When you can’t believe the future will be better than the past


If you’re weighed down today by the future you imagine – if what’s ahead is more dread than dreams – this is me reaching through the screen to say,

Don’t believe everything you think.

Last week we lived a miracle we thought would never happen.

And maybe there are unthinkable miracles for you to live too.

Nine and a half years ago – processing what it would look like to raise Cameron – we thought we’d sure as hell never be able to take him hiking.

At best, he’d be visually impaired. At worst, he’d be completely blind within five years, despite surgery et al.

We’d have to become an indoors-y family, all about the audio books. We’d have to give up whole bits of our great-wide-open selves, to make life work.

We do listen to a lot of audio books.

But last week, we also took our boys hiking.


It was their first proper hike – as in, we actually carried our means of survival.

Cam relied on his walking stick. And he couldn’t see the bushbuck crashing past us through the ferns.

But he whistled for the chorister robin outside our hut one morning, and the chorister robin whistled back.

(Click here for the video if you’re reading in an email.)

It was one of those parenting moments that aren’t spectacular to anyone else, but miraculous to kid-raising you.

The last time I hiked was just before I fell pregnant with Cam. I was ten years younger and two humans hadn’t lived inside me yet. My body’s a bit different now, and so am I. My backpack still fits just fine though. Maybe even better. Maybe because I’ve learned how to be comfortable with discomfort, and comfortable in my skin.

I’ve learned how to go, This is what tired feels like, and it’s ok. This is what sweaty looks like, and it’s ok. This is what it’s like not to know where the next turn on the trail will take us, and it’s ok.


I hiked a lot in my teens and twenties – fuelled by hopes, dreams, irrepressible optimism and an unshakeable belief that the future would be better than the past.

Nowadays, I know the future isn’t always better than the past – if we think better means happier or in sync with what we think is best for us, or best for our kids.  

But sometimes the future is happier. I would even say mostly it is.

And I know for sure that a future rendered to God – lived in the slipstream of his power, wisdom and love – is bigger, richer, deeper, wider, and fantastically coloured-in outside-the-lines. The future reroutes us from our naive, two-dimensional ideals, and in that, God blesses us – from the inside out – to bless the world.


What I want to say to you – and to me – is just –

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up because today is a slice of the future you once dreamed about or dreaded, and now it’s here, served with a side of supersize grace.

Don’t give up because – in hiking and in real life – every step is a step towards a better future.

Each single-minded one-foot-in-front-of-the-other will get you to –

The next spot you’ll roll out your sleeping bag.

The next breathtaking view.

The next backpack snack.

Even hot showers.



For now, relax into the rhythm of the road and know that ours is a future that’s free and everlasting.


. . .

*Happy weekend!*

Go ahead and share this post with someone carrying a heavy pack today?

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Here’s what’s on the menu, if you’re reading this in an email:

Home | Books & other writing | Contact | Meet Dalene | Speaking


  1. I’m so thrilled to read this this morning! Rejoice with you in this achievement and congratulate You on your courage and tenacity.

    With loads of love to you and your beautiful family xxxx

    Debbie Holloway Planning & Communication Hatfield Christian School Sent from my iPad


  2. Dalene, what an inspiration! I was unaware of your journey, but in awe of how you have grown through it. Strength and love to you xx


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