Holding Hands with Jesus

19 Jun

When I was a little girl, I had an imagination that was out of this world.  It mostly just made me a strange little child who told stories about the characters in the clouds or swimming in a sea of chocolate, but sometimes my imagination would betray me and cause me to be scared and have horrible nightmares.  In my childhood room, there was a window that had a pretty big tree just outside it.  The branches used to scrape the glass like fingernails on a chalkboard.  More than once, I jumped out of my bed and ran into my parents’ room saying there was a man staring at me outside my window.  How horrible for them?!  Then, sometimes, I would be so scared and my heart would beat so fast that I would be frozen in bed.  I knew that even the smallest twitch would cause the witch that lived under my bed (and plucked the mattress fibers one by one to reach me) would grab my leg.  Goodness…it even raises my blood pressure now.  My parents finally had enough, and to combat my fears (and decrease the number of times I ran into their bedroom), they told me Jesus was ALWAYS with me.  I knew about God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but as a child, Jesus seemed the most tangible of them all.  He had walked on earth, I had heard about the miracles he had performed, and I could use my vivid imagination to picture his face.  So, I learned that when I got scared, I heard things/felt things/imagined things that could hurt me, I would stick my hand out from my bed and reach for Jesus’ hand.  I felt his grasp.  It wasn’t a symbolic gesture, it was real, tangible.  As I got older, I began to be able to control my fears.  I no longer “needed” this physical gesture with Jesus.  A quick prayer before bed became my routine.

I hadn’t thought about the holding hands with Jesus business for quite some time.  My spiritual walk became routine.  I still believed and prayed to God, but He had become somewhat distant to me.  He was the Almighty being, one to whom I would pray, but I felt as though our communication was a one-way street.  I could only half-heartedly ask Him for my heart’s desires.  I had lost the comfort of being able to hold His hand; the peace of knowing his heart was with me just as my heart was with him.  And I had forgotten that He wanted to be as real to me as much as I needed to hold His hand.

Life started to be a struggle.  My well thought out plans weren’t coming together.  It wasn’t until Bo and I started our adoption process that I began to notice that missing piece of my faith.  Adoption is SO hard.  I tried to handle the stress and challenges and planning all on my own…and just put a smile on and not complain.  But my best friends saw my struggles.  My faith was tested to the CORE.  I was in the darkest moments of my life, trying so hard to make those “nightmares” and challenges go away by my own power and planning, thinking of every possibility and how to handle it (on my own.)  As my heart was becoming so angry and turning to stone, by His grace (and my wonderful friends’ prayers and love), I stumbled upon a passage in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

“Rest in Me, My child.  Give your mind a break from planning and trying to anticipate what will happen.  Pray continually, asking My Spirit to take charge of the details of this day.  Remember that you are on a journey with Me.  When you try to peer into the future and plan for every possibility, you ignore your constant Companion who sustains you moment by moment.  As you gaze anxiously into the distance, you don’t even feel the strong grip of My hand holding yours.  How foolish you are, My child!

Remembrance of Me is a daily discipline.  Never lose sight of My Presence with you.  This will keep you resting in Me all day, every day.”

I physically needed Him.  I needed to seek His presence and feel His touch.  I needed my Jesus back, my constant companion that would hold my hand and lead me through His divine plan.

So today, half way around the world in Ethiopia, I took my Jesus’ hand as He lead me past all my fears, worries and doubts and into a tiny, green room.  He stood there with me, knowing I needed his constant presence.  As the rain began to pour outside, He revealed His beautiful, perfect, flawless plan, and my precious baby was placed into my arms.  I no longer knew the distant God that I became satisfied with.  I stood cradling our beautiful daughter, with my husband holding me, and my Jesus’ arms around us all.  Forever changed.

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20 Responses to “Holding Hands with Jesus”

  1. Karen June 19, 2013 at 4:59 am #

    Love that passage!! 1Thess 5:16-18!! Y’all look amazing…thanks for sharing your beautiful daughter with us. Can’t wait to hear her name!!:) Sending love and hugs from your Shands family.

    • shelbyneichoy June 19, 2013 at 5:12 am #

      Thanks Karen! Tell everyone I said hi and I miss them!

  2. jennygutwein June 19, 2013 at 7:11 am #

    Laying beside Prim in bed with tears for you guys! I am thanking God that I may have a special friend to travel with to Ethiopia in the future ;).. Love her!!

  3. Laura Robinson June 19, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Shelby, what an incredible day and message. I am ecstatic for you and that is one blessed little girl. Thank you for sharing this!

