• Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC

Who's Holding Up Your Hands?


“When Moses became too tired to hold his hands up any longer, Aaron and Hur took a stone and sat him down on it. Then both men stood beside Moses, one on each side, holding his hands up and keeping them steady until sunset.”


Exodus 17:12 (The Voice)

The rogue waves of emotion that flood over me lately are fierce and seem to come out of nowhere. COVID-19 has and is taking so much away from my life and yet, this time is also giving and feeding my soul in new and unexpected ways. Sunday, a simple Facebook post by my daughter had me in tears before I even finished reading the short two sentences that read:

Bach party was originally scheduled for this weekend in CO but plans changed due to COVID… so these girls (Zoom photo of 6 friends) surprised  me with a virtual bachelorette brunch! My heart is full (and so is my belly). #bestbridetribe

Even now I feel my chest tighten and tears begin to fill my eyes as I once again read these words. At first, it’s hard to pinpoint the emotion. Is it anger, joy, sadness, frustration, gratitude, or disappointment? Yes, to all of the above. I am learning, in these strange new times, to live in the tension that lies between the contradictory emotions I feel almost daily. When I initially read my daughter’s post, the first emotion I felt was sadness. As I read the post to my husband, I said through a clenched throat, “This makes my heart sad because this was not the way this is supposed to be.” As a mom, I’ve dreamt for years about what these months would be like leading up to my daughter’s wedding. There were supposed to be parties, planning, shopping, and surprises. What I’m currently experiencing is nothing like the dream. So yes, there is sadness. Despite this, immediately following the wave of sadness came a wave of gratitude. How fantastic are these girls who love my daughter so well? Who, amid their stressors, took the time to acknowledge this loss of tradition and made a way to love her through it. This morning, reflecting on the kind of love and friendship these girls displayed, I was reminded of Moses. In Exodus 17, the Israelites are in a battle against the Amalekites. They are led into battle by Joshua, but high up on the top of a hill, Moses stood with his hands raised to the heavens. As long as his hands were raised the Israelites were winning the battle, but whenever he would lower them the enemy would begin to win. Noticing this, in Exodus 17:12 (The Voice) Moses’ friends step in:


“When Moses became too tired to hold his hands up any longer, Aaron and Hur took a stone and sat him down on it. Then both men stood beside Moses, one on each side, holding his hands up and keeping them steady until sunset.”

What faithful friends were Aaron and Hur to hold up their friend’s hands when he was tired! Let’s be honest, this season of COVID-19 is wearing us all out and there are days when it’s tough to lift our hands in praise to God or even utter a prayer. It doesn’t mean we are weak. It simply means we are human and these are tiring days. So what are we to do? How about sharing your heart and your struggles with those around you? Sometimes others don’t see how tired we truly are. And sometimes, unintentionally, those of us who follow Jesus have a way of making others assume we are ok when we’re not. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s the biggest display of strength anyone can muster and I believe Jesus is pleased when we ask others for help. This is what I see my beautiful girl doing these days. Most days she is positive and hopeful about the way the wedding plans are coming along. On the days she is struggling and tired, she reaches out to me and her friends to hold up her hands. She is living well in the tension, which is what I believe prompted her friends to provide such love this past week without her asking for it. They were paying attention and new this disappointment of canceling the bachelorette party would leave their friend a bit weary. So, they swooped in and held up her hands. Such love! May the God of all comfort provide such loving friends to each one of us to hold up our hands when we are tired.

For Your Reflection… How are you doing with living in the tension of our current world events? Who’s holding up your hands these days?  If you need someone, talk to God about it. He sees you and he’s listening. If you have someone, be sure to say a prayer of thanksgiving for those fellow travelers God has placed in your life.

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