I’m starting to write again today for my blog ~ the one I began two years ago….so this is my second posting! There is no good reason or excuse…only fear that disabled my brain from putting to page what God was putting on my heart to share. I will not let fear of the unknown rule over my life any longer. I will not allow the possibility that not everything I write and post will resonate with every reader. I will not allow the fact that there will come a day that readers will vehemently disagree with something I post. And that’s okay ~ because I know that I have prayed over each posting and pray continually that I will follow the call to Women’s Ministries that God has placed on my life since I was in my teens.
So, with that said…..Hello blog world ~ here I come….again…..and many more Monday’s after today! ~ “Blog2.0”
Oh, one more thing ~ Thank you to my prayer team who checks in with me via text/email/phone, to make sure that I’m sticking to my writing schedule! You are so loved and appreciated!
The title of today’s posting is very nostalgic to me ~ “Full of Hands” ~ so, let me start with a little story!
One day, long ago when my girls were little, we were in the midst of cleaning up from a day full of playing. Now, I wish I could remember which of my girls said this to give them credit, but I think they’ll be okay with the story nonetheless. We were cleaning up and I asked one of the girls to pick up something they’d dropped. Her sweet face turned up to meet mine, showing me the bevy of things she was already carrying and said, “But Mommy, I’m already full of hands.” Of course I knew what she meant, but it was a precious explanation from a little toddler as to why she couldn’t pick up what she had dropped.
This is why I wanted to start here….choosing to not be “full of hands” and to pick up the ministry once again in my hands, being fully confident that what God has called me to, He will provide for. He will take care of my schedule as long as I seek to not fill my hands with things that don’t line up with His plan for my life.
Do you ever feel “full of hands?” Especially in this back to school season many of us find ourselves in, we can feel it in a big way….getting everyone back on schedule, kids seeing their friends again, you seeing the mom’s in carline or back to school night, meeting new teachers, back and forth to the store 100x in a week because your child (or their teacher) remembers something else that they just have to have in class by tomorrow! I am personally thankful that: 1) Target is open until midnight during the week, and 2) that my one darling girl (yes…that’s you Sierra!) still at home has become extremely organized with her schooling needs! I’m sure you can add much more to this list!
Let me back up a little bit and confess where I’ve been since posting that first (and only) blog over 2 years ago, and how I allowed my life to be “full of hands.”
For those who read that first post and were so very encouraging about it, thank you! I did not require in myself the commitment needed, I allowed fear of the unknown to set in along with fear of the calling God placed on my life, to overrule God’s tender voice. My daughters, my husband, and friends alike were all trying to encourage me to keep it going ~ and I let it go. So if I dropped this part of my calling, what did I hold on to instead? * Insert regular list of excuses here! * ~ 🙂 “I don’t have the time. What if I’m not really hearing God about this? What if I write/teach something in the wrong way that causes someone confusion? What if I offend someone? What will people think who’ve known me a long time think about what I write? And on and on and on…..
Oh, but there is such a temptation to be “full of hands” with things that should not have the priority we have given them. The word “hands” is written over 1000 times in the Bible. Our hands are so important ~ they can be instruments of love, support, and peace, or they can become instruments of destruction and anger. The best example of how to use our hands, and what to keep them filled with, is of course to look to Jesus and his Word.
Psalm 95:5 says, “The sea is His; He made it. His hands formed the dry land.” Psalm 102:25 states, “Long ago You established the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.”
In Mark 10:16, it is written about the healing of a man who had a severe skin disease. He was healed by just the touch of the hands of Jesus. Matthew chapter 8 shares testimony of a young girl being healed from a high fever. In the later chapters of each of the Gospels in the New Testament, we read how Jesus was handed over to the rulers of the land to be crucified; how Pilate “washed his hands” of their actions (Matthew 27:24); and how in John 40:27, Thomas was moved to serve Christ with a renewed passion after seeing and touching the scars of the nail holes in His hands. It is almost too much to take in that the hands that created the universe, the hands that healed and held little children, the hands that hung on that sacrificial cross, are the very hands that hold me when I’m crumbling, that clap with joy when I succeed, that hold hands with me as He walks beside me on this journey of my life. Even as I’m sitting in a small cafe near my home, those hands are touching my heart in a way that rings true and clear that this passion I have to reach women with the promises of God is DEFINITELY from Him!
While I’ve been reading through these beautiful scriptures about hands, one has struck me like never before ~ which by the way, don’t you LOVE that about God’s Word? You can read a passage a dozen times, and then suddenly one day it comes alive and smacks you in the face with its beautiful truth because God took that moment to speak to you and personally show you something new in that moment! I love this about my Lord!!
