I Lost My Shoulders

Yesterday we celebrated the life of a dear friend and mentor, Jimmy Holt.

Jimmy was a firecracker of a guy.  He lived life to the fullest and didn’t waste a minute.  He was constantly improving himself and surrounded himself with others who subscribed to the same mentality.

When I joined the Cross Point staff and began leading our Board of Directors, I’ll admit I was a little a lot terrified of trying to lead Jimmy Holt who was one of the founding members of the church and a long-standing Board member.

I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere along the way I earned Jimmy’s favor.  And being that Jimmy was a little “old school” and I was a young female, I knew that earning his approval was a very big deal.

Over time Jimmy and I developed a special friendship that I will cherish all my life.  He was a man of few words, so we didn’t have long, in depth conversations, but there was a mutual respect for one another and passion to serve the church together that created a special bond.

Jimmy believed in me whole-heartedly.  I remember one specific time his company was working on an office renovation project and he told his crew “you do whatever Jenni wants.”  That crew of workers wouldn’t put an outlet in the wall without asking me exactly where I wanted it placed.  If I had said 5 3/8″ from the door and 2 1/3″ from the ceiling, they would have put it exactly in that spot.

There were many times we were making big leadership decisions and I could count on Jimmy to cut to the chase and help our team make a decision.

Jimmy also invested in me personally.  He helped me develop my tennis game (but he never let me win 🙂 ).  And he and my husband enjoyed several rounds of golf.

I’ve had several months to come to terms with the fact that Jimmy wouldn’t be here much longer.  I was fortunate to have some good conversations in these last few months.  I was able to tell him what he meant to me and I was able to remind him how much of an influence he had been in so many lives.

But yesterday in the memorial service, it hit me… and it hit me hard.

Jimmy had become a set of shoulders for me to stand upon. He provided confidence, stability and reassurance in the days where I was uncertain about my leadership decisions.  I always knew I could fall back on Jimmy.  I always knew he would help me think through a decision and find a way to make a dream possible.

Today I feel wobbly. I lost a large part of my leadership support system.  I lost some shoulders that I didn’t even always realize I was resting on.  They were so comfortable… and so safe.

A part of me was forced to grow up yesterday.  Perhaps I need to become some shoulders for someone else.  Perhaps a new set of shoulders will come along.

But I will always remember and be thankful for those shoulders I had the privilege of standing on!

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  • Lindsey_Nobles May 13, 2010  

    A beautiful tribute to your friend…he sounds like an amazing man.

  • Anne Jackson May 13, 2010  


    I'm so sorry to hear about Jimmy's passing. I know how much he meant to you guys. Praying you will see his investment into your life now as a legacy to pass on and be shoulders for others! I know you already are for many.

  • Jessica Turner May 13, 2010  

    You gave my goosebumps friend. Praying for you. xo

  • rfbryant May 13, 2010  

    Oh, Jenni! What an amazing man and what joy for you to have known him. Obviously you've learned well, because you're already passing on the "lift" — praying for you.

  • Unraveled May 13, 2010  

    What a beautiful way to share your heart.

  • Janice May 13, 2010  

    What a lovely commendation of your friend and mentor. I did not know him, but you have given a beautiful testimonial of the kind of man he was. He obviously was a man of wisdom and recognized you as someone deserving of his encouragement and counsel. You will be worthy shoulders!

  • alece May 13, 2010  

    what a legacy jimmy has left in cross point, but also in you.

    i'm praying for you, my wobbly friend. asking the Lord to strengthen you…

  • Jonathan Wells May 13, 2010  

    He left a wonderful legacy of love and investing in people that we should all strive to follow.

  • Lisa Elms May 13, 2010  

    I truly didn’t think I had another single tear in me. I’m still red and swollen from yesterday’s tears. I certainly did not have the relationship you did with Mr. Holt and I am so sorry for the loss you are feeling today. Our house is beyond sad. I realize he was not the easiest man to get along with, but somehow he also let Anthony in to his very tight circle. He was not a “boss” but a dear friend to him and the impact he left on our lives will be felt forever! Selfishly, I am finding it hard to rejoice in his new found happiness, but find myself dwelling on our loss. Prayers to you! I look forward to seeing where his influence leads you in the future.

  • Dad May 14, 2010  


    I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Holt. I know how much he meant to you. My prayers are with you and his family.

  • brandiandboys May 13, 2010  

    i'm feeling this huge void as well, jenni… i had such a hard time making it through the memorial. he was definitely a backbone for us.

    • jcatron May 14, 2010  

      Brandi – good thing we didn't sit together… I was having trouble keeping from out-loud sobbing… you would have put me over the edge 🙂

  • Blake Bergstrom May 14, 2010  

    Wow. What a great way to remember and say thank you. I'm sure Jimmy is completely confident that Cross Point is in wonderful care under your watchful eye. Thanks for being shoulders for me and the rest of us around here.