November 5, 2008
Handprints of Love
By Renee Myers, She Speaks Graduate
“Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.”
Proverbs 31:31 (NLT)
Oh, the memories of summer days spent with my husband’s parents at their cozy lake cottage. My mother-in-law Jeanette was a wonderful hostess who always made us feel welcomed and loved. Their peaceful home sat on a canal that led to the lake. The views from the windows looked across a tree-shaded yard to the canal where their boat was docked. At any time you could look out to see ducks wandering in the yard or floating by, cranes flying overhead, boats motoring along, or fish jumping out of the water. Our young son loved to stand at the windows with his hands pressed against the glass to catch these fascinating sights.
While talking to Jeanette after one of our visits she said, “This might sound funny, but I haven’t washed the windows since you were here last. I still enjoy seeing your son’s handprints on the glass and just can’t bring myself to wash them off.” Silently I thought to myself, “No, that doesn’t sound funny at all. I never wash our windows either!” Then my heart allowed me to be touched by what she’d just said. Although she was an excellent housekeeper who liked everything neat and tidy, she looked past perfection and sought preservation of the moments her grandchild spent in her home, leaving his handprints behind as evidence of the happy times they’d shared.
Hmmm…I had a lot to learn from her. I was so busy trying to be a good mom and keep up with my tasks (which included wiping off all the sticky handprints I found), that I was overlooking precious “handprint moments” with my own son. I wasn’t allowing myself to stand back and cherish them as my mother-in-law had so wisely done.
Psalm 127:3 tells me that children are a gift from the Lord. In the busyness of motherhood, I failed to see and cherish him as such. Wisdom spoke through the loving words of my mother-in-law to remind me.
I’ve learned many lessons from Jeanette’s kind and gentle ways. She treated me as a daughter-in-love, not a daughter-in-law. I’ve never heard her raise her voice or speak negatively of others. Although Jeanette was a retired elementary teacher, she never stopped teaching the things that mattered most. She took pride in her duties as a wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother up until the day she lost her life to cancer.
She left handprints of love on my heart that will never be wiped away, evidence of deeds that publicly declare her praise (Proverbs 31:31).
Dear Lord, please help me to leave handprints of love on my loved ones hearts, just as You have done on the hearts of those who turn to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst
A Love Worth Giving by Max Lucado
Think about ways you would like to be thought of and remembered by your loved ones. Read Proverbs 31:10-27 for reminders of how the Bible teaches us to be loving women.
Whose handprints of love are on your heart?
How might you live your life so that you can leave handprints of love on the hearts of others?
How can you honor those whose love-lessons have made a difference for you?
Titus 2:1, “But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching.” (NLT)
1 Peter 1:22b, “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (NIV)
John 15:12, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 05 November 2008.