Every Christian romance has several firsts: first time the hero and heroine meet, first date, first kiss. But of all the “first” moments, one of my favorites to write is the first time the hero and heroine hold hands.
It’s a seemingly small and simple gesture, but there’s just something about it that makes my stomach swoop every time.
Maybe it’s because I still remember the first time my husband Josh and I held hands.
1998. Josh’s graduation party.
The smell of campfire wafts over the backyard, and though it’s June, a chill hangs in the evening air.
I turn to my friend Becky. “My hands are cold.”
She gives me a pointed look. “That’s what your boyfriend is for.”
I swallow. Josh and I have only been dating a few weeks. What am I supposed to do, just stick my hand in his and expect him to be okay with it?
Mustering my courage (what there is of it), I turn to Josh. “Becky says you’re supposed to hold my hands.” Ugh. What are we, in second grade?
Josh gives me an awkward look. But he takes the hand I hold out and wraps his warm one around it. “Better?”
I nod. It’s not just better. It’s perfect.
Okay, we’re not even going to talk about how cringe-worthy that was. It’s how it really happened, and I wouldn’t change it (though I am thankful that I get to write better first-time handholding stories for my characters). To this day, I still love the connection of holding my husband’s hands (and in case you’re wondering, yes, that is a picture of our hands from our wedding day in the image above).
And I can’t think of holding hands without also thinking of the feeling the first time each of my babies wrapped their tiny little fingers around mine. Or the feel of their sticky toddler hands clutched in mine. Even now, once in a while, my youngest and my oldest (both girls) will still hold my hand (the middle two, who are boys, not so much!).
But there’s one more set of hands that I appreciate even more than my husband’s or my children’s or my characters’: God’s hands. I love how often the Bible tells us that God holds our hands, that he holds us in his hands, that he created us with his hands.
Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. -Psalm 119:73
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. -Isaiah 41:13
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. -John 10:27–28
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. -Psalm 139:9–10
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. -Psalm 73:23–24
And I think my favorite verse that expresses how strongly we are connected to God’s hands:
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. -Isaiah 49:16
What a powerful image! Can you imagine having something engraved on your hand? It’s not coming off of there! And you’re never going to drop it or forget about it or lose it. It’s always right before you. We are always right before God. Right there on the palms of his hands.
Just one more reason to love those handholding scenes.
How about you? How do you feel about hand holding? Do you enjoy seeing characters hold hands for the first time? Do you have a favorite image of God’s hands?