November 10, 2011
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy (Proverbs 31:20, NIV).
Friend to Friend
On a shelf in my living room sits a black-and-white photograph of a young girl taken in the early 1900s. Her hair is pulled back with an oversized bow peeking from behind the edges of her head. Her dress is typical of the times, with puffed sleeves and a brimming lace collar resting on her shoulders. She isn’t smiling, and she appears to be somewhat awkward, timid, and, I dare say, even afraid. This is a picture of Grandmother Anderson on her wedding day. She was 14 years old.
As I gaze at this amazing woman who bore 12 children and miscarried 11 others, I am always drawn to her hands. Hanging uncomfortably at her side are hands that seem much too large for her petite frame. “Anderson hands,” my mother calls them. I surmise that God must have known this little lady would need a big heart and big hands to embrace all that life would send her way.
Like Grandmother Anderson, all mothers need big hearts and big hands. A mother’s hands grip the bed rail in pain in the delivery room and then gently caress a newborn for the first time. Before long, those hands are changing diapers, washing bottoms and faces, cleaning spit-up, wiping tears, rocking sleepyheads, and placing babies in a crib. Then they are holding a toddler’s chubby hand and grabbing him to keep him out of harm’s way. Tossing a ball, preparing holiday dinners, setting a festive table, tying packages for birthday parties and Christmas presents. Coloring and cutting out shapes in workbooks. Picking up leaves and bugs for collections.
Pushing a swing and letting go of a bike as a child first learns to peddle on his own. Sewing party dresses and mending torn baseball jerseys, washing scraped knees and spooning out medicine. Holding the sweaty palm of an awkward adolescent while dancing around the den, tying the knot of a necktie and pinning on a boutonniere for a first party. Writing letters to children away at camp, or folding hands in prayer asking for the Lord’s protection while they are away. Tightly grasping the steering wheel while chauffeuring children from one place to the next or gripping the seat as a teen learns how to drive.
Hands that wave goodbye as a son drives off to college and hands that adjust a cherished daughter’s wedding veil. A mother’s hands are loving hands, disciplining hands, grieving hands, protecting hands, and providing hands. They embrace the child and then, when the child is ready, she opens them and lets them go.
Take a look at your hands today and ask God how He would have you use them. If you are are mom, thank God for all the ways He lets you use your hands to bless your children. If you are not a mom, thank God for all the hands that He has used to bless you.
Dear Lord, thank You for holding me always in the palm of Your hands. I pray today that I will use my hands for good: to help a child, to give a hug, to pat a back, to cook a meal, to touch with kindness, to caress with love. I lift up my hands to praise You and fold them in prayer to intercede.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Additional Scripture Reading:Proverbs 31:10-31
Today, take a good look at your hands. Think about your hands. Thank God for your hands. Throughout the day, make a list of all the ways God allows you to use your hands to minister to other people. Let’s make a list! Visit www.facebook.comand share how you used your hands to bless others today. Don’t be shy! This will be fun. You can also list how someone else used her hands to bless you.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you find yourself longing to hear God’s voice – not as a once-in-a-lifetime experience but on a daily basis? If so, Sharon’s new 15-Minute Devotional book, Listening to God Day-by-Day,will help you do just that. It is an expanded version of the smaller book, Extraordinary Moments with God. In it you will find 100 devotions to help you become a woman who detects God’s still small voice in all of life. This is a warm, fun, tender look at recognizing some of the wonderful and unexpected ways God reaches out to us in the middle of our everyday life. And if you are a mom who needs some encouragement today, see Sharon’s book, Being a Great Mom-Raising Great Kids.
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