All Creatures

In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Job 12:10

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All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

These words written in the 19th century by Scottish hymn writer and poet Cecil Frances Alexander came to mind as I watched my grandson Daniel cup his hands around a baby frog. 

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Not your ordinary day, it was a day away from the city with its traffic and busyness. A day to kick back and enjoy nature and country fun. Along with his brothers and sister, Daniel had said hello to several creatures at the farm that day and taken a dip in the pond.

DSC_2373There had been a mishap or two, but none had interfered with what mattered.

Like IMG_0686milking cows. (Click to view)

And feeding chickens.

And pigs. 

There was a miniature donkey to pet. 

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bugAnd oodles of bugs.

I was reared on a farm where such sights were commonplace. Milking cows and feeding hogs were a twice-a-day occurrence. And there were bugs galore. But somehow all these decades later I was seeing the commonplace through the eyes of a child–not just any child–a treasured grandchild. And suddenly they were amazing.

Far from Daniel’s ordinary day, it had been a day to remember as we departed with hearty farewells and promises to return soon. 2013.Daniel.at.farm.dogs

Again Cecil Frances Alexander’s poem came to mind, this time the last stanza:

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Indeed, God has made all things well–bugs, boys, and baby frogs. The life of every creature and the breath of all mankind is in His hand. Thankfully, that’s a very good place to dwell.

Lord, give us eyes to see your wonders. And lips to tell how great and mighty You are. You have made all things well. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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