Open My Hands

Originally published Tuesday, 30 November 2021.

I sit in an empty house, an outdoor teak table pulled inside, a temporary place to sit and prop up my computer. A place that is in a state of becoming, a place of dreaming, a place undeserved but accepted with shaking hands. We found this new home in mid-October, a home less than a mile from the little 100 year-old bungalow where we’ve lived for the past 15 years.

It is a house I’d noticed for more than a decade on my early morning runs, when the sky was still pink—and on walks with our dog or when running errands downtown. It is a block away from our old condo, the first home we owned and lived in with our three then tiny kids. A house inspired by its original English-style cottage built in 1934, with a garden out front that looked like magic and with leaded front windows that shone when light hit the diamond-shaped glass.

Holy are you, Father, the giver of good things, the giver of gifts we don’t deserve.

Nearly every day we come by to see it—making coffee at home and bringing it over to work in the breakfast nook, like I am now—or on weekends to walk through and make decisions about projects that need to be done before we move in. (Like taking out and fixing the front windows, repairing the foundation, and other things.) The boys, away at college, heard the news from us on FaceTime—one of them got to see it in person during Thanksgiving. Our daughter, a sophomore in high school, dreams about her new room.

Some gifts in our lives our easy to see. Others are less obvious and not so quickly noticed. Perhaps they were given to us in secret. Or maybe our focus is elsewhere and the goodness all around us is unrecognized. When I think of God’s gifts, I am amazed by how he gives, with such abundant goodness, again and again.

Father, help me to receive you. Help me to see you. Help me to accept what you give me with open hands and an open heart. Help me to not forget that everything you give is a gift—that nothing is mine and yet everything you give is good and for my good.

The week of escrow my heart was confused—so amazed by the generosity of God and yet overwhelmed by it, uncomfortable. I struggled with pride—the old struggles of wanting to deserve the good gifts that I am given, of lamenting my brokenness, my smallness, my powerlessness. If ever I try to entertain the idea of deserving God’s goodness, I come up short. And yet, how perfect it is that I am dependent upon Him—for our finances (that our salary comes from our non-profit’s donations) for my family, my friends, my mind, my heart, my health, my home.

All that I have is because of the love of God. Any temptation to try to prove my worth is an act of the evil one and is not from my King.

It is amazing how the sweetness of good things can turn sour when we hold what we’ve been given with fists clenched tight, full of fear and self-righteousness, rather than with hands open and available to drop whatever they are holding to pick up whatever it is God gives us next.

Lord, forgive me. I am inclined to sin, to be filled with pride. I am desperate for You—for your eyes and heart. I open my hands, my mind, and I consecrate them. I give you my intentions, my plans, my dreams and my ideas. Purify me. Strip away anything in me that is false.

Thank you for your good gifts. Thank you for your good plans for me. Thank you for your provision—how, in every circumstance, you are present and holding me. Thank you for how you withhold from me nothing good—your character is kind. I am safe with you. Nothing can hurt me when I am with you.

Keep me hidden in you. Keep my heart aligned with yours. Help me abide in the kingdom. Help me not stray from where you are. In Jesus’ beautiful name, Amen.

Have you ever struggled to receive, with joy and acceptance, a gift given to you? May God keep our hearts open. I am praying with you now.


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