JULY 2023

What's In Your Hand?

By Stacee Helton

July 25, 2023

This morning, we left town early, heading to church camp with eight tired high-school students. Currently, some are asleep, a few are listening to music or a podcast through their earbuds, one is reading a book, and others are scrolling through their social media accounts. Aside from the sound of the wind outside, this church bus is quiet. I decided that this was a good time to jot down a few of my thoughts to share with you. 

I was looking through some of my Facebook memories last week, when I came across a post I had written 2 years ago. A picture of someone holding a rock accompanied my post and painted on the rock were the words “Yesterday is heavy. Put it down”. That picture still hits me hard at times because I, like so many of you, tend to carry my burdens around with me until I’m exhausted from them. And since I’m a momma and a wife (and a pastor’s wife, at that), I carry a lot more around than just my own. My poor jaws stay clinched at night while I sleep, and I’m often all up in knots in the daytime, too. Not because I want to be… I’m just wired that way. I don’t offer any apologies for it, but I do wish that I could “put down” those heavy rocks more often than I do. 

That Facebook post in my Memories section mentioned that I had allowed some uncertainty at work to keep me tense and even short-tempered with my family that week, and my son (17 years old at the time) decided to try and cheer me up with my favorite treat. It was incredibly kind, and caused me to pause, sit, and have a talk with him over a cup of chocolate milk and ultimately, to encourage him to not allow stressful times to keep him in knots the way I have a tendency to do. (Yes… I often remind myself while encouraging others: Do as I say, not as I do). 

I was taken aback, while reading that post from 2 years ago. Nothing has changed with that stressful issue at work. It has remained exactly as it was. What has changed, however, is my attitude towards it. And that only happened because God answers prayers as He sees fit and in the way that is best for us. He sees the big picture while we live in a tiny snippet of it. Our situations and circumstances may not change when we want them to, but the strength to endure them is a gift from God that simply cannot be overlooked.

I can still begin to throw myself a little pity party at times, because my work dynamic is different these days and will never be the way it was before. It’s sad, and change is hard sometimes. But God! He might prompt someone to send a funny text at just the right time. Or maybe He brings about a quiet and sweet conversation with my husband or kids, that allows me time to think about, and talk about, things that are important to me. And then He offers an opportunity to shift my focus to others and their circumstances. Praying for them always helps me to end the “pity party of 1” and fight for my friends and loved ones, the best way I know how: by inviting God to take control. 

Today, I want to encourage you to do the same. Our hard times won’t always go away in the manner we wish. But trusting God with them will give us the strength and peace to get through them, and will often teach us some things along the way. Yesterday is heavy… put it down. Have faith that tomorrow will be better than today, and rest assured that what He holds in the palm of HIS hand is you!