Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Her hands...

I wanted flowery words of love and affection. I wanted lots of hugs and kisses. I wanted her to be gentle as she combed the tangles out of my long, fine hair, wet from my Saturday night bath. There were seven of us kids, and I the one who was labeled "tender hearted"...too much so, too easily hurt and brought to tears... too easily afraid and insecure.

Her way to love was to work. She worked hard. Cooked our meals, sewed our clothes, worried about how to make the money stretch. Now I see it, now I see that was her language, her way to say "I love you". But that little girl back then didn't see, and didn't understand.

Now I know that when those hands stayed up late into the wee hours, making an intricate lace trimmed nightie with matching robe for me to open on Christmas morning, she was shouting, "I love you!" As her hands kneaded the weekly batch of homemade bread, the bread that no matter how hard I try, I just can't quite duplicate, she was loving all seven of her noisy brood. The thousands and thousands of homemade cookies those hands made. The homemade candy at Christmas time. The tons of laundry they washed...not carelessly thrown in together in the washer...but even with seven kids, separating out the items that needed extra care or hand washing. Then the tedious hours of ironing that followed, back before the days of permanent press. "Read to me" she would say as she ironed, and so I would, reading Swiss Family Robinson to my mom as her hands never stopped.

Those hands are old, wrinkled, shaky now. It's getting difficult for those hands to even care for herself now, much less for those she loves. Now it is my turn, my turn to speak back to my mom, in the language that she speaks. To bring her some of my home cooked food. To scrub her kitchen floor. Even to tie her shoes. God, help my hands to be an instrument of Your love today.


  1. Wow, this is beautiful. You show great compassion as you comprehend and revisit her toil...her love. And now you are ready to serve in return.

    Can't wait to share this on Wednesday!

  2. Dear Elizabeth -
    I took a few minutes and popped back in again to read some older posts and get better acquainted. Oh, I could comment on every one you've written from the beginning - you've touched my heart with your words and you've stirred memories that are so like those you share. But I couldn't sit and not write a thank you for this beautiful post. I'm in a similar place with my precious 87-year-old mother - a Godly lady whose heart and hands can't do all she did but who amazes everyone with her wisdom, wit and compassion. Oh, that I will minister to her as the Holy Spirit desires! Such beautiful words today. Thank you, my friend.

  3. I love what isn't here between the lines. Bitterness or resentment. Only matter of factness. Your honoring of your mother will bring blessing to you. And a life of no regrets. Beautiful.

  4. Found this today. Hope you still have your Mama to serve lovingly. Wish my Mom lived close enough for me to "do" for her. Phone calls have to suffice. Service to me and our family was her love language too.


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