It’s her day. A day to celebrate a woman like no other … my sweet Mom.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Mom and me. I’m pretty sure I was about four years old here. And check out Mom’s bee hive – hubba hubba! But seriously…I have often said that I love her hands in this picture. They captivate me. Her hands reveal much more about her than her perfectly shaped hair or radiant smile. Her hands show the depth of her heart.
My mother’s sweet spirit and loving heart are so very apparent to all who know her. But only some know her story. Mom’s childhood was very difficult. Those beautiful hands had desperately tried to fight off abusers and bullies for many years. Those hands had shielded her own face in sorrow and shame. Those hands had begged and prayed for acceptance.
Jitterbugging to “I Can Help” (read about it here)
Yet even so…she overcame. Those once-earnest hands went on to hug me every single day…and to lovingly stroke the birthmark on my forehead as I fell asleep on her lap and to cradle me when I cried. Her hands held mine as we danced, and they pushed the swing as Mom sang our made-up song…”Mommy and Melissa, swingin’, swingin’, we’re having fun!” Her hands have always freely offered me the love and affection for which they had long ago grasped.
As far back as I can remember, her hands have created beautiful pastries and dishes. Mom would work so hard, for days and days, to prepare beautiful culinary delights for our family, neighbors, friends, and church family. She loved opening our home to guests and showing hospitality. Needless to say, our house was a favorite for sleepovers with my friends! Her hands have created beauty.
During my teen years, Mom and I weren’t as close. Like many teens, I “knew it all” and didn’t respect her much. I would give anything to get those years back. Even in the midst of my making some seriously DUMB decisions, she showed her love and affection for me, and I know that she never stopped praying for me. In my twenties, something just clicked and I began to see her differently. Although it had always been there, her ability to forgive and to love unconditionally began to draw me in to her in a new way. The Lord was working powerfully in her life, and although I didn’t realize it until later in my own life, she was Jesus to her wayward daughter (me) for many years. (For the other Moms of lost daughters out there…I pray that brings you encouragement. Don’t give up. I don’t know where I would be right now without the faithful prayers and love from my Mom and Dad.) Her hands have freely offered grace.
From that point on, I wanted to study her, and I have been ever since. I cannot describe the depth of my love for my mother.
Over the years, I have had the privilege of observing those same hands lovingly and oh-so-meticulously create unique and beautiful crafts and arrangements and beautiful treasures that have brightened the lives of so many.
Unbeknownst to me until around the time I turned thirty, her passion for cooking and hospitality had taken root in my heart as well. I began to see my own hands mimicking my memory of hers, as she intricately and carefully thumbed through cookbooks, writing menus, creating masterpieces in the kitchen and crafting beautiful presentations at gatherings of family and friends… infusing a piece of her heart into every touch.
And most beautifully, I have studied the hands that faithfully pray. My sisters and I joke that Mom must have some sort of direct line to God, because when she prays (and she prays all the time), stuff happens! And her hands lift in praise, too. From my hospital bed just a few months ago, as four doctors pushed Mom and Dad away as they surrounded my bed during a critical complication, I caught a glimpse of her. I was so scared. My eyes searched to find Mom and Dad standing together. Dad, bless his heart, was weeping and I knew he was praying. I was so comforted by that…he was fighting for me, as a good Daddy would. But Mom…Mom had a huge smile on her face as her eyes gazed upward, with her beautiful hands lifted. Mom was lifting me up and praising Jesus on my behalf…praising Him even in advance of His blessing.
Her hands have loved well.
I heard someone say once that “One day, you’ll be putting on your coat, and you’ll look down to see your mother’s hand come out from under the sleeve.”
I hope so. I really hope so.
Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:28-31 NIV)
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thank you for who you are. Thank you for loving me like Jesus then and now. Thank you for being my most faithful cheerleader, mentor, advisor, encourager, and friend. I can’t imagine my life without you. I love you so very much, and I am proud to call you Mom.