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God's Touch
(Why I know what unconditional love is).

"No one cares about me"
"I'm so alone"
"I'm different"
"Death would be better for me"

These are some of the things that I hear so often from the young people who are a part of my daily life. These are some of the things that I, myself, have sometimes thought and believed and because I know what it feels like to think about these things, my heart shatters in two each and every time someone tells me any one of those things. I so often lay awake at night, trying to find the words I need to convince every person I encounter of their worthiness, of their special purpose for this earth, of how much they really and truly are loved. So many times, I fall asleep, still unsatisfied and frustrated that even as easily as words have always come to me, I can't seem to find the right ones. The one thing that has so many times, made me feel better is remembering that I'm not alone, and so I tell the people I work with, "You're never alone."

But... read that statement: "you're never alone." It sounds kind of abstract, doesn't it, and difficult to believe when you are in the black of blackness, lonely and afraid. I remember my life and I remember the pain that I had to go through and how lonely I became. I remember how afraid I was. If someone had told me, "you're not alone" I'm not sure I would have believed them. In fact, I may have even thought they were trying to brush me off, patronizing me. Thankfully, I wasn't told, I was shown that it is the truth. It was my aunt who showed me.

My sister and I were spending the night with her and we were all three sleeping in the same bed. I don't remember what we were talking about until she said, "If you're ever afraid or can't go to sleep, just hold your hand out, like this" and she took my wrist and turned it upside down, so that my palm was face up "and say a prayer, asking God to hold your hand. When you do it, you'll feel a warmth like this" - and she placed her other hand over my open palm and I felt a warmth settle over my palm and nodded - "come over your hand and you'll know that God is holding your it." Curious, I tried what she said. I held my palm out and I said a prayer.

At this time, I was still very young and so I had the faith of a child and I believed every word I'd been told, so, of course I believed God really would hold my hand. I was right. Minutes after my prayer ended, I felt a soft heat come only over my palm. I stared at my palm in awe and amazement and I curled my fingers in, as I do when I hold someone's hand. The heat stayed with me. I had, up to that point, never experienced so much comfort and peace before in my life. I was young but I knew, laying in that bed, that if God would hold my hand then, He would continue to hold my hand through the trials of my life. I fell asleep that night with my hand laying on my pillow, palm up, so as to help keep His hand interlocked with mine.

I know it sounds almost silly and difficult to believe, but I do believe, with every fiber of my body, that God's hand held mine that night and many nights thereafter. He still does it, and it's the greatest comfort and peace there is because I know, every time that His hand comes down to rest in mine, that all the mistakes I've made and think are so terrible are forgivable in His sight and that because I really believe, everything is all right. Isn't that the kind of love you wish you could have? Unconditional? No matter what mistakes, what terrible things you may do and no matter what the earthly consequences for your actions may be, that there is someone who loves you beyond all measure?

I have news. It's real. And God will hold your hand, just as He held mine, and He will walk you through the valleys of your life. All you have to do is believe in Him. Sometimes I wonder what happens to all of our childlike faith. I wonder sometimes why it all goes away and when. When does the magical ability to believe things we cannot see and to listen to things which we cannot hear and to feel things that we cannot touch slip from our grasp? I don't believe it truly ever does. I believe that each of us, somewhere deep inside of us, retain a small piece of that childlike faith and that when we try to find it, it's always there for us, leading us through the rough spots in our lives. In fact, I don't only believe that, I know it to be true, for every time I'm afraid and God takes my hand again, it is proven once more.