The Palms of My Hands
by Lindi Collins
“You are the salt of the earth…and the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-14
I work with my hands. In essence, my hands are the same as yours. We each have a palm, fingers, and thumb. Even though we all share similar-looking hands, we have unique attributes in the form of our fingerprints and the creases in our palms. Those lines that grace our palms are like a work of art. They appear perfectly straight; they curve in one part and bob and weave in another. At these intersecting lines, I store my toil, heartache, and ability to love greatly. The creases in my palm record my story and keep my life's written and unwritten chapters.
Part of my life's story consisted of building my floral business, The Bridal Garden, from scratch as I lovingly collected bloom after bloom with my hands, creating beautiful arrangments for my clients. My hands deftly wired a flower that I pinned on a groom's lapel or expertly held a handful of stems as I made them into a bouquet. I conducted a symphony of color from a bucket of flowers while orchestrating a team of assistants. The cycle repeated every week as each wedding unfolded, and each week my palms and fingers grew callused and stained green from all the stems that passed through them.
As time continued, it was with my hands that I created the world around me. I built a garden in my yard, gingerly holding tiny seedlings to plant flowers around me. I painted art for my home, splattering my hands with bright colors, conjuring images from the depths of a blank canvas. The same two hands prepared meals for my family and, with the softest touch, caressed my children's cheeks when they were babies. I helped dress my girls, my hands conveying warmth and affection as I nimbly fastened the little buttons on their dresses. My small hands brushed through their hair and expertly braided their long locks. Each soft pass of my fingers was as if I was helping to instill their identity, one of self-assuredness and confidence.
My hands were responsible for contributing to the purchase of my dream home. With care, I painted walls, applied wallpaper, and chose furniture. My hands and efforts were enough to sustain my dream home and the family that lived inside. After a few years in my new home, I felt a tug at my heart to homeschool my children. Because of that, we decided to sell our large house. Making that decision meant scaling back on the number of clients I could work with in my business, which meant my income would decrease. I knew I was letting go of my dream home, but I chose what was best for my children. I closed the door on that last day, and as my fingers released the doorknob, I let go of all the dreams that went along with that house. My heart ached for the home I loved and had to let go of, and my hands wiped away the tears that trickled down my cheeks.
I processed the loss of my dream house as one would mourn a deceased loved one. The delicious spice of my dreams meant to flavor my life with purpose was tainted with disappointment, and I blamed God. A plan had died, and a part of my soul had perished. With my heart painfully heavy, I set about using my hands to recreate another, smaller home for my family. Even though it was our decision to sell the larger house and homeschool our children, the compromise still carried a heavy emotional weight.
While I was still getting over the loss of my home, God had other plans for my family and me and had called us to follow His direction. But how could I set aside my emotional baggage and pain and follow God's steps? God calls His people to be the salt of the earth. If God's path is salt, and my path is sand, and those two elements are sifted together, how do I separate the two? How could I separate the despair in my heart to find the joy in following God's path? It was a painstakingly impossible process. I had a big job to do if I was going to separate the salt from the sand. To follow God, I would have to trudge through a grainy and constantly shifting ground. To do so filled me with dread, and I found myself mistrusting the path God had laid before me.
I could spend extra time with my children as we homeschooled in my smaller home because I had to spend less time at work. I learned to trust God again in those small moments listening to my daughters laugh and watching them work through school lessons. I found joy again as I spent time with my family. I begrudgingly followed God to homeschool and downsize my home, but from those sacrifices, He created in me a new vision-- His vision. I learned to let God inside my heart again and let him season my life with as much salt as He desired. His wisdom allowed me to piece my broken heart back together from losing my larger house, and He filled my smaller house with not only a pinch of salt but an overflowing amount. The new taste was one of peace, love, and laughter.
During my journey, I discovered that the desires God instilled in my heart had a larger purpose, though I didn't understand there was a purpose at the beginning of my sorrow. And even though it was a difficult change, God was my constant friend, whispering encouraging words. I knew my duty was to use my hands to carry out His vision. Today the same fingers are still designing flowers for my wedding business, and they still give my children countless hugs after a long day of schoolwork. The years may have passed, and my hands may have more wrinkles and freckles, but my hands still do the work of the Lord. I have learned that my hands do not have to be closed in prayer to hear my Father speak new ideas. Instead, I cup my hands together and lift my outstretched arms so God can place new dreams into my palms. I hold onto them like pieces of gold and cherish them. It is He that gives me the inspiration for the words or motivation behind the flower arrangement. And since I like to paint, He is my muse in oil paintings and a catalyst for creation. The Lord speaks to me when I grasp a flower or spread pigment on a canvas. When I type words or hand my children a new lesson, He is the salt of my life, giving depth to the effort in my two hands, palm creases and all. I approach each day with my heart in my hands and ask the Lord to bless my hands in the work I do for Him, and I pray, "Lord, bless my hands so they can help flavor other people's lives."
"God, pass the salt, please!"
“Father, thank you for all you have allowed my hands to create. Give me the peace and security when all that I build falls away. Provide the humbleness to accept and follow your path when the earth crumbles like dry and weightless soil in my hands. Show me the wisdom in the transition and the beauty in the waiting. Thank you for making my hands unique to me, complete with freckles and fingertips. You are the ultimate creator and the giver of life. I ask for new seasons to create in: to shape, to build, to dream, and to make. Be the inspiration behind all that my hands do. Show me the beauty that you have created for me. Give me the eyes to see and the stillness to hear. Engrave me into your palms, Lord. I pray that you will anoint my hands and dreams to flavor the earth for you and build your goodness.”
About Lindi– Lindi built a multiple six-figure wedding floral design company, The Bridal Garden, from scratch. Over time, those small dreams grew and evolved into a burgeoning business meeting the needs of hundreds of brides and counting. She has a passion for creating, from painting to screen printing and from cooking to designing. She blogs about it all at www.mymayberrylane.com.