To Have and to Hold


“There are stories hidden in these hands, too many to number, and I am lost in the mystery of it all.”

I look at my hands and I know the truth.

These hands were formed perfectly in the dark waters, their very prints etched by the mysterious swirling and the imagination of a Creator God at work. From the beginning, purpose was pressed into their pattern. Even before one grain of time’s sands slipped through the glass, their shape and form and capacity were determined.

I know this. I do.

And yet I still catch myself wringing those very same hands, the ones that were shaped just for me.

Do I somehow believe that, in the wrenching, all the worry will fall away, like old brittle snakeskin, shed to make room for new? Or is the action more akin to a kneading, an attempt to make one thing into another? What is my intention when I take the very handiwork of God and close it in upon itself, over and over and over?

I look back at my hands and I remember:

sandcastles built at the ocean’s edge and tiny seeds planted in dark earth;

the brush of fingers across a lover’s cheek and the catching of life, fresh from heaven;

the callouses borne from work hard and long and nails caught quick upon life’s harsh edges;

the clasping of cheeks, chubby with milk and dew drops of love and the wiping of a forehead wrinkled with illness and age.

The whole of this–my very life–all of it, touched by these very hands.

I turn my palms up and trace all of the lines, the ones that some believe foretell the future. The creases are knitted in and around each other, made deeper and more profound by all the times my hands have opened and closed, received and rejected, embraced and let go. There are stories hidden in these hands, too many to number, and I am lost in the mystery of it all.

And then, in a twinkling, it all becomes clear.  The story of the Israelites in the wilderness and their bending low to brush hands over the white hoarfrost from heaven, gathering all that they needed, all that they could hold—it is the same for me. These hands, and what they hold, are always–have always been–enough. Everything that has ever been placed within their grasp has been only what I could bear.

My hands were created to hold what is enough for this day and isn’t that all we have anyway?

Yes. My hands. Enough.


Photo credit: Hand in Hand by fabrisalvetti on flickr

Holly Grantham
Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace. After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends that she lives in the country.
Holly Grantham

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  1. Hi Holly,
    Beautiful words. He gives us not more, not less, but just enough for today. I love love your picture, powerful. It’s nice meeting you. Thanks for stopping by Home Educator Mom.

  2. Absolutely loved this, Holly. Your encouragement sister, that my hands are enough, that I touch what I’m meant to touch, it’s embracing me now in the midst of all the “You’re not enough”s I hear from whomever, mostly from me. Thank you for this. I love your writing–you make me see. Love you, friend.

  3. pastordt says:

    Lovely, Holly. And so welcome. Thank you.

  4. Emily Wierenga says:

    sandcastles built at the ocean’s edge and tiny seeds planted in dark earth… oh holly. i’ll never look at my hands the same. thank you for this.

  5. There’s so much here, Holly. Your poet/prophet heart shared for us … Thank you.

    This concept of only receiving as much as we can handle–whew. I’m feeling very challenged.

    • Consider yourself in good company, my friend. Writing this piece challenged me deeply. It was as if I had to write it to believe it myself.

  6. Claire De Boer cjdeboer says:

    Beautiful, Holly 🙂 I love this line – “Everything that has ever been placed within their grasp has been only what I could bear.” It’s so easy to forget this.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Holly, it seems that in the spinning ,whirring and whirling places we cannot and simply do not see the what is set before our very eyes. These hands, these tools of wonder. But you frame the important and cause us to stare long into it, resetting reclaiming the basic truths. You call us to embrace manna, the what is it in our days. Because every day and every moment He provides beautiful sufficiency. Thank you for wooing us into the still so we can see, along with you, the ” more than enough”,

    • That idea of manna….it is so simple yet so very profound. Thankful that we serve a God who is patient with us, who loves us deeply, and who is always giving.

  8. Holly, these words still me. Bring me to wonder. Turn me to the rocks at my feet and listen hard for them to cry out, for you make even the mundane into glory, friend. Every.time.

    • Thank you, friend. But really, we are all doing that for each other, every time we call out the simple beauty that is always there. Thank you for the ways in which you do that, too.

  9. Looking at my own hands, I can’t help but be encouraged to remember (especially as I’m wringing them!) how they were formed to hold only what I can handle. These words were beautiful to read and provide much food for thought.

    • Thankful that I am not the only one who wrings their hands! Grateful for your voice here and the encouragement that it holds.

  10. And when I feel overwhelmed by all that calls my name, I will think of this and the Israelites and remember He gives us enough for today. Lovely Holly, as always, your words sing.

    • Such a simple truth but often hard to embrace, this idea of enough….
      it is my prayer, too, always.

  11. Settle Monroe Settle Monroe says:

    Thank you for this Holly. Beautiful.

  12. Absolutely beautiful Holly.
    Hold enough for today, this is my prayer.


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