A Mother's Heart and Hands

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As I look back to the memories of my childhood, a strong image that comes to my mind is that of my mother's loving hands. I thought they were the most beautiful in the world. In many ways, I still feel that way. Because I had been a premature baby, I was often sick with a variety of respiratory illnesses, including chronic asthma and occasional bouts with pneumonia. My memories of these illnesses, however, are mostly pleasant, because my mother would gently stroke my brow as she talked softly or told me stories and gave me her full attention. I remember feeling very loved from such focused attention.

At other times, when I fidgeted in church services, I remember my mother's hands massaging my own, pulling and squeezing each of my fingers as she quietly played finger games with me. As a young child, sitting next to her in a big overstuffed chair, I would watch her hands as she read to me from an oversized children's book. Her fingers would point to the enticing, heart-delighting pictures and turn the pages of the large volumes as we leisurely sat together and talked and read.

And during the period when I was having a recurring nightmare—one I still remember!—I especially remember the comfort of my mother's hands when she came to my bedside. She would take my hand in hers as she knelt to pray with me, soothing away my fears and comforting me as she entreated God to take all of my bad thoughts away.

Now, many, many years removed from my mother, these memories of my mother's hands are still strong in my heart. Those hands were old and wrinkled and aching with arthritis by the time she passed on, yet still, as an adult, I often wish she were with me to stroke my brow in the midst of illness and exhaustion, to massage away the frustration and boredom of tedious days, to open windows to the world while reading to me in a big old chair, and to take my hand in prayer and cast away all the fears of my life.

The touch of a mother's hand and the power of a mother's love indeed has carried me through many moments of my life.

As I look to the needs of children of today, I am convinced they need the same things from their mothers that I needed—and received—from mine. They need not only the gentle touch of a mother's hands, but her focus and her attention on a daily basis. They need a champion and a cheerleader, someone who has the time and energy to give encouragement along life's way and comfort in dark times. They need a directive voice to show them how to live.

These needs are not frivolous demands. They're part of the way God designed children. And meeting those needs is not an option or a sideline for mothers, but part of his design as well. Perhaps because I was fortunate enough to have a mother who met my own needs so beautifully, God has put on my heart a desire to encourage other mothers by showing them the significant role they play in the life of their precious children—and by assuring them that their deep desire to devote time and energy to their families is a vital part of God's call on their life.

~excerpt from The Mission of Motherhood, available on Amazon, here.