Worship, Serve by Holding Space




The following is excerpted from an article by Heather Plett, “What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone,” and explains how to be present for someone we observe to be in a difficult situation. What better way to show God we love him, and thank him for designing us to live in close communion with others, than to care for others in times of need?



What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone

The author with her mother [Image credit: upliftconnect.com/hold-space]When my Mom was dying, my siblings and I gathered to be with her in her final days. None of us knew anything about supporting someone in her transition out of this life, but we were pretty sure we wanted to keep her at home, so we did.

While we supported Mom, we were, in turn, supported by a gifted palliative care nurse, Ann, who came every few days to care for Mom and to talk to us about what we could expect in the coming days. She taught us how to care for Mom, offered to do the difficult tasks, and gave us only as much information as we needed. Ann gave us an incredible gift in those final days. Though it was an excruciating week, we knew that we were being held by someone who was only a phone call away. Since then, I’ve often thought about how Ann was much more than what can fit in the title of “palliative care nurse.” She was facilitator, coach, and guide. By offering gentle, nonjudgmental support and guidance, she helped us walk one of the most difficult journeys of our lives. Ann was holding space for us.

What does it mean to “hold space” for someone else?

It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.


To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (e.g. trying to fix their problems) or overwhelming them (e.g. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes.


Holding space is not something that’s exclusive to facilitators, coaches, or palliative care nurses. It is something that ALL of us can do for each other – for our partners, children, friends, neighbours, and even strangers who strike up conversations as we’re riding the bus to work. Every day is an opportunity to hold space for the people around us.

8 Tips to Help You Hold Space for Others

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from Ann and others who have held space for me.


1. Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom.

2. Give people only as much information as they can handle.

3. Don’t take their power away.

4. Keep your own ego out of it.

5. Make them feel safe enough to fail.

6. Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness.

7. Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc.

8. Allow them to make different decisions and to have different experiences than you would.


Holding space is not something we can master overnight, or that can be adequately addressed in a list of tips like the ones I’ve just offered. It’s a complex practice that evolves as we practice it, and it is unique to each person and each situation.


The article in its entirety, including explanations of each of the tips listed above, may be found at http://upliftconnect.com/hold-space, and there are hard copies available outside of Elsa’s office.

1 Habit That Might Just Save Your Life

What if I told you to pick 1 habit that might just save your life? 1 habit that would stimulate other healthy habits…

Could you identify 1?

In a recent blog, called Life in Rhythm I described how God established the rhythm of life at creation, and orders our days, weeks, months, seasons and years.

Drilling down a little deeper, I want you to consider for a moment that there are habits that are so foundational to your life, that those habits will naturally spill over into the rest of your life.

I’ve been discovering recently that there are a few habits that are so foundational to my health and wellness that I cannot afford to miss them.

The ah ha came for me in a recent article from Inc., entitled The 1 Habit That Can Make the Most Positive Impact on Your Life:

“…keystone habits are good habits that lead to the development of other good habits (made popular by Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit).

 Here is an excerpt from the book on exercise:

‘When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why … ‘Exercise spills over,’ said James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher. ‘There’s something about it that makes other good habits easier. (p. 109)'”

Read the entire article here.

What habits spill over into other good , healthy habits?

Hmmm… This may take some thought, some consideration. I found that I had really never thought of my habits this way. And another thing that alarmingly caught my attention:

As a Jesus-follower, I am learning to resist the temptation to compartmentalize my faith. My life, the entirety of it is lived in Jesus. There is no part of my life that is not impacted by Jesus. So, any healthy habits that spill over into other habits are what I call Life in Jesus Keystone Habits!

What are your Life in Jesus Keystone Habits: habits that lead to the development of other good habits?

In addition to exercise, which the article references as the #1 Keystone Habit, here are a few other “Life in Jesus Keystone Habits” I’ve identified for myself:

  • Getting up at 5 am

  • Morning Pages-

    Julia Cameron, in her book “The Artist’s Way” introduced me to this exercise of writing long hand three pages every morning.

  • Praising God for something each day and sharing it with someone

  • Learn something

    …from a blog post that teaches me something new, read a book, listen to someone ‘s passion

When I do these 4 things faithfully, regularly, consistently, I benefit greatly. I eat better, sleep better, am more positive, productive, and peaceful. When I don’t do these Life in Jesus Keystone Habits, I am vulnerable to the unhealthy patterns that keep me stuck in my flesh! Yuck!

Once you have identified your Life in Jesus Keystone Habits, share them with a friend who can check-in with you and encourage you to keep going.


  • Identify your Life In Jesus Keystone Habits
  • Share them a trustworthy friend and give them permission to check in with you.

In my next blog post I will share with you how to make the things you’ve identified as Life in Jesus Keystone Habits actual habits!

Share your Keystone Habits with me!


