October 13, 2008
A Woman's Hands
"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 that was taken in the early 1900's. 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 my grandmother Anderson on her wedding day. She was fourteen-years-old.
As I gaze at this amazing woman who bore twelve children and then miscarried eleven 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 my Grandmother Anderson, all of us mothers need big hearts and big hands. Our hands grip the bed rail in pain in the delivery room; 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 sleepy heads 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 neck tie 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're 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 herself. 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.
Dear Lord, thank You for holding me always in the palm of Your hands. I pray that today, 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
Go back and think of all your hands have done over the past week. Make a list of how you have used your hands to love others.
Make a list of how the touch of other people has encouraged you over the past week.
Proverbs 14:1 says that the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. What are some ways that we can tear our house down with our own hands? Are there any destructive uses of your hands that need to be eliminated?
Think back to all the ways your own mother loved you through her hands. You may even want to write a list or even write her a letter of thanks.
More From The Girlfriends
It is truly amazing all that a mom does on any given day. Being a mom is one of the greatest responsibilities and privileges we will ever have. If you're a mom and need a bit of encouragement today, you'll want to read Sharon's book, Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids. It's packed with encouraging words, helpful tips and Biblical advice.