I am thankful for my hands.
My nails are ragged, and I haven’t bothered painting them in years that I can remember.
Something painful is going on under the nail of my right middle finger, which is, well, painful.
The base joints of my first two fingers are swollen pretty much all the time.
I still have the scar my best friend gave me in seventh grade when we decided to scratch each other just for fun. Our moms were so mad.
My grandma used to tell me that my hands were beautiful. They were. Long and slender, with perfectly tapering fingers and lovely nails, they were the only part of me that I ever felt were really perfect. Of course that was before rheumatoid arthritis.
Today I poured milk for my kids, handed out vitamins, addressed a letter, dressed my daughter, combed my son’s hair, buckled my belt, gave a messy child a spit bath, poured coffee, divvied up snacks, sorted and washed and dried and folded laundry, made dinner, tickled three kids, gave a hug to a friend, wrote down prayer requests, held hands with my husband, gestured wildly, burned myself with a hot glue gun, untangled a mess of yarn, wiped down the table, and typed this blog.
I did all of this with these silly, painful hands of mine, and I am filled with gratitude.
I thank God for the medication I am on that is making such a huge difference in what I can and can’t do.
I thank Him for the chance to use my hands to serve my family and my friends.
I thank my God that though sometimes my hands fail me– there was that one time, with the screaming kid and the medicine bottle that wouldn’t open and the steak knife– He has given me a husband, and now two strong boys to help me when I need it.
I thank Him that they look like my grandma’s a little even still, even though she would be appalled at how long it’s been since I used an emery board.
I thank God for the feeling of the hands of my kids holding mine, and that even now my almost-10-year-old still isn’t ashamed to hold his mama’s hand.
I am so grateful for these hands. They are not perfect. They go well with the rest of me– scarred, imperfect, a little swollen, butgood enough. Good enough, even when they fail me, because they remind me of the sufficiency of my God in my weakness.
And because they will never be too weak, too swollen, or too painful to be folded in prayer or lifted in praise.
(Or to gesticulate wildly. At least I hope not. Because that would be sad. It’s hard to gesticulate wildly with your feet, although I would try if I couldn’t with my hands.)