  4. Sandy June 19, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    :Your beautiful story and daughter bring back so many memories of our struggle with Juliana’s adoption and the elation of finally holding her in my arms. Hugs and prayers to you.

  5. Audra June 19, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Oh Shelby! She is so beautiful. What an amazing picture of your sweet new family. We are so happy for you and Bo. Your words have been such an inspiration…..a great way to start my day (after I dry my eyes so I can actually see to get out of bed).

    ~Audr

  6. Sittigoldston June 19, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    My baby with her baby. You and Bo bless you dad and me beyond anything we could ever imagine. I love you so very much. Can’t wait to see you guys and hold that precious baby.

  7. Amy (Dietz) Wright June 19, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    What emotions adoption brings on. But, oh, how close God is and what a blessing for him to reveal himself to you during that moment. It’s like all of the pain and struggle is washed over and the perfect plan is brought to light. I remember all too well. :)
    You have a gorgeous daughter! She is tiny and perfect. Her cheeks and chin….to cute. Congratulations! Enjoy these moments with her in her birth country. Even if you feel stuck. Ha!

  8. sittigoldston June 19, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Oh, I do remember the “man” at your window. You were so frightened that “it” scared me too. Love you.

  9. kellyschmidt June 19, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Shelby,
    Thank you so much for sharing your sweet story! Our son Aaron has a crazy imagination too and has had some trouble sleeping at night as well. We’ve often thought it might be because he just can’t shut off that active mind of his! So hearing your story was very encouraging!
    I couldn’t stop the tears as I read about your sweet and beautiful baby girl! I am so happy for you and Bo. You are going to be the most amazing Mommy!
    Lots of love to you both!
    :) Kelly

  10. Becky Dietz June 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Oh my gosh, Shelby! Thank you for sharing your heart. I know God is very near to you right now and you’re experiencing His heart in a way few of us get to. YOUR BABY GIRL IS BEAUTIFUL!!!! I can’t wait to see her up-close and personal! Take in every moment because your momma is going to want to hear every single detail when you get home! (I know I did.)

  11. Amy Murad June 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    The light in your eyes and the joy upon your faces is striking and fills me with happiness! Love to you!

  12. susandenise June 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    How beautiful…Callie read your blog and shared with me…she talked about how beautiful you write…how you make the reader feel your words…she was right…God Bless you all…Congratulations to you all!

  13. Kristen Alt June 20, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Oh, Shelby! So thrilled for all of you. It is wonderful when people you know join this journey of adoption and experience the new, and at the same time forever, love you instantly feel. She is an amazingly beautiful little girl!

  14. Shilpa June 21, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Shelby–the joy that is evident by your sweet and thoughtful letter is beyond moving. God has indeed blessed your family and that adorable daughter of yours is going to grow up in the most loving, creative, generous and adoring home. Im so happy for you and bo! Safe travels back home with the little one.xoxo, shilps

  15. Andy Dietz June 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    There is something so special about adoption, especially knowing that we too have been adopted by God. Just think how special you are to God if He would take the time and effort to adopt you! The joy and happiness that you feel for your BEAUTIFUL baby girl right now is just a speck compared to the love God has for us!
    Every time I hold my little adopted Ethiopian granddaughter, Hadassah, I think how fortunate she is to have such a loving family. Your little girl is fortunate as well to be loved by you and Bo, but when Grandpa Hugh gets ahold of her, he will never want to give her back (maybe with a dirty diaper). I am so happy for you guys and the years of joy this special little girl will bring.
    Andy Dietz

  16. Katy June 22, 2013 at 7:26 am #

    I am literally crying my eyes out! What a precious heart you have Shelby! I have always known that. I needed to read that right now with my own personal struggles. There are no words to thank you appropriately for the blessing that gave me. I couldn’t be more overjoyed for you!! What a precious and beautiful gift from God!

  17. Laurin June 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Shelby,
    I have been following along and am just SO excited for you all. She is absolutely perfect and couldn’t be luckier to have you and Bo as parents. It is so encouraging to hear how God has carried you through this and brought you to your daughter. Love you and miss you- keep blogging, I want to hear more!
    Laurin

  18. Katie June 26, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Shelby- she is beautiful and we are so very excited for your family! Thank you for vulnerably sharing our heart-
    Much love, Katie butts

  19. westkaty August 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Reading your blog today made me remember why I loved you so much as one of my students. You were uniquely special then, and I can see that you are still.

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