When a Hobby Brings New Hope

November 7, 2018
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
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Who would have thought that posting fun, silly photos on Instagram could benefit children in the foster care system? Not me. But it has … in a big way.

It all started with sharing photos of my ridiculously cute Labradoodle and my darling, bespectacled foster-grandson. Watching them together warmed my heart and made me smile. I wanted to show the strong bond they’d developed, so I started dressing them alike, taking photos and posting them on Instagram. The “pawsitive” responses I received made me realize mine was not the only heart warmed by this adorable duo.

As my Instagram account, Reagandoodle, gained popularity, I prayed God would use it to glorify Himself and benefit children in foster care. God answered that prayer by turning Reagandoodle into something much more than I ever dreamed, drawing people to Him and shining a light on His kids. People reach out to me every day, sharing their stories of foster care and adoption and expressing the joy the photos bring to their day.

Using my gifts of photography and editing to share fun pictures on Instagram drew more attention than I ever expected. The photos I posted eventually gained the attention of several national TV shows who came calling. They featured the story of Reagan the Labradoodle and my then foster-grandson (now adopted grandson), bringing even greater attention to the needs of children in foster care.

What started as one small act became something so much bigger than I am. It is totally astounding to me that while I never saw my gift of photography as anything special, God has used it to bless so many others.

As 1 Peter 4:10 reminds us, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

God has gifted each of us with different talents or skills, things that make us come alive when we do them. For me, that gift is photography and image editing. I love the whole process: setting up a scene with my dog and grandchildren, capturing the image, then processing it on the computer. All of that is fun for me, but the real joy is sharing the images on social media, knowing they will brighten someone’s day and bring awareness to the needs of children in foster care.

So, let me ask you a question: What do you love to do? Garden? Scrapbook? Sing? Maybe you love to teach or cook, or you’re great at organizing. Whatever it is you love to do, maybe, like me, you don’t see it as something special. Maybe like me, you’ve placed it in the hobby category — never imagining that your little hobby could be a blessing to someone else.

Although God wants you to enjoy them, He didn’t bless you just so you could keep your talents to yourself. God wants you to bless others with your talents, and give Him glory in the process.

How can you be a faithful steward, use your gifts to serve others and bring glory to God? By simply sharing your talents. If you love to garden, take someone a bouquet of flowers. If cooking is your jam, take a meal to a hurting friend or a busy mom. It doesn’t have to be elaborate — just do something.

When you share your talents, God can turn your seemingly small acts of service into something much bigger, like He did for me.

I can’t wait to see what He has in store for you.

Lord, thank You for gifting me with talents and skills. Please help me find an opportunity to use my gifts to bless others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 9:11, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (NIV)


In her new book Reagandoodle & Little Buddy: The True Story of a Labradoodle & His Toddler Best Friend, Sandi Swiridoff shares the true story of how one adopted dog and a foster child develop an unforgettable friendship.


To find out more about the adventures of Reagandoodle and his human friends, visit @reagandoodle on Instagram.

How’d you like to win your own copy of Reagandoodle & Little Buddy by Sandi Swiridoff? To celebrate the launch of Sandi’s new book, Harvest House is giving away 5 copies! Just share a comment here in our comments section, and you’re automatically entered. {We’ll randomly select the winners and notify each one via our comments section by Monday, November 12.}


How can you use your gift (or talent or skill) to bless someone else today?

© 2018 by Sandi Swiridoff. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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