Hold My Hand

I love to hold my husband’s hand. I have since the very beginning. But a traveling job and five children later, that hand can be hard to grab hold of at times.  So this year, I followed him around the world just trying to catch that hand. Together, we watched the sun rise and set over the Pacific, ate salmon in Alaska, climbed the Eiffel tower at night, and rode bikes through an Amsterdam rush hour. As I made my way through various cities and tried to take it all in, the overarching charm was always that I was taking it in with him, sometimes while holding his hand.

My husband is an active man and doesn’t sit still for long, which means when I’m with him I’m on the move, too. So it was, on our second day in Paris, with aching feet and tired legs, that I reached out and took hold of his hand. The evening light was magical in a city that begs one to linger and look. But we are not the lingering kind. We had a distant destination and an imminent time limit. My active man had engaged his long stride and fast pace and thrown it into high gear. My gears were winding down, and sunset over the city was exerting its magnetic force, holding my feet in place, eyes locked on the skyline. I knew I needed to move, but felt immoveable. That’s when I said it, words that have stuck in my head all year. “If you want me to keep moving, you’ll have to hold my hand.” He held on and didn’t let go. We made it across the city. We found the open market just in time. We filled our bag with good things to eat, and made it to our hotel before collapsing into chairs and relaxing.

That one sentence, “If you want me to keep moving, you’ll have to hold my hand,” gave me plenty to ponder as his hand guided me through the Paris streets to the place he had in mind. The first thought being that that’s all I really want through all my years of marriage–to know that he’s got my hand and we’re in this together. I’ll follow him anywhere, I’ll do my best to match any pace, I’ll trust he knows where he’s going, I’ll get lost with him if he doesn’t, as long as he never lets go of my hand.

And, as one thought leads to another, I came next to the thought that marriage is the earthly picture of the heavenly relationship between Christ and his bride. When He’s holding my hand, anything is possible. I’m able to keep moving wherever He wants me to go because He’s holding my hand. His leadership is trustworthy, His strength becomes mine, and His ability gives movement to my feet. Christ is the ultimate husband, in who’s hand I always want to rest.  And He’s given me this good man to help me learn and remember what it means to be His bride.

So I reach for that hand, catch and grab hold. Whether at home or away, I pray to keep moving or appropriately sit still, knowing we’re in it together, being held by an even greater hand.



©Erika Rice 2016

Living Water

For 6 years I lived in a house where water ran in short supply. Some days a single flush of the toilet would drain the well dry. Circumstances like that tend to create a hyper-sensitivity to water’s source, supply, and squandering.

When I arrived in Jordan last month, I watched the vegetation grow scarce as I ascended up out of the Jordan River valley. I saw virtually no signs of water during the hours I journeyed south to the town of Petra. By the time I arrived, it was impossible for me to flush the toilet without wondering where the water would come from to refill the tank. I welcomed a shower, but reverted to my old water-saving habits. I wanted to know where the water came from in a place that averages 4-6 inches of rainfall per year.


Then I stood on top of Mount Nebo, opposite Jericho, where the Lord showed Moses all the promised land before Moses died. Overcast skies prevented me from seeing all that Moses saw, but my limited view showed me inhospitable desert land. My thoughts went straight to water. The people of Israel wandered in that wilderness. The people complained because there was no water.

“The people grumbled at Moses, saying ‘What shall we drink?'” (Exodus 15:24). “But the people thirsted there for water; and they grumbled against Moses” (Exodus 17:3a).

Looking toward Jericho from Mt. Nebo
Looking toward Jericho from Mt. Nebo

On it went as they wandered. I looked, and I related. I do not know that I would have done better than they. They who tasted God’s provision day after day. They who saw His power in so many miraculous signs, the power of a God who patiently waited for them to trust Him to meet each need. Every day he gave them food. Every time they thirsted, He provided them water to drink.

Then I think about Jesus telling a Samaritan woman at a well, where she had come to draw water, that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14). She immediately wanted the water He offered. And when she ran to tell others about the one she’d met and what he’d said she left her jar of water sitting by the well, never giving it a thought. Can you imagine a promise like that to people living in a thirsty land? To never thirst again? Unthinkable. And so desirable.


God’s people spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness, learning to desire One greater than a drink of water and trust Him fully. God wanted the people to see that He, Himself, was the stream of living water, quenching all their thirst, meeting all their needs. I have lived where there is no water, and have learned that there is One more desirable.  One who meets my every true need, the very needs of my soul. I have drunk the living water and have found His promise true. May I never thirst again for water that doesn’t satisfy. 


© Erika Rice 2014

A Fickle Lady

Spring is a fickle lady, one moment warm and inviting,

one moment wounding  us with her icy stare.

So we embrace her robustly when she allows,


and cling to her when she gives us the cold shoulder, pleading with her to come back.

Whatever her mood, even when she’s most unsure of herself,


we make the best of her presence,

letting her know that we won’t give up on loving her that easily.




With Summer giving chase, it won’t be long till Spring is compelled to stay.




©Erika Rice 2014


I Want To Be A Sarah

I want to be a Sarah. Yes, I like the name. No, I don’t want to change mine. Still, I want to be a Sarah. Let me tell you why.

Sarah, known as Sarai at the time, married a man who heard from God. And when he heard from God, the results were always radical. Crazy is what most people probably would have called him. The first record of God’s talking to Sarah’s husband resulted in a major move, far from family and normal life. Genesis 12:1 says, “Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.'” Sarah was 66 years old when she left her country, her kindred, and all she’d known to go with her husband, believing God’s promise, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:2-3.

Ancient arched gates at Tel Dan. Entrance into Canaan along the trade route from Damascus

I have stood before the ancient gate through which they are thought to have entered the land of Canaan. I have looked to the northeast at the hills they traversed to get to the gate. I have looked to the southwest at the hills they traversed to continue on through the land. My eyes have seen the fertile lands they passed through, continuing to the south before stopping. Such beauty and bounty. It might be easy to stand at that gate and believe that it was worth the move. This promised land had much to offer.

NE to Damascus


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But Abram traveled on. He traveled further and further from his homeland, past the fertile places, the places with springs of water, green grasses and cool breezes to the dry and dusty, rocky portions of earth before stopping to build an altar to the Lord. It was there God spoke to him again and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” And still Abram journeyed on, and Sarah went with him. The place where they settled showed little promise, but it was there that God told Abram to look into the heavens and see the starry host, to count the dust of the earth and know that his family would one day be as innumerable as the stars and the dust. In that barren place, God promised to make him a great and mighty nation and all nations of the earth would be blessed in him. So Abram settled by the oaks of Mamre and built an altar to the Lord. All this time, Sarah was with Abram.


Many more conversations would Abram have with God. More radical actions, more sacrifice would be required of Abram, and therefore of his wife. Both received new names to reflect God’s work in their lives. Genesis records for us the time Sarah grew impatient waiting for the fulfillment of the promise, and the time she laughed at the improbable way she was being asked to believe it could happen. Yet always she followed, and always she was faithful.

This is how Sarah is remembered in Hebrews 11:11 – “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” And in 1 Peter 3:6 –  “Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” 

Without being frightened by any fear. Sarah left home and family, she lived in strange cultures, she followed her husband to Egypt to escape famine, and when he concocted a strange plan to protect himself, she nearly ended up married to Pharaoh. She gave birth to a son at the age of 91, she lived in less habitable lands when her husband gave the prime real estate to his selfish nephew. Nowhere do I read that Sarah’s life was easy or predictable; but Sarah considered him faithful who had promised, and I can be her child if I do what is right without being frightened by any fear.

I want to be a Sarah.

©Erika Rice 2014