SUMMER CONNECTIONS: Holding to Your Hand

 My youngest daughter turned five this past week.  Five.  It’s an age that signals the end of the preschool era in our household. It’s a bittersweet feeling, but for the time I am happy to embrace the smallest blessings.  Namely, the blessing that she still holds my hand.

The thought first occurred to me in late May as I was walking her to preschool.  I held out for her hand to cross the street but as we reached the other side, I loosened my grip to allow her to let go if she wanted.  Maybe she wanted to skip ahead or, because we had time, I would have let her dawdle behind if something caught her attention.  She didn’t.  Instead, as my hand loosened, it seemed as though her grip tightened and she remained at my side.  I felt loved like no words could ever describe and I knew she would be safe.  Ever since that day, I have become increasingly aware of the feeling of her hand reaching for mine.  Whether we are browsing in a mall or strolling thru a park, her little hand always seems to end up there.  It’s become the highlight of running errands for me.

I don’t know about you, but summer for me comes with the opportunity to live a slower life, if even just for a week here or there.  To just savor that slower pace, melting into the warmth of quieter evenings is delightful.  So very often, quiet moments leave me feeling reflective.  This summer, the quiet has led me to consider the darker closets of my life where I tend to hide my doubts and insecurities, and has encouraged me to see them for their true name:  fear.  I want to step out in this life, but I’m scared of choosing the wrong path.  I want to reach out and encourage my friends and neighbors who are dealing with difficult times, but I’m afraid of looking like a snoopy fool.  I want to move forward and offer my whole life over to Jesus and his plan for me, but I’m afraid of not being enough.  Instead, I choose to stand frozen in place, allowing my feet to be glued to the ground by the weight of my fears.

Leave it to a warm summer evening to feed my soul this:  The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalms 37:23-24

The memories of walking hand in hand with my little one rush back to me.  How many times had I caught her as she stumbled, and pulled her back to her feet?  All because she chose not to carelessly run ahead or stand scared in her tracks.  She chose to remain at my side and content to walk my pace, trusting that I knew the way.

This summer I am finding myself challenged to follow her example.  What would it take for me to journey boldly in this life, confident in the Hand to which I hold?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, today I choose to grab tight to your hand, not because you demand it of me, but because you simply offer it open and available.  May I let go of these fears that plague my thoughts and release them, finding confidence in knowing that no step I lake can be the wrong step so long as I remain at Your side.  Lord, lead me as I step forward with You.  Amen.

Listen and be reminded through the song Already There that we can always trust our loving God.

Contributed by Julie Lee