Palms, Postures, and Parting Ways

I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. – Martin Luther

A couple of years ago at an If:Local at our then-new church, Shelley Giglio taught me something new via livestream: open your hands during prayer. Palms up. Be expectant in your time with God; be receptive. Believe the promises.

It felt unnatural at first; childlike and vulnerable. But then I saw how a posture could change the way I entered that time, and it became part of me.

I don’t pray open-palmed all the time, but I do when I feel like I truly need it- that physical reminder, the questions I hold up to the light, the trust that I never walk away empty. Open; receptive; expectant.

We attended no service today, but my palms have been up. Our family, as seems to be our theme, or perhaps everyone’s, has entered into yet another unexpected season. We find ourselves leaving a place that has felt like home for two years. It’s complicated in a way I didn’t foresee, it’s sad in a way that is inevitable. We’ve been loved on so hard, we’ve been fought for with fierceness that bring tears to my eyes and has imprinted an almost unbearable humility on my heart. We’ve also been bruised a bit. I’ve had to come to terms with something that used to be one of my greatest fears: to be wholly misunderstood. I’ve had to look my own privilege right in the face, resolving not to turn away from my own shortcomings any longer. We are navigating the fallout and hurt feelings that come from relationships that won’t go away, but will have to shift.

So many things I could never have imagined when I entered that building where I learned to put my palms up.

I was recently admonished encouraged in light of this situation to have more faith; to have hope. Although I was too tearful to articulate it in that moment, the problem was, and the tension is, that I do. I have faith. I believe in where God is taking us right now, and just as certainly as I ever have, maybe more so, I know he is right here with us. I trust whatever path we are led down is for our good and for his glory. It’s not him or his plan or his word that I’ve ever worried over. He has us in his palm, like I ask for him in mine. His hands are steadier, his ways are higher. He is good as ever. He is wild about me. And you. He is wild about the ones who are misunderstood, and the ones who misunderstand. He is wild about the ones clasping for dear life, ten white knuckles entwined; he is wild about the ones with their hands to the ceiling, freed from their chains. He is wild about the ones whose hands are open, waiting on him, and the ones whose palms are open because they are tender from being burnt.

There is room for every position. He is enough for every posture. Every silhouette against the lighting or the candle or the sunrise is welcome, and of course, because that’s what the light of the world was made for all along.

I’ll never be anything but truly thankful for the lessons learned in that house, even the hard ones. We’ve built lifelong friendships; we have seen Jesus in the hands and faces and actions of truly incredible people. We’ve grown as a family and as individuals; we were strengthened and given space to listen for what God may have for us next.

I’m thankful for the full circle; that my time will end where it pretty much began, in a space made full by beautiful women who want to see Jesus move in their lives. In a dimly lit room full of big hearts and closed eyes.

And open hands.

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