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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Hands

jenmichel@me.com

The twins have begun to dress themselves. It's as if this universe has shifted in some way, they now asking me to lay out their clothes at bedtime. In the morning, I hear drawers open and close, and minutes later, these two boys, still wiping night from their eyes, find me. "Is this the right way?" they ask, pointing to their shirt. And when I croon,"Yes!" their eyes find their toes, and they smile shyly.

Our oldest is almost eleven. She's so capable now. With the twins, still three, there are yet shirts to button, pants to snap, and coats to zip. But more and more, as their little hands grow deft and big, they insist, "I can do it!" and I watch their heroic struggle with velcro sneakers and coat sleeves.

The motion of my hands is different these days. I'm no longer changing diapers, finding pacifiers, or rocking a baby to sleep. Instead, I sign papers and type passwords. I pack lunches and fold laundry and pick up scattered library books. But my hands still draw these five close. I'm hungry for a piece of them near, even as they try and wriggle away.

Establish the work of my hands. Psalm 90:17

To be a mother is to have your hands set in perpetual motion.

And whatever good our hands accomplish, whatever greatness they purpose, these hands are weak, arthritic. They bear the sure signs of something enfeebled and frail. Things seem to be forever slipping away, and these hands aren't strong enough to hold.

Establish the work of my hands. This is a mother's prayer.

Establish. Found. Make something strong and lasting of all my porous efforts. Because this work, this mothering, is simply too big. And demands too much. And who'd have imagined what a wreck I really was?

But prayer is whispered faith. Establish the work of my hands. You, Big God, build.

It's not a stilling of the motion to which I'm called. I purpose and commit and work.

But ultimately, I surrender and I trust.

Because He is strong and big. And His hands hold.