Three Pairs of Hands

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11 NIV

Recently my granddaughter Ella and I put our heads and hands together as my mother and I did decades ago, albeit over a different sort of project.

Ella’s mother, my daughter, was turning 45, and we wanted to create something special for the event.

Three pairs of hands_Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

A wooden inlaid cross my husband Al had created caught my eye. It would make the perfect centerpiece for a string of beads … a necklace for a daughter who loves jewelry. 

Ella and I jumped into the car and buzzed to Michael’s. No need to ask for assistance. We knew the way to the “make-you-own” jewelry aisle. 

Ella pointed. “There, Mama D.”

“Wooden beads. Perfect.”

“Look, they come in different colors.”

“Which ones match the cross?”

“I think the brown and beige. How ’bout you?”

I nodded.

“And there’s a package of gold ones.”

“For contrast. Perfect.”

And off we hurried toward home.

Three pairs of hands: Ella’s, Mother’s, and mine.

Gifted in “put-together” skills, Ella was assembling complicated puzzles before she started to school. She’s the “go-to girl” for whatever falls apart. So stringing her mom’s birthday necklace was easy as pie. 

As I observed my aged hands working beside Ella’s, the contrast was extreme. Tendons and bulging veins, age spots and lines mark the backs of my hands while hers are soft and smooth. Which took me back to 1958 when I completed my first sewing project at age 12.

Three pairs of hands. Mine, Mother’s, and her mother’s.

As a 4-H farm girl, learning to sew was a given. Mother’s Singer hummed in its on-again/off-again manner long into many a night. I learned to cut out a pattern and manipulate the foot pedal and presser foot with Mother standing over me and guiding me with her hands.

Three pairs of hands. Grandmother’s, mother’s, and daughter’s.

My hands contrasted to Mother’s in those days, as they did twenty years ago not long before Mother died, and as Ella’s do to mine today. One generation teaching another, passing on the skills former generations had passed to them, is a tradition in our family, as it was with the McFarlands in The Calling of Ella McFarland.

But our two pairs of hands didn’t work alone. Three pairs of hands worked together to produce a lovely necklace: Ella’s, mine, and my mother’s.

Such thoughts brought to mind another time, another place when other hands created another project with far greater results: Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NIV

Three pairs of hands. Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

The Lord didn’t leave the man alone, nor did He abandon the man’s descendants. God taught His people to pass on their knowledge of Him to their children: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 NIV

In each family when parents teach their children, a third pair of hands joins them. When invited.

Have you invited the Lord to join you in your daily life? Have you asked Him to lead you as you lead your children? Or set His hands alongside yours to guide them? He will. Just ask.

Dear Lord, When You entered our world through Jesus, You changed the course of all history and spanned the great gulf between us and eternity. We invite you to enter our homes today … our families … our hearts. Set Your hands alongside ours and guide us unto all generations. For Jesus’ sake.

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Love = Vulnerability

Love plays a major role in The Calling of Ella McFarland, set for release on December 1.

Shortly before I turned 9, I learned love equals vulnerability.

TheCorralDriveIn_RaymondvilleOur family of 5 was preparing to pile into the car for a Saturday evening at the drive-in. As I skipped across the family room, I wondered where Daddy was.

Peeking out the kitchen window, I saw Prince, our Collie, barking and running toward the road. As a pickup truck slowed, Prince snapped at the tires. With a simple turn of a steering wheel, the truck caught my Prince and pulled him under.

My heart broke at the sight of gentle Prince floundering beneath that truck. And lying there in the drive, his bark silenced, the breeze ruffling his coat. dog-220444_1280

Daddy moved Prince out of sight, thinking to shield me. He never knew I witnessed out the window every agonizing second.

If I were to relive those days, knowing what I know now, would I choose to love Prince still? Or would the memory of his violent death, bound up with heartache, harden me to such a love?

I don’t know.

Unlike me, God knew in the beginning what it would cost Him when He chose to love humankind by giving us free will: His Son’s agony on the cross.

love-699480_1280He did it anyway.

Perhaps the closest we come to God is when we choose to love. In doing so, we experience the One Who Is Love and become vulnerable to rejection and loss. Like Him.

God, help us to love anyway.

To love at all is to be vulnerable.
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

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