Holding Space

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Perhaps you have heard this statement before, but perhaps it is completely foreign to you and so you clicked here because you wanted to quench your curiosity.


I first heard this term a few years ago, I can’t recall when or where, but I know at the time it was profound and valuable for me.


At that time, I had recently suffered the sudden loss of my mom in a terrible car accident.

In my search for comfort and peace, my heart of course turned to books and blogs, as words are a powerful force in life, especially those steeped in scripture and wisdom.


I found this phrase and it seemed to perfectly sum up the healing balm my soul had been desperate for. As we walked through that season of grief that led to another, this balm became a life line.


Fast forward to today. Two weeks post op from a major abdominal surgical experience and this truth, this principle rings truer than ever.


In the 14 days since my procedure, I have had almost as many people come and visit me. And some of them have come more than once. Some bringing food or flowers or small gifts or handwritten cards with heartfelt notes.

These people have “Held Space” for me.


The have come to visit me, not because they are self serving, not because they have something to gain, but because they knew it would help me get better.


Through these two weeks I have been binge watching “Call The Midwife”. (So addicting and lovely but get your tissue ready) In the “old days” of hospital care and healing, it was difficult to go and visit those you love while they were sick. It was believed the patient was better off resting and not being disturbed. In more recent years, healers and scientists have learned that having loved ones close actually helps people get better faster. Why? It is because when those we love “Hold Space” for us, it creates a safe and warm and healthy place for us to heal.


It is being utterly open and available, offering our presence for others to process and heal and feel along side of. Just the act of being there can help someone feel so safe and warm and loved that they actually get better faster.


And it isn’t just about physical healing. The whole body is involved with healing, so the mind and the heart play a huge roll!!


So how can we “Hold Space” for one another? Here are some practical tips in no particular order.


1.      Bring food. When people are sick or hurting, they especially need nourishment but often lack the ability to properly provide it for themselves. Even a small fruit basket can be a massive blessing for those who are hurting or healing. It doesn’t have to be fancy.


2.      Show up. People who are hurting and healing don’t always know how to ask for what they need. Or they feel awkward about inviting people to come sit with them when they feel like they are in a state of unwell. Just reach out and go.


3.      Check in. Send a text every couple of days to let them know you are still there and available if needed. Just the reach out can make a person feel loved and valued and that helps immensely with healing!


4.      Don’t think you have to have the right words or solutions. You don’t. You just need two ears to listen if the person wants to talk. Or maybe they just want to sit on the couch and listen to worship music or watch a movie or binge a series on Netflix. It helps if you just sit with them. No pressure, just presence.


5.      Pray. Pray for people who are going THROUGH stuff. Pray on your own. Text them a quick prayer that you both can amen. Call them and pray. Pray in person-while touching them if you can. In the church world we call this “laying hands” on someone. I believe touch is powerful and valuable, especially while praying.



These five things are simple and practical but are all ways you can just create or hold a space for someone who needs to know they are not alone in a battle. That they have allies and support as they push through to the other side of whatever it is they may be facing.

Taylor Madge