Mark 1:41 says, “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.” The man mentioned in this verse was said to be suffering from “a serious skin disease” (vs. 40) which most likely means he suffered from the disease of leprosy. He came to Jesus, falling to his knees begging Jesus to heal him, “if You are willing, You are able to make me clean.” (vs. 40). Notice that the man had no doubt that Jesus could heal him, it was a matter of would He.
Besides the fact that I love word studies and finding scriptures that apply to those words, searching various translations of God’s Word provides such a robust insight to what I’m learning. In verse 41, the Holman Christian Study Bible states that Jesus was “moved with compassion…” while in the Amplified version it says, “And being moved with pity and sympathy…” Reflecting on this phrasing, it seems to me that Jesus did not feel compassion because the man had a skin disease, but He reacted with sympathetic compassion because of the purity of the man’s heart as he acknowledged Jesus’ power and had accepted in his heart that Jesus may or may not heal him. I love that, in this case, Jesus’ response was immediate!
He reached out His hand, touched the man, and this man was healed immediately!
Two years ago, I had the privilege and opportunity to go on a mission’s trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with my middle daughter Savannah. This trip was comprised of mostly high school students, one teacher & his family and two other parents. An interesting combination for sure! We worked with Mission Emanuel* in the small village of Cielo. So many stories and experiences wrapped up in that 10 day trip ~ but that’s a posting for another time! I bring up this trip because we visited one of the last remaining leper care centers set up by Mother Theresa, called The Sisters of Mercy Leprosarium. We exited the bus there one day, not knowing what to expect and were greeted by some of the happiest people I’ve seen. These folks were wheel-chair rolling, walking, talking testimonies of being content in the Lord regardless of the extreme circumstances of their life. One man, who we later found out had been a Pastor, rolled up to us with a huge smile on his face and asked, “Do you know Jesus as Your Savior? If you don’t, let me tell you about Him.” Amazing!! Well, our team was there to officially do some minor repair work on the buildings and paint the walls. However as you can probably imagine, the real ministry happened when we sat with the residents, listened to their stories, and held their hands.
One of the residents told us that we were the first team (that they could recall anyway) who came in without gloves on. We reached out and touched their shoulders, laid hands on their hands as we prayed over them, stretched out our hands to take a hold of theirs. I cannot help but be brought back to tears as I remember watching my daughter and her friends on the team, lift up the frail body of one of the bed-ridden residents to help her eat a Pringles potato chip and then patiently give her water to drink. The woman’s toothless grin of joy was almost too much to bear. In another room later that afternoon, I watched the hands of my daughter play her guitar while she and about eight other students gathered around a young woman in her 30’s (who had been abandoned at the leprosarium by her family), holding her finger-less hands, arms around her shoulders, singing praise songs in English and Spanish. How completely overflowing was my heart that day with God’s grace. How full my heart remains to this day.
What is it in our lives that are causing us to be “full of hands?” What is it that we need to come to the feet of Jesus and say to Him, like the leper in Mark 1:421, “if you are willing, You are able to make me clean.”
Jesus sees us through the eyes of compassion when we come to Him with a heart desiring to be purified from the “disease” of our life ~ whether it be busyness, procrastination, fear, anger, unforgiveness, passivity, etc. ~ Jesus is ready and willing to immediately reach out His hand and heal us. When we empty our hands of the unnecessary and open them available (and empty!), we can have the joy of having our hands full of His plans! Please resist the temptation to keep a few things of your own choosing, dangling off your fingertips while attempting to grasp the gift of what God wants to bless you with. Something will drop, and that will derail the purposes and plans God intended. Open, available hands that are ready to receive and carry out God’s plan are ones that are willing to be uncomfortable while firmly ensconced in trusting the One who makes the plans. They are not immune from pain or suffering. You may encounter persecution of varying degrees by friends or family, but you will be resting in the Hands that created the universe! The book of Acts is filled with testimony of the disciples, apostles, and followers of Christ, who dealt with a variety of persecutions. But they trusted their Savior to watch over them and lead them on His path. I’m so thankful for these early Believers who paved the way for the world to know God and make Him known.
Acts 11:21 proclaims “The Lord’s hand was with them, and a large number who believed turned to the Lord.”
My prayer for you dear sister, is that you examine what you are “full of hands” with, and trust that when you give it all over to the Lord, He will absolutely direct your path and He will not let you fall. This is an exciting time in your life to see what the next step God has in store for you! And I’m thrilled that you are joining me on this ride of my life as well!! Take that step and He will guide you, with the ever-loving touch of His powerful and tender hand.
*for more information on this amazing place, please log into http://www.missionemanuel.org