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Monday, June 28, 2010

Today I've got a devotion running called "The Touch of Your Hand."  Please visit Proverbs 31 to read it.  I tell the story of delivering my second child and wanting to hold a stranger's hand.  In that moment, I was desperate to connect with someone in my pain, and willing to ask a stranger for her hand. 

As a mother of three boys, I've learned a lot about touch.  Early on in parenting, I read how touch is important to children.  Giving my children physical affection was easy when they were young. But as the boys grew, it was more challenging.  That's when I got creative.  With boys, play is important. So, at times, our touch is quite playful.

The most fun my 18-year-old and I have had in the past few weeks is when I jokingly said, "You need a spanking" and tried to playfully swat his behind.  This started a game of tag between the two of us.  We ended up breathless with laughter and hugging.

My second son (16) is a wrestler, and a few times I playfully boasted that I could take him down.  We both know that's not true, but he loved it when I tried.  Or at other times, I allow him to show me a move he's just learned.  The kid is so strong, that I'm always in pain after that.  But he loves to use me for demonstration purposes.

Finally, there's Robbie.  At 15 he still will hold my hand, so long as there are no teenagers within view.  So we have a game where we will hold hands in public, but then drop them and act nonchalant when someone walks by.  He's an affectionate young man, so I don't have to be too creative with him.  It's actually the teenage girls around him I worry about.

Our daughters present more of a challenge.   They were 8 and 10 when God chose to add them into our family through adoption.  They had not known a lot of loving and healthy touch.  So we have navigated those waters slowly through the years.  We have found that gentle strokes on their heads, arms or kisses to their foreheads was a way to work up to full hugs.  They still aren't completely comfortable with physical affection, but we are consistent with offering loving touches throughout the day.   I was rewarded the other day when my youngest daughter, age 13, asked to hold my hand walking out of church.  It was a first in four years.

This need for touch is universal.  Sadly, some people shy away from it due to bad experiences.  But that's when a pat on the back, stroke of the arm, or high five can be a a healthy offering of touch.

What are your experiences with healthy touch?  If you've got a creative way to offer it, please share.

In His Love,



Anonymous said...

Our youngest daughter had back to back surgeries right before her freshman year of college. While in the recovery room after her second surgery, the nurses couldn't control her pain even with the pain meds.Being a nurse myself, I had some lotion in my purse and proceeded to start rubbing her feet. Within minutes she was relaxed and letting the medication do its job.The nurses all wanted to know what kind of lotion that was, but I knew it was the touch!!!Massaging feet is a great relaxer!!

Melissa said...

I have 3 daughters ages 23, 21 and 13 and a 19 year old son. The girls are so much easier to reach out to and hug or snuggle up with. My 19 year old son doesn't want to be hugged or show any affection but, he loves back rubs. It started when he hurt his back two years ago and there isn't a day that goes by now, that he doesn't ask me to give him a back rub. :) Strangly I feel like it has brought us closer together. Thank you Lord for Jacob's injury.

Colleen said...

When someone was sharing with me, recounting a difficult time in his life, and he paused with emotion, I gently placed my hand on his arm, to encourage him to continue and to let him know it was safe. It seemed so natural for me at the time, and I thought nothing of it. Weeks later he told me how that touch connected him to the here and now and pulled him away from the emotions that were in the memory, and how comforting it was to know someone cared. It was such a little thing that meant a whole lot to someone. I'll never forget that.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for today's post at Proverbs 31 Ministries. Just last night I was praying to God asking to hold his hand like a child takes a parents as a parent guides them through a busy area or parking lot. Protecting them, leading them, keeping them close, and guiding their steps. Your post today was an affirmation of that.

barbara said...

I have been a hairdresser for 32 years, and completely understand the power of touch! Hairdressers, estheticians, nail technicians and massage therapists are the only non-medical people licensed to touch someone. A touch from a doctor isn't always pleasant, but getting your hair done, or a facial, or a manicure/pedicure,or a massage can be extremely therapeutic. I try to pray for each and every client that sits in my chair, and ask God to touch their hearts as I touch their hair.

Feenie said...

The first thing that came to my mind when I read your post was my teenagers' "desire" to do what I guess is called the fist bump. I think in the teenage world, it has taken the place of the handshake or the pat on the back. Whatever it is, I was rebuked in my spirit when reading your post for thinking that those fist bumps are "silly." The Lord reminded me that it is just another small way to touch my children and to let them know that even though I am an "old fogey," I desire to love them in a way that they can relate to.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a hairdresser like you! How wonderful for each of your clients. :)

KELLY W said...

I love the power of touch! It can bring wonderful comfort, none like any other! Thank you for the reminder that we need to be the one to offer our hand to one that might be hurting or in need. thank you Glynnis for all you do. You have made a difference in my life!

Deb said...

It's funny, my parents were Italian but not the real demonstrative kind but we always kissed hello and goodbye and good night. I was more affectionate with my son and so was his dad. If you cuddle them young and then do it later whether they like it or not (secretly I think they like it). I miss those days!

Toni said...

Thanks so much for this devotional - it really meant a lot. Growing up, I knew my mother never wanted me to begin with, and I was molested by my stepfther. I felt rejected by every one who should have loved me. But when I accepted Christ, He filled my heart with His love, and He told me to be Hs arms to hug His children. Today, I am married to a pastor and I make sure no one comes into our church without receiving a hug. One lady even wrote a poem about my hugging, called "He Told Me To Give It Away".

GroovyGranny said...

Thank you for the great devotional today. My sisters & I were blessed to have our sweet & precious Mother, who freely hugged us all & always kissed us on the cheek. No matter how old we got, that never changed. Everytime we'd go to see her, you could count on getting loved on. She taught us so much about what it is to be a Christian woman, wife, & mother. She taught us by example. She's been gone 5 years this year, & it doesnt seem like its been that long. Sometimes I catch myself longing for her touch, her smell, & her love. God truly blessed us with her.