May I Hold Your Emotions?

If you look carefully inside my hands you may see my oldest grandson’s emotions!

I met my daughter Melissa at the mall yesterday during lunch time in order to help her with the kids.  They were scheduled to have their pictures taken.  We played a bit while waiting for their noontime appointment.  We waited and we waited some more.  About 25 minutes later, as Caleb was moving one of the large stools in the waiting area, it slipped and landed on his foot , scraping some skin from his toe.  He fell to the ground sobbing, landing on something gooey in the carpet – which promptly stained his freshly laundered khaki shorts.  Of course, at this very moment they were called to the room for the photo session.

Things sort of melted down at this point.  Caleb was crying and felt his toe was hurting too badly for him to walk.  The situation was looking bleak for getting a picture that would contain any smiles.  Melissa was doing a great job comforting him, as well as reminding him of the chic- fil-a lunch and cupcake dessert promise that lay on the other side of the picture taking.  It seemed all begging was to no avail.

As emotions were flying, I thought of one of my favorite scriptures – 2 Corinthians 10:5.  Certainly now was an opportune time to capture some of these emotions.

    We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

The Spirit was surely at work at this moment.  Remembering the scripture, I cupped my hands and walked over to Caleb.  I told him that I would like to hold something for him while he got his picture taken; his sad emotions and the pain from his foot.  I would hold it carefully, and then when he was done I could give it back to him.  Amazingly, Caleb put his little hand in between my hands as if to place his emotions inside.  Then, an amazing thing happened!  He stepped onto the mat where the girls were already standing, posed for a group picture and gave us all the most beautiful smile imaginable.  He could not have been more cooperative or giving throughout the session.  When it was over I told him how proud I was of him for giving over his emotions and that he could have them back if he wanted.  He didn’t reach for them.

Later, he told his mom how hard it was for him to control his emotions when he got hurt.  He expressed to her that he just couldn’t seem to figure out how to get it back together and was so glad  that Nana was there and offered to hold his emotions in her hands.  And then he proudly told her that after the pictures were over he didn’t even feel the need to take them back anymore!

Melissa and I were sort of amazed that this worked.  However, it’s really not that complicated.   You see, Caleb really believed that I was capable of taking his emotions and reliable enough to keep them for him.  Again, I am learning from children.  If I really believe that God is capable enough and reliable enough to be entrusted with my emotions…I can let go and be at peace!  Thank you for this lesson Caleb.

Philip. 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. [7] And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. [7] Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

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  1. Donna Allen

    Love this and it came from scripture makes it even better. I still work with preschool children almost daily and we have to try this technique. I can imagine it working well. Thanks so much for sharing. Donna Allen

    • jeanieshaw

      Donna. Thanks for replying. That was encouraging. Many great memories of time in WV. Love to all.

  2. Ilona

    Jeanie, that was a remarkable story. It made those Scriptures come alive and relatable again. As I start this school year, I appreciate the reminder of not only what we can learn from children, but the power of compassion even when it’s not convenient.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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