My hands are much like my mother’s. Average in size, with gnarly knuckles and age spots galore. But my mother’s hands were much more talented than mine ever have been or ever will be. At least they were when she was a young mother, before the arthritis set in. Her handwriting was beautiful and made a grocery list look like poetry. She was always creating something with her hands. For some, having to wear a homemade dress was a thing of shame, a symbol of not having money. Not for me. I would be invited to a party and would come home from school to see something special hanging on my door. A true one of a kind party dress. I don’t know for sure if the dresses were really that cute, or if it was the way in which she presented them with such confidence and love. But I grew up feeling confident that I would always have just the right thing to wear for any occasion.
My mother had a neighbor who was even more creative with her hands than she was, and when they got together, well; it was nothing less than magic. During my Barbie doll years they would make the most amazing dresses, and even hats, and put them in tiny boxes, decoupaged with the paper from the sacks of Lubbock’s (my home town) finest department store, Hemphill-Wells. I’ll never forget (at least I hope I never do) Christmas morning when I saw this trousseau of Barbie fashion. It was heaven on earth! I’ve looked at Barbie doll dresses recently in anticipation of my granddaughters’ futures, and I have to say, nothing I’ve seen comes close to the seam work or creative genius of my mother and her friend. Some things just simply require a personal touch in order to be a thing of beauty.
As I consider Mother’s Day this weekend, I am filled with gratitude for the special care my mother showed to detail and the way she made the simplest things seem so special. And, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be a mother myself to the most amazing daughter anyone could’ve ever hoped for. I was not as creatively talented with my hands as my own mother had been, but I am hopeful that my daughter felt the special care of this mother’s love and touch. And, I am thankful beyond measure at the mother that she is today. Her two little girls are cared for in such beautiful ways that it is hard for me to find the words to express just how proud I am of the woman she has become. And, to be a grandmother to her two girls…well it brings the sweetest caress of joy.
But, in all of my musings today I am struck the most by the example of a “mother’s love” that can be found in the book of Genesis. Yes, I know, I said mother. In the middle of “The Fall” no less! Now, before you go thinking I’ve lost all sense of good theology let me explain. Bear with me. It’s right there when Adam and Eve have eaten the darn forbidden fruit and are being sent out of the garden to “serve the soil from which they came”. Right before they are sent away God makes them clothes. Makes them Himself. Out of skins. Adam and Eve had hurriedly thrown on scratchy and flimsy fig leaves, but God had a more protective and comfortable plan for their wardrobe. And of course, skins grow on animals so that meant that God had made a sacrifice, it had cost something to provide these garments of grace. But here’s the best part to me. Right there in Scripture it says that he dressed them himself. God didn’t just throw the skins at them and tell them to leave. He took the time and care to dress them personally, just like mothers do every day before sending their kids to school, out in the world to learn how to serve and get along. God’s grace was fulfilled through the love of Christ, but it was there in the garden as well. As gentle as a mother’s touch.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers, or anyone else who has ever shown care to another out of love.
Something to chew on….