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Hand in Hand

Well after months and months of not writing here I find myself once again, per the usual “it’s about time!” I am so thankful for the sweet convictions that came my way this past week from friends encouraging me to get back to writing.

To be honest it’s amazing how lazy we are as people and what we choose to prioritize. I personally don’t like to write and think I’ll write when I am in the mood. Well the last mood for blog writing was January 30th haha. My point is there are many things in life that are hard, not enjoyable, or not particularly one’s cup of tea but don’t wait to be in the mood to do those things. You never will! You must learn to prioritize what is important and discipline yourself to do it! I am clearly still in training.

Now, I have thought about writing. In fact I have 34 saved notes of topics to write about. Things I found insightful over the last nine months and had planned to write about, but just never did. I know you all can relate. May this be an encouragement to stop thinking about that which you have planned and go out and actually make those plans come to life. Trust me, you won’t be in the mood, but it’s highly likely those plans need to be done.

Ok so what does all of the above have to do with my title “Hand in Hand”? Nothing, it was just a tangent. Ok, here we go. That phrase and the depth of its meaning is one of my greatest take aways this year so far. The thought first came into my perspective after I had returned from Ukraine in June and was back at work, the last place I wanted to be. A dear God fearing elderly couple had moved into the facility I work at and after a month or so they both ended up on my PT caseload. My first encounter with them was one not to be forgotten. Why? Because they radiated Christ. This is a rarity in my profession. Rarely do I encounter other believers and oh what an impression they have made on me.

I was familiar with their faces as regularly I would pass them in the hallways and always see them walking together holding hands. This would always catch my eye as first off who doesn’t love an old couple holding hands and second this just doesn’t happen at my building. Usually people are by themselves as their loved ones have already passed or one is walking in front or near the other due to varying speeds or need for a walker. But not these two. During my first session with the wife as we exited her apartment she grabbed my hand and we walked down the hall. As we walked, we talked. I said “You know, whenever I see you and your husband your always holding hands.” She laughed and said “well, of course! We always go ‘hand in hand’ wherever we go. In fact people have come to know us by this and that’s just what we’ve always done and always will do. We go together.” And there you have it, that’s how the phrase hand in hand began to ruminate in my mind.

Hand in hand, together, side by side - there’s something so comforting about these phrases. I don’t need to explain why, we all know why. I have written before that aging is hard, but to age with the right perspective, this is the game changer. And I’m not just talking old aging. Whether you’re young, middle aged, old, or really old were all aging and need the right perspective to face each day. So what is that perspective? It is a God perspective, let me explain.

The last four months have been especially challenging for me from difficult work, family, and personal sorrows, but God. I have come to a greater understanding of what it means to go through life hand in hand with Him. As a believer in Christ, I am never alone. I have my family, my friends, the Body of Christ, but even greater I have my Lord. He not only faithfully walks with me every step of the way, but He Leadeth me! Do you realize the perspective shift this brings?

You see, how you view life impacts how you deal with and respond to things that happen in your life. For example, I read this morning the following: “When we think about a coming event, we have a whole set of associations that help us envision what that will be like. Take, for example, when snow is predicted. Depending on your point of view, how you envision that event will vary. Some people envision a problem, a hassle - a struggle to shovel, to get the car out, to get to work. Children usually envision a snow storm quite differently. They are excited and happy - no school, sleeping in, sledding. I grew up in Hawaii and so I envision a snowstorm as a special treat - one of life’s great joys” (Safe & Sound by David Powlison, pg 18). Here you have one event with the same outcome to all but different attitudes towards the situation pending one’s perspective. Your perspective of your circumstance shows what you believe, where your faith lies, how you perceive life due to the attitudes and actions that follow. How do you respond to unwanted circumstances, trials, difficulties, etc?

When I view my life in light of God instead of my own understanding my perspective shifts and it’s only ever for the better. More hopeful, more joyful, more peaceful, more thankful, more love no matter the situation. Why? Because I know my identity in Christ and who my God is. I know who has my hand at all times and is leading me every step of the way. With a God perspective life is meaningful and not meaningless. There is purpose in everything and I know my God is working all things out for good even when I don’t see or feel it (Rom. 8:28-29). I trust the hand that guides me just like my patient trusts her husband. She wouldn’t think of walking any other way but hand in hand because she knows her husband and the depth of love he has for her.

So, with whom do you walk hand in hand? How well do you know the one who holds your hand? How do you cultivate that relationship? How do you spend your time? Jonny Ardavanis said “Constant business is a spiritual cancer that sucks away at the health of our soul…Rest is necessary to foster actual communion and intimacy with our Heavenly Father…No relationship thrives off of 15min in the morning, why would that be the case with your Heavenly Father?… God’s will does not need to be found but obeyed (1 Thess. 5:16-18).” If your relationship with God, your spouse, children, and friends seem to be suffering then consider the time you spend hand in hand with those individuals. What inanimate objects hold your hand, your time? Work, sports, television, video games, working out, etc.?

May you consider this day the hands that you hold. Remember, no relationship thrives off of 15min a day. I trust my Lord’s hand because I know my Lord and He knows me. Do you know Him? Aim to prioritize time with God as He has the only hand that will sustain you day in and day out. Don’t wait until your in the mood. Start now and see your perspective transform as you begin to live a life hand in hand with God.

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!

O words with heav'nly comfort fraught!

Whate'er I do, where'er I be

Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,

By His own hand He leadeth me;

His faithful foll'wer I would be,

For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes 'mid scenes of deepest gloom,

Sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,

By waters still, o'er troubled sea,

Still 'tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,

Nor ever murmur nor repine;

Content, whatever lot I see,

Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,

When by Thy grace the vict'ry's won,

E'en death's cold wave I will not flee,

Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

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