My mom drove me to and from school every single day from preschool to High. I remember thousands of conversations between the two of us. It was maybe 8 minutes or less each way but apparently it was impactful because when I woke up this morning, on my 39th birthday it was the first thing I though of. Strange how the mind works…
I remember her hands on the steering wheel, they were old looking to me. The funny thing is she was actually really very young. She had me in her early 20’s so she wasn’t a day over 40 in all of my memories as a child. But those hands, the way her veins bumped to the surface and the skin was dark and wrinkled from the sun. I watched them for years and prayed mine wouldn’t look like that. It was ugly to me. Sigh.
This morning my daughter ran in with her gift of sour patch kids, (thank you child you clearly love Jesus and your mama) and as I was reading the birthday card out loud tears were dripping down my face at the sweetness of written words from all four daughters. She lay in the bed next to me listening, and she started running her young fingers over the “bumping to the surface veins”…on my hands.
I love Jesus and His ways.
He must have heard me ask Him a million times not to give me those hands. But He knew. He knew that I would one day grow up enough to look past what the world sees as “not beautiful” and I would take back that request, and thank Him for the hands that reminded me of a woman who has depth and purpose and freedom running in her blood. The very hands she herself inherited from her own mother.
I’ve watched her hands cook countless meals for the poor, needy, sick and the selfish. Those hands rocked my sister and I as babies, changed our diapers and brushed knots out of long tangled hair. They spanked spoiled rotten *be-hinds* and clapped loud for a ballet recital well preformed. I sat by her on Sunday mornings watching her hands flip from Matthew to Genesis and then she raised them up high in praise as she sang. She worked in the yard with those hands and payed our bills with those hands. She serves orphans with those hands…she’s prayed my life into existence with her folded…worn out hands.
Jesus, who would I rather look like at 39 years old than a woman who serves you…and loves me?
My daughters have our veins…Thank you Jesus for always being so dang cool.
That is why we can say without any doubt or fear, “The Lord is my Helper, and I am not afraid of anything that mere man can do to me.”
Today I’m thankful for my life, it’s been nothing but proof of a God who patiently molds the children He created and loves despite years of a rebellious attitude. He has given me more good gifts than I deserve, and they all point to His glory.
I don’t know what scares you the most about growing old young thing…but let it be the fear that you WON’T reflect the women in your life who gave up so much of themselves…to raise you well.
Her morning coffee breath, yep I have that too…God bless the children who don’t mention it.
I have a new appreciation for age…I’m not scared of it telling my story. I’m thankful for my scars and banged up skin, it reminds me that God heals all things physically and emotionally overtime…if you let Him.
I love you sisters…
I’m so blessed by your precious young selves. You make me smile when you come piling out of a bathroom together or I see you taking selfies. I loved being young…and I have no idea why I dreaded getting older. What a bunch of wasted energy, because this side of life is pretty kick ass too.
As I look back over 39 years, I have learned a few things. Thank God I’m not the same girl who thought she knew it all and didn’t need other people. I’m more like a woman who has her eyes wide open and heart purposefully exposed, willing to soak in your words and also run at full speed towards whatever God has ahead. I’m not busy trying to hide my mistakes. I’m more interested in apologizing and accepting personal responsiblity. (Sister, find that sooner rather than later, it’s total freedom.) I stopped seeking approval from others and that was just a flat out choice. It’s fleeting…
Can I give you a few words of advice? (Being that I have wrinkled hands with big veins now I feel sort of oldish and wiser).
Be kind to the weird ones…they are actually the salt of life. Be quick to forgive…even when it’s not deserved. It will calm YOUR soul. Find joy IN the pain…because pain can’t be avoided so man handle that thing until it obeys you. Be a Truth teller…even when that means you will lose a friend or two over it. Demand justice for those who are being beaten down…it’s absolutely your business and you better. Crave Jesus and His Word…without it you are leaving yourself vulnerable to well, nothing good. And lastly, embrace the things on your body that remind you of the people you love. Be proud of who you are. Let’s be a generation of women who celebrate our big or small noses, because they remind us of our grandmothers…and we ADORED them.
When I blow out my candles tonight, I’m making a wish for you too. 90 more healthy birthdays please Lord. Seriously, popping champagne at 100 and all that.
I love you.