Compelling Reasons to Donate Blood






Recently, my friends and I on the East side have taken on the task of hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive. Hosting a blood drive helps our community, but it also takes a community of people to execute it. There is the physical space to set up, blood donor appointments to fill, registrations tables to run, and food and drink to be provided. And of course, many health care professionals to complete the actual work of collecting the blood.

These are some of reasons why we decided to host a blood drive in our community, but why do people decide to donate their blood? According to the Red Cross, only 38% of the US population is eligible to donate blood at any one time, and out of those, less than 10% actually donate. Yet the reality is that every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood.

There are various reasons to donate blood:

  • Some people are invited by a good friend or coworker to attend a blood drive. Serving together with friends is both rewarding and fun, and a personal invitation can bring someone to donate that may not have considered it before.
  • Other people tell stories of friends or loved ones who have benefited from blood donations. This very close and emotional connection motivates people to give and that in turn makes them hero for someone else. Did you know one blood donation can save up to three lives?
  • Seeing and filling a need may be enough of a motivator for some people; after all, there is currently a critical shortage of blood donations. The need for blood is constant; about 36,000 units are needed every day in the US alone.
  • Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to give to those in need. Donating blood is one way to carry out those teachings and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

When deciding whether or not to donate blood, the bottom line is this: You don’t have to have a special reason to donate blood. You just need your own reason. And whatever your reason is, we hope that you will join us on our journey of serving together with our community.

If you do decide to donate, join us on Friday June 24th - 1-6pm at the Church in East Madison, 258 Corporate Drive Suite 262. You can reserve a time slot here.

What is your motivation to donate blood? Leave your answer in the comments below.


Youth Summer Mission Trips

Every summer, students in 5th-8th grade at the church have the opportunity to go on mission trips that expand their understanding of the world, allow them to contribute to expanding God’s kingdom, and engage them in meeting needs in a variety of different ways. This summer, the adventures continue!

Our middle school mission trip is June 19-22 and takes place here in Madison. Led by our high school students, 5-8th grade students spend 4 days serving people right here in our own backyard. They work at food pantries, food pantry gardens, nursing homes, community centers, and many more places. The students are able to explore many different ways to serve and share the love of God while having lots of fun and getting new perspectives on our world.  Students are still welcome to register for the trip.

The high school mission trip is July 23-31. We are trying something new this year and taking our own independent trip and the destination is New York City! We will be partnering with a church (Our Savior’s New York) that has sites in both Queens and Manhattan. We will be doing kids activities in Central Park, working to remodel the Manhattan church, neighborhood outreach, meals on wheels, and of course seeing some of the sites. Registration is still available for this trip as well.

We would love for you to participate alongside of us in our summer adventures. Here is how you can engage:

  • Prayer. First and foremost, we want these trips to honor God and be led by Him.

  • Finances. We are in need of donations to help with the cost of transportation and scholarships. You can give your donations to Emily, the Church office, or place it in the offering noting the designation. You can also stay tuned for fundraising events that you can participate in and invite friends to. Right now a Culver’s fundraising night is set for May 31st and a Babysitting Fundraiser if planned for June 25th. We appreciate every amount. It is only because of the generosity of this congregation that our students have had such transformational experiences each summer.

  • Middle School Meals. Each night of the middle school trip, we try to find families from the Church who can come in and provide the meal and eat with our students. If you like to cook and want to hear about the trip as it happens, let us know so you can be part of this ministry!

  • High School Meals. We are bringing all of our meals with us on the high school trip. We need baked goods, freezer meals, and a ton of other items to make our week successful. If you would like to be part of the team that is organizing this for our New York trip, let Emily know!

  • Serve. Join our middle school mission trip for half a day or full day. See ways you can serve our community and get to know the young people in our congregation.

Questions? Emily would love to talk! E-mail her at epowers@livelifetogether.com.


Pass It On, part 1: It Only Takes a Spark

It only takes a spark

To get a fire going

And soon all those around

Can warm up in its glowing

That's how it is with God's love

Once you've experienced it

You spread His love to ev'ryone

You want to pass it on

I remember singing this song around the campfire at summer camp.  Think about the last thing someone shared with you, and the most recent thing you were excited to share with someone else.  What do you remember about it?

Passing along the things we know and experience is part of life.  But intentionally passing along things can seem heavy when we talk about discipleship.  So, for this first part of Pass it On, I just want to focus on the most basic thing we get to share, love.  There isn’t a mystery behind sharing love with a friend or neighbor.  Just do it, and if they ask why, tell them that God loves them, and so do you.

  1. Do something to show your neighbor you love them.
  2. If they ask, “Why”, tell them that you know God loves them, and so do you, and that God gives us so much love to share that you wanted to share it.

Easy-peasy! So pass it on.

I wish for you my friend

This happiness that I've found

You can depend on Him

It matters not where you're bound

I'll shout it from the mountain top

I want my world to know

The Lord of love has come to me

I want to pass it on