave me that Bible on my first birthday as Mrs. Stephanie Hope, March 18, 2013. It is inscribed, 'To: Stephanie Hope, Proverbs 31:30. From: Reggie Hope, 2 Corinthians 5:17.'"
After nearly three weeks since the Hopes evacuated, she said their home has been gutted down to studs and concrete. Items saved are covered in mud and on tables in the garage. "We are able to live in our driveway all through the magnificent generosity of friends."
"So, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or health, 'til one of us dies, here we are. We smell bad, we are tired, we have almost nothing, but we are together," said Hope.
"I will keep these three Bibles. They will be tangible reminders of 'from whence our strength comes' to keep on keeping on."
One of Hope's Facebook friends, Libby Brown Blackwell, responded to her that "life sure has given you a whole lemon tree, but each time it's lemon harvest season, you seem to make lemonade, lemon meringue pie, sweet tea with lemon slices, lemon squares and so much more. You are an inspiration to so many."