Lessons from the Lunch Lady: Hurting Hands

“Owwwwch!”

Glancing down at the twin bubble-gum-pink spots on my knuckles, I knew I burned them. Again.

I grimaced as echoes of pain criss-crossed my nerves, but I had to work through it and keep serving. I’d done the same thing just a few minutes prior, and at least twice the day before. My knuckles were already sensitive and because I’m left-handed my left hand knuckles were taking a beating.

Or, rather, a scorching.

On the way home from work I looked at the eraser-shaped burn on my elbow and the long, thin cut on my right forearm, fully healed but still visible. Finally I look at my worn hands, feeling defeated. 

I’m in a work environment where burns, scratches, and scars are commonplace. And while I’m learning to slow down and be more careful around ovens and hot trays, I’m also learning that I’ve got a huge casserole-dish full of pride about my hands.

They’re mine, Lord, all mine. I want to choose how they get dirty, or, if they do get dirty.

You know when people ask that question – what’s your favorite body part? Well, my answer is rather strange because it’s my hands.

Why do I like them? I suppose because they’re strong but still feminine, not too small but not very big, either. My nails are average length, serviceable and healthy. Our hands also carry out our actions, whether we’re serving, helping, holding and for some, healing.

They’re just necessary, and I’m kind of partial to mine.

In the last few years God has matured my faith and grown my trust in Him, and I’m finally focused on what God laid on my heart to do for Him – write. My hands fit in with that plan nicely. After all, they’re the most important tool I need for writing.

Tap-a-tap-tap they go, combining with the Holy Spirit’s leading in my heart and mind.  It’s a spiritual creation station I absolutely adore.

In fact, it’s a NEED now. I need to write, to create something for Him with my hands.

But as God so often has to do when we lose sight of grace and gain a need for law, He’s had to rein me in, stopping me short and reminding me that my hands are actually His. I don’t have to earn His love or His approval with a high word count or 4 square blog posts per month.

“They’re My hands,” my Creator says, gently grasping my hands and putting them to work at something that feels below me. “I want you to do more with them than just write.”

“But my hands get burned in that kitchen. They work hard doing tasks I don’t like doing. My hands get cut, frozen in the freezer, singed, dirty, jammed in places, and all dried up. Now they look old, and I don’t like it. Can’t I just write?”

“I have other plans for those hands, ” my Heavenly Father says.

 “For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows all your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing.” ~ Deuteronomy 2:7

When I survey the path God brought me down during the years of my life, I nearly drown in gratitude. I have truly lacked nothing; instead I see grace covering my life, over and over and over, and the protection, guidance and forgiveness my Savior offered even as I stumbled, stalled, and sat down on my often selfish journey.

As I remember, I recommit. Yes, Lord, they’re Yours. All Yours.   

Right now, my hands hurt. They’re sore, burned, and beginning to look as though they’ve lived 35 years – because they have. And I realize that these scarred hands are a tool I must allow God to work freely through – whether in my writing or while I’m washing dishes.

All I am – and all I have – is Yours, Lord. Humble me and please forgive me when I forget this truth.

“But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand.”

~ Psalm 31: 14 & 15

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10 thoughts on “Lessons from the Lunch Lady: Hurting Hands

  1. alisa November 15, 2011 at 12:31 am Reply

    Just beautiful!!!

    • candidkerry November 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm Reply

      Thanks Alisa. I’m learning that the most beautiful spiritual truths often come through the most painful times. And I’m really enjoying reading about your MADE experience and what God’s taught you through that. 🙂

  2. Keli Gwyn November 15, 2011 at 12:37 am Reply

    What a beautiful post, Kerry. I love how you let the Lord put your hands to work, bearing the scars of your sacrifices as you serve others. May He bless you abundantly for your willingness to put others needs before your own desires.

    • candidkerry November 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm Reply

      Thank you, Keli! God definitely had to humble me through this experience, and still is.

      Just a few more months for your book, right? Can’t wait to read!

  3. cynthiaherron November 15, 2011 at 11:40 am Reply

    Kerry, this was so moving!

    Sacrifice. What a word! What a concept! Something we could all take lessons in…

    I’m praying for you.

    • candidkerry November 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm Reply

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thank you! You’re always such a blessing with your thoughtful comments and posts.

      I’m still, always learning….its not about me…it’s not about me…

      Thank you for your encouragement. Your words always buouy me, so much. 🙂

  4. Amanda Beth November 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm Reply

    What a beautiful post! I love the last line, “I must allow God to work freely through – whether in my writing or while I’m washing dishes.” Thanks for the reminder to do whatever I am doing for the glory of God, whether writing or doing dishes:)

    You are a great writer by the way. I know God has great plans for your writings.

    God bless you:)

    • candidkerry November 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm Reply

      Hi Amanda,

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! You really blessed me with your words.

      It took me years, as a stay-at-home mom, to grasp that doing laundry for my family is just as important as any other job when we’re doing it for the Lord.

      I’ve been so busy so far this week, but I’m going to make time to read the rest of chapter 3. Can’t wait to review your book!

  5. bluecottonmemory November 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm Reply

    Oh, Kerry – First, I wanted to give you a start of my Aloe Vera plant and realized that since you live in FL you probably have one. Then I wondered what my favorite body part was – and that kind of stumped me – maybe my green eyes – does that count? And then you so touched my spirit – and your challenge made me think of the challenges of the last 2 years that left my heart burned, my spirit singed and I knew God knew I would be able to handle the challenge, he knew over 20 years ago that He would train and equip me to handle the burns and singes of the challenge and that’s why He chose me for the job – and my heart grieved with you at the uncomfortableness of the challenge – but I rejoice because I can see that God is growing something mighty, wise and beautiful in you:)

    • candidkerry November 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm Reply

      ML,

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words! You blessed me so much. And I love green eyes – I’m sure yours are beautiful.

      And yes, we DO have an aloe vera plant – that the boys love to pick branches off and pretend to heal their cuts and scrapes. 😉

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