Hold You?

Human touch comforts the brokenhearted, electrifies lovers, encourages the defeated, soothes the restless, and cements the bonds of friendship. Touch is vital in the continuing development of a newborn. In all of us, it reduces stress, boosts the immune system, and lowers blood pressure. Both doctors and teachers know the comfort and power of a pat on the back or a hand on the shoulder. Simply put, touch brings healing and peace.

It’s not hard to imagine Satan prowling around the world right now with a Grinch-like smirk as he watches something so pure and simple become so twisted. Sexual harassment in the workplace places employees on constant guard. Covid separated us further than arm’s length. Even in the church, background checks, policy reminders, and safeguards have become standard procedure for those working with children. Many of these precautions have been a long time coming and no doubt prevented many sad scenarios. Yet, I wonder if there is a carryover effect in our personal relationships. Have we become so accustomed to a touchless society that we fail to reach out even to those we love most? 

All of the children in my life teach me so much. They constantly remind me that simple things mean the most. My two-year-old granddaughter instinctively knows the two simple words that have always and will continue to stop me in my tracks. When she’s tired or hurt, sad or afraid, or even after she’s done something wrong, her sweet little face looks up looks up at me as she leans in, and she says the words I long to hear, “Hold you?” Just a few seconds of being held makes it all better.

Jesus modeled the importance of paying attention and taking time out to actually see and touch those in our circle of influence. “One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’ And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.” (Matthew 19:13-15, NLT) 

Helping family and friends shift from a season of chaos to one of peace begins by paying attention long enough to offer a simple touch. After all, as the poet Keats wrote, “touch has a memory.” Words of encouragement are best remembered when spoken with a hand on the shoulder, a pat on the hand, or a gentle squeeze of the arm. It’s as if the words of comfort meant for the ears are rerouted by the hand and sent straight to the heart.

All around our world, gentle hands of peace and healing have distorted into angry fists. Warm embraces meant for unity have turned into shoving matches. Good-natured pats on the back have become ill-tempered slaps across the face. As individual Christians, we can’t swallow the whole world’s camel of discord, but together, we have the power to change the world if we break our response into bite-sized pieces. 

We can extend the same gentleness and peace Jesus offered the little children to those around us. Take a good look at your spouse. Could he/she use some gentle affection? Are the children in your world in need of some reassurance? What about your dearest friends? Do they need some of your time and attention? I ask these questions of myself for I am the guiltiest of all for not paying attention to the needs of others.

Many of those closest to you and me are either tired or hurt, sad or afraid, or have done something wrong. They are looking to see if anyone will take the time to notice. They are leaning in and looking up. Maybe we should ask them one simple, childlike question – “Hold you?”

As we begin focusing our attention on those closest to us, everyone involved gains the skills needed to begin focusing on those outside our circles. This is exactly how Jesus did it! He first focused on His small group of disciples. Then He developed an inner circle of friendship with Peter, James, and John. Finally, by encouraging, teaching, and modeling gentleness, love, and peace He used this small tribe to change the world – one bite at a time. 

We have the same Master Teacher who willingly holds us in the palm of His hand. He wants YOU in His inner circle of friendship because He knows the power of your influence. You don’t have to change the whole world, but you can change yours with one touch at a time. 

So, this week, look up to your Father and lean in closer. Whisper the words He longs to hear from you, “Hold you?”

“I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, 
who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.” 

(Isaiah 41:13, CSB)

Posted in
a photo of a lady kissing a baby

Donna Jackson

My God Story – Ella Van Deusen

By Donna Jackson | June 21, 2022 |

I’ve waited weeks now to introduce you to my sweet friend Ella Van Deusen! We first met when I began to serve the elementary aged children in our church. At the age of ten, Ella’s understanding of God and His Word made leading her small group a huge blessing. I’ve watched her grow into an…

One of the Good Ones

By Donna Jackson | June 14, 2022 |

You may call me shameless, and that’s okay.  However, I have someone who deserves a pat on the back. Some royal treatment. A great big “attaboy”. I’m sure you have a “someone” in your life who deserves the same. Even the apostle Paul told the Romans they should give honor to those to whom it is…

Weary and Discouraged

By Donna Jackson | June 7, 2022

As the iconic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” opens, we meet George Bailey, a banker who soon finds himself trapped under a boulder of challenging circumstances. Even though he has a wife, children, extended family, and friends who love him and would gladly help, he still feels trapped. At his lowest point, he feels like…

Your Story

By Donna Jackson | May 17, 2022

Have you ever wondered how your life’s story would read if it were part of the Bible? Would it be complicated or comical? Melodramatic or monotonous? Apathetic or adventurous? Heartbreaking or heroic? I wonder what Moses thought of the whole Exodus story. His exploits were definitely legendary – the stuff blockbusters are made of –…

I Don’t Want To

By Donna Jackson | May 10, 2022

For several years, our small tribe of women met for Bible study with female inmates in our local jail. They shared their stories of abuse, drugs, tragedy, and great sorrow. We did our best to point them to Jesus, the only One who could heal their hurt and help them find lasting peace. Since we…

No Time to Play Games

By Donna Jackson | May 3, 2022

Last Monday rubbed my patience about as raw as sushi. And I hate sushi. Everything I tried to do went sideways. In my mind, I imagined flinging my computer across the room so it would feel the same amount of grief it had caused me. Every click of the cursor apparently filled the hard drive…

A Life That Matters

By Donna Jackson | April 19, 2022

The motley tribe of seven disciples sat quietly beside the sea trying to understand the most recent swirl of events. Their time spent as Jesus’ close companions had given them direction and a purpose. But now, everything was changing so quickly. Their teacher, friend, and Messiah had been tortured, humiliated, and killed by Roman soldiers.…

You May Argue, But …

By Donna Jackson | April 12, 2022

Whenever my brain waves begin to lay flat and my mind becomes exhausted from a day of writing, I grab a glass of tea and the TV remote. I depend on Joanna Gaines and Giada DeLaurnetiis to give my mind a break. They offer the inspiration I need to fill a skillet or two for…

What Do You Want for the Children in Your Life?

By Donna Jackson | April 10, 2022

What do you want for the children in your life? That was the question I posed this week to a room full of courageous ladies in drug rehab. Answers flew back: “Happiness”, “Peace”, “Strength”, “A relationship with God”. In a previous Bible study, they had asked for a message on parenting. My wheels immediately began…

Why Travel Perfection Road?

By Donna Jackson | April 5, 2022

On the outside my grandmother Josephine looked like any other grandmother. She wore glasses, gray hair, and her share of wrinkles and spots. But on the inside pumped the heart of a playful little girl. We cut paper dolls out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog, sang at her piano, and turned brand-new pointed Crayola…