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The Touch of a Hand

Today I visited my mom. Before I tell you what I did to her, let me explain her situation. My mom is elderly, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease ten years ago, and recently has declined significantly. Six days ago, she moved into an assisted living facility. While the facility is beautiful and the care is good, it is not home. And she knows it.

She is in a confusing and difficult time of life.

So, when I visited her today, I wanted to connect with her I wanted to communicate my love, empathy, and care. I wanted her to feel God’s blessing and acceptance even while imprisoned in undesirable circumstances.

As I sat with her—mother and daughter side by side--it felt natural and needful to put my hand on her. To connect physically as I sought to connect verbally and emotionally. With my printed hymn lyrics on the table in front of me, I sang a few old hymns she grew up with. She joined in. I continued to gently rub her back and shoulder, at one point praying for her. I could not change her circumstances. But I could connect emotionally despite her declining verbal and comprehension skills.

This evening as I was getting ready for bed, I chose Psalm 139 as my scripture to review. When I got to verse five, “Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.” (KJV), I stopped. That was what I had done for my mom. I placed my hand on her to communicate affirmation, empathy, care, concern, and blessing.

Could that be what God‘s touch longs to communicates to me? For an instant, I froze—in body, mind, and spirit. This insight poured a fresh sense of God’s love into my heart.

When Jesus lived on earth, He touched people. To impart healing, He touched a leper, a blind man, a woman disabled for 18 years, and many sick. He touched children to bless them. His touch conveyed acceptance, love, strength, healing, and encouragement. All the things that I desperately need.

In some way, perhaps my mom sensed encouragement from my touch. And I know I was encouraged. Perhaps the way I felt while trying to connect and care for her is what God wants to communicate with us. And if we touch others in their need and allow them to touch us in our need, perhaps God’s touch will seem more tangible and meaningful.

Enjoy knowing God’s hand is on you to bless, affirm, love, strengthen, and encourage. "You . . . lay your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5 (ESV)


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