Do you remember holding your parents hands when you were young? Do you remember how it made you feel? I was thinking about it the other day. For a number of reasons I was struggling. I was worried about money, scared about the future, and was desperately missing my mum. I was walking from my lounge to the kitchen, when the weight of the things on my mind suddenly hit me. It caused a physical weakness in my body, and I reached out a hand to steady myself.
It made me think back to being a little girl, and all those times when my mum or dad would take my hand. Why? Because part of their responsibility as parents was to keep me safe and to give comfort and security.
Children reach out their hands to their parents, they have an inbuilt desire to be held. If you were fortunate enough to have good parents, then perhaps you’ll remember how that felt. As children we have confidence that our parents will be there for us, that they will provide for us. If we fall, they will pick us up, if we’re unwell they’ll make us better, if we’re sad they will comfort us. We trust them, and we don’t have to try to trust them, it is a trust that automatically comes, because our parents have always been there for us.
As we grow older, those roles are sometimes reversed. We are the ones to hold our parents hands, we are the ones to keep them safe, we are the ones to bring comfort.
I took this photo when mum was dying. I remember feeling so afraid that I would forget what her hands looked like, I remember not ever wanting to let go. Those last days with mum were so precious, holding her hand, lifting it up to my face and pressing it against my cheek. I would sleep with my head on her pillow, holding her close. I had become the one to comfort her, I so desperately wanted to make everything better.
My mum held me when I was born, and I held her as she died. They were precious times, but were also a terrible blessing. Those memories are treasured, and yet also heartbreakingly painful.
After mum died, I suffered with terrible anxiety and fear. I felt like I had lost my security, I couldn’t seem to find solid ground to stand on. I didn’t feel safe anymore. I found it hard to get out of the house and do normal everyday life. The outside world was overwhelming, but there was an element of safety within my own home. I guess I could pretty much control what happened there, I wasn’t going to be faced with a situation that I couldn’t cope with. Sometimes I would text my friend, and she would simply tell me ‘you’re safe’. I needed that reassurance.
Fear is a terrible feeling, it can control and paralyse you. With mum gone, my future had become terrifying, and I was desperately looking for a safe place to land. I’m 46 and single, marriage is a gift I have yet to receive. I am facing a future alone, with no one to share the ups and downs of life with. I have no financial security, I don’t own my own home, and I am exhausted from having to figure out everything on my own. I am afraid.
It’s easy to trust God when we don’t really need to trust Him. (I know, that doesn’t make much sense) What I mean is, that it’s easy to trust God when everything is going ok. It’s not so easy to trust God when things are tough. Trusting God for food is easy when your fridge is full. Not so easy when it’s empty!
Remember back to holding hands with your parents. We intrinsically trusted them to provide for our needs. We trusted that we’d be fed, and have a bed to sleep in. Trusting them was not hard, but it’s so much more difficult to trust God. It is for me anyway. I’m talking to myself as I write this, I certainly do not have the whole thing figured out. I swing between trusting God, and freaking out.
I often read these words:
I (God) hold you by the hand, and I say, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you’. Isaiah 41:13
I read them, and I believe them, but I don’t always trust them.
I was listening to a song the other day. I’ll post a link below. It’s called ‘Held’ by Natalie Grant. It speaks of grief, loss, and comfort. It really touched my heart.
You know, nobody gave us a guarantee that life would all work out. Yes, some people seem to have it easier than others, but we only know what we see, who knows what’s really going on behind their closed doors? Life can be unfair. I’ve stopped asking why, and I try not be angry or lay blame anywhere. That serves no purpose, and the answers never really come.
After mum died, one of the hardest things to face, was the fact that I had to continue to live without her. I don’t say this for dramatic effect, but I honestly wished I had died with her. I would lay in bed every night asking God to just let me die, living on was and sometimes is, just too painful. It’s a prayer He has yet to answer, obviously! Perhaps there is still life left for me to live! 🙂
That’s the rub, my mum had been torn from my life, and I was left here to survive. Torn brings a picture of a wound to mind. That’s how grief is, we are severely wounded, but we are still alive. It’s indescribably painful.
We may not have the lives we expected or wanted. We may be desperately unhappy, but Gods promise to us, is that when everything falls, when life collapses around us, we will be held. We may not feel held, we may still feel that we are lost at sea, struggling to stay above water, but……………..we are held. I firmly believe that if it were not for Gods hand on my life, and the support from my friends, that I would not be here to write this.
I love this verse….
He (God) takes care of his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms. He holds them close to His heart. Isaiah 40:11.
They are such kind and gentle words. I love that we are so precious to God, that He wants to hold us close, and keep us safe.
So my friend, whatever your circumstances, know this…………….no matter how afraid you are, no matter how unsafe or alone you feel, you are held.
Your life has purpose (even if it is currently unclear) You are so very precious to Jesus, He loves you, and His arms are big enough to carry you.
We are safe, we are loved, we are held.
You are held.