Aeroplanes and Hammocks by Emily Owen

Yesterday, as part of a service I watched online, there was a lovely moment where the children of the church were videoed talking about their dads. One of the questions they were asked was ‘What do you like doing with your dad?’

One child said he liked it when his dad let him hold his model aeroplane.

I may be making an assumption here, but I guess it’s a special plane. It was clearly a treat for the child to be allowed to hold it.

Today, my nephew, Josiah, turns seven. A few weeks ago, his younger brother, Micah, turned five. As part of the online celebrations for Micah’s birthday, we watched a video of him as a baby arriving home from hospital. We saw little Josiah’s delight at being settled far back in an armchair and allowed to hold his baby brother.

What about God? What does God give us to hold?

Perhaps book ideas, article ideas, fingers that flow freely over a keyboard.

It’s a privilege to hold these things for God.

In the video of Josiah holding Micah, we saw that his mum’s hand was always nearby, ready to help.

And, as shown in the question about doing things together, the dad didn’t hand over the plane and then disappear. He probably watched carefully, ready to step in if needs be.

Josiah was holding the baby, the boy was holding the aeroplane, but help was there, too. They weren’t holding things alone.

Perhaps, things we are holding are difficult.

Deadlines; no deadlines; things cancelled; things not cancelled but different (delivering talks online); worry about the future; willing inspiration from a blank screen; wishing we had time to glance at that blank screen let alone cover it with words.

It's a privilege to hold these things for God, too.

But sometimes, we can't hold on anymore.

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.
Deuteronomy 33:27

Many years ago, during a time in hospital, I was being moved in a hoist from my bed to a chair. A hoist is a bit like a hammock that moves people who are unable to move themselves.

There I was, unable to move, in my hammock, my hands weakly gripping its canvas, in the air midway between bed and chair, when suddenly I felt myself slipping. And slipping. And slipping.

I couldn't hold on anymore. All I could do was fall.

As I fell, I felt my mum's hands catching me.

I was safe.
It’s a privilege to hold things for God, and it’s a privilege be held by God.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 
2 Corinthians 12:9

Higher than the heavens,
you come down.
Down to this world.
Down to where we are.
Down to where I am.
And where I am is a long way down.
The ground beneath my feet crumbles
and I slip further
and further.
Yet you’re there.
However low I go,
you’re there.
‘I can’t do it any more,’
I whisper.
Thank you,
you say.
My pain and tear-filled eyes ask questions.
‘Thank you?’
Thank you for allowing me to perfect my strength in you.
But I said I can’t do it any more.
I can’t cope.
I’m not strong.
My child, you are never stronger than when you turn to
me and say, ‘I can’t’.

(© God's Calling Cards, Authentic Media 2019)


  1. Thank you for this Emily. I love the way you connect the idea of us holding onto things with the way God holds onto us.

    1. Thank you, Katherine. You've made me think about what we can learn about holding things, in light of the way God holds us.

  2. This touched my heart today. I love the question “what are you holding?” Food for thought. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Kathleen. Yes, 'what are you holding' is quite a question, isn't it...

  3. Lovely thanks Emily. Very encouraging to give it all to him - even the nothingness that drags me down... God bless you.

    1. Thank you, Trudy. 'Even the nothingness'. Yes, definitely, we can give it all to Him.

  4. Brilliant blog - thank you Emily


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