She holds her hands above her eyes, marveling at how her fingers wiggle about or how she can rotate her fists from side to side. She grabs her thumb with the other hand and squeaks in delight.
At four months old, hands are a novelty. She is in awe.
And she should be. Her hands are a marvelous invention of her Creator. They are meant to do wonderful things. They are meant to be a blessing.
It pains me though that someday these tiny hands may not be so interesting to her. The ingenuity crafted in those palms and digits will be taken for granted. Instead, there will be a day when she’ll appraise herself in the mirror and surmise that she does not measure up to some impossible standard never designed by her Creator. As she looks intently at her flaws, she won’t notice how beautiful and gifted those little hands are and the sheer wonder of it all.
Why do I think this? Because my eyes still sting from the dust kicked up on that well-trodden road.
As a girl, when that kindergarten boy made fun of me in front of all our classmates.
As a teen, when a daily barrage of air-brushed images seemed to scorn the image of my self-worth before the Internet was even invented.
As a woman, when I resigned to the inevitable, a tentative peace offering but a permanent dissatisfaction with the lack of perfection.
As a mother, for the stretching and wearing that makes me wish I had loved myself a little more before these days ever arrived.
The truth is no amount of affirmation from others will saturate a thirsty soul. It will never be enough. To the thirsty soul, such words disappear into the ground but never reach the roots.
Perfection is the enemy of the soul. Until…
Until we lift these hands in beautiful surrender… surrender to the only worthy Judge, our Creator.
“I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Thy works. And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
Surrender to the one who knows your thoughts without you saying a word.
Surrender to the one who is intimately acquainted with all your ways.
Surrender to the one who knew you before you were born and knows to perfection the number of your days.
Surrender to the summation of all his thoughts about you. How precious they are.
Surrender to the one who delivers you from every painful rut embedded deep within the heart and imbues you with everlasting life.
Years ago now, on a rainy, quiet morning in a hospital room, I held my Granny’s hands for the final time. Those soft, beautiful, knotted up, gnarled hands once played the piano in ministry, cooked feasts for her family, and loved friends and strangers alike.
Those perfectly flawed hands loved us to the very end. Those hands were the measure of her life. And it was beautiful.
“If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me
And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.” (Psalm 139:9-10)
One of my greatest treasures is an old black and white photo of my Granny holding me as an infant. It sits in my daughter’s room now. I think of that as she puts her arms down and looks up at me. Her delight is tentative until I smile back at her. Yes, her hands are amazing. And now she knows it’s true.
And as I surrender, a new standard is raised for us set only by the One who formed us both in our mother’s wombs.
A standard of praise for the beauty he created. And that our souls know very well.