A year ago, I received a call that no mother ever wants to take. My husband, John, and two older sons, Josiah and Tyler, had gone hiking for the weekend in Colorado. When John called sobbing in the middle of the day, I knew something must have gone horribly wrong.

The story slowly unfolded. They had just come down off a particularly steep area, when twelve year old Tyler lost his footing. Stumbling, he jumped into some snow to try to regain his footing, but that snow ended up being ice. After sliding 50 feet down the icy slope, he hit a field of rocks and went down another 50 feet in a rockslide. Partially covered in rocks, he couldn’t move. It took John 15 agonizing minutes to get to him. Because they couldn’t get back to the original trail and the cell phones had no coverage, they had to walk 2 ½ hours down the rocky slope with Tyler’s arm broken and leg gashed. Josiah had to go ahead and find safe footings while John held onto Tyler’s good arm to keep him from falling.

Tyler was bruised up, but the only bruise on his head was from where his bleeding hand had miraculously shielded his head from a large rock when he landed. It was nothing short of a miracle. John said as he watched Tyler fall, he really didn’t think that he would survive.

For me, that night was filled with nightmares of what should have and could have been. I would be at his funeral, or he would be calling me and I couldn’t get to him. Slipping into my prayer chair was easy in the middle of that night. It felt like the only safe place. I curled up with my Bible, my tears and my fear. I could not stop the image of him falling from replaying in my mind over and over again. When disaster comes too near, all of a sudden you realize that it could happen to you. A bad diagnosis, accidents and other devastating things have a way of stripping us of our false feelings of being invincible.

As I sat in my chair using my blanket as a shield, God spoke to my heart. “Do not imagine him falling without him being held. He was held by me.” For me, that changed everything.

And so it is with you, me, your children, my children, your family and mine. We are held.

Sometimes the story doesn’t come out pristine and amazing like Tyler’s did. We’ve had those kinds of stories too. In fact, just two short weeks after Tyler’s fall, my much loved childhood youth pastor and his wife were killed in a head on collision. (You can read about that here) Their four children as well as the community have been held. Hurting? Immensely. Held? Without a doubt. The grief process is far from over for many – especially their four children.  I have seen beauty emerging from them that could only come from the kind of suffering they have endured. Their children’s lives honor theirs in the most beautiful way.

We are held. We are held if our marriage is floundering. We are held if our children are wayward. We are held if our money is tight. We are held if we are losing one we love. We are held if we are struggling emotionally. We are held when we are betrayed. We are held when the unexpected devastation happens. This One we are held by is strong enough, wise enough and loving enough to know what to do. We may not know what tomorrow brings, but He does. We may not know what to do with the pain, but He does. We may not know the next step, but He does – always.

His heart is always towards us and for us, inviting us to come near.  No matter what your situation is, you can trust Him with it. You are not alone. You are held.

Word of the Day: Psalm 73:23-26 Yet I still belong to you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Father, Thank You that I am never alone. Even though I may not always be able to see that You are there, help me to see that you have never left my side. I give my situation to You. Help me to learn things about You and Your heart towards me in this situation that I could not have seen in any other way. Thank You that You love me unconditionally and help me to trust You. I give my situation to You and the need to control it. Instead, I chose to trust You and Your heart towards me. Help me to see You as You truly are. Thank you that You hold my life in Your hands.

14 thoughts on “Held

  1. Joani Eledge says:

    Wendy!!! I knew nothing of this – what a nightmare, indeed! And, what a beautiful Glory Story full of encouragement! Thank you! ❤️ Joani Eledge


    1. wgerdes says:

      Joani, it was a nightmare, but is such a testimony of His goodness! Tyler points to it as a very pivotal moment in his relationship with God. I am so thankful 🙂


  2. sonworshiper says:

    Wow, what a moving story. I look at my kids and the crazy stuff they sometimes do, and occasionally struggle with the same fears. But more importantly, like you said, the story doesn’t always end well. And yet in the midst of it, we find ourselves held in love, yet dealing with the crippling reality that the mighty hand which holds us could have stopped the tragedy but didn’t.
    That’s real. That’s faith lived out, and sometimes it feels out of place in the “I’m blessed and highly favored” church mentality that wants us each smiling and showing how wonderful God is. “God works all things together for good” sometimes gets said so much, maybe people forget that some of those things really suck when they show up in our lives.
    Naturally your title and message reminded me of Natalie Grant’s powerful song, “Held.” I remember hearing it on Christian radio and thinking, “What was that?!” A song about losing an infant, about tasting bitterness and suffering, but seeing it turn to beauty, about how the promise isn’t that all will always be well, but that “when everything fell, we’d be held.”
    Here’s the link to the video, for those who may not have heard it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkg4IH1Zp64


    1. wgerdes says:

      Yes! I remember when that song came out. It actually came out at around the same time that we had our stillborn daughter and helped me a lot. Thank you for the link. People are enjoying it 🙂


  3. Connie says:

    What a beautiful thought — being held as life gets rocky! When people I know are going through the rocky stuff of life, especially the loss of a loved one, my prayer is always the God will wrap them in His loving arms and that they would send His peace, comfort, and strength.


  4. Connie Wine says:

    I had no idea this happened! What a beautiful expression of God’s hope, help and grace! Thank you for sharing so beautifully!!!


    1. wgerdes says:

      Yes, God did so much through that whole ordeal. Not only did He physically protect Tyler, but taught us all so much about Himself. It was particularly lifechanging for Tyler. They just got back a couple of weeks ago from hiking the same mountain, but this time they did a different trail and with friends. It was so good for them to go back and have a better experience this time.


  5. Jeri Entrekin says:

    Thanks for sharing. I lost my dad a week ago to cancer and I’m so thankful to be held firmly in His grip during this time. So grateful that He held my dad throughout his battle with cancer and thankful that He’ll be holding my mom through her lonely moments as a widow. Held securely in His grip – always.


    1. wgerdes says:

      I am so sorry about your dad. It is so difficult to lose people so important to us. Praying that You will see His heart for you and toward you today, that He will comfort you in ways that only He can and that He will give you the strength and everything you need to walk through this difficult time. Psalm 94:1 NLT He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.


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