I decided today to research the story behind the song and found a great post on the website of Christina Wells, who wrote the song.
She actually wrote the song about three different women who had experienced great loss in their lives. One was a young widow, one a friend who lost an infant son and the last one was her mother-in-law who had a stillborn daughter.
One woman she talks about is Vaneetha whose infant son had been treated at birth for a heart defect.
Paul was doing remarkably well and had just been celebrated at a church-wide baby shower, when he died unexpectedly in the night. The first verse of “Held” refers to Vaneetha and her son, Paul. She has always spoken to me about how knowing sorrow has allowed her to also know joy…and about the strange reality of feeling God’s presence most keenly in the moments of deepest grief.I can so relate to that strange paradox of knowing God's love and His nearness best in a time of greatest pain.
Then she relates how her mother-in-law Sherry shared the story of her stillborn daughter:
She spoke through tears about the pain of carrying a child to term and then having to let her go without even getting to take her home from the hospital. She told me about the still, small voice that spoke to her in the delivery room, saying: You have to choose how you will carry this loss after this moment. You can choose bitterness. Or you can choose to let me wrap you up in peace that can’t be explained and that will lead to hope. You can choose to trust that you are not alone, and that everything you suffer here will someday be redeemed.
This conversation with Sherry eventually helped write the third verse.I have appreciated the depth and power of these lyrics since the first time I heard the song, and I can tell this songwriter has an deep, true understanding of grief, suffering and redemption.
Other words from these women became the second verse, taught me that no person of faith since the beginning of time has ever lived without suffering. In fact, they said, those who are students of Jesus have been promised that we certainly should expect pain and suffering in this life.
But. In the middle of that heartache. At every lonely, dark, lost moment…the Truth.
That in those moments, even then, especially then… we are held, held up, held together, by the the One who has walked here and knows the pain, and who also holds all of time, every story, my story, your story, the Greatest Story in his hands.