Sunday, September 25, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Helping Hands"

This week I was thinking about the importance of letting others help you. Some women find it easier to employ the helping hands of someone else…a co-worker, their children, their husband, a friend, a tradesperson, or a salesclerk. But I believe a majority of women (at least I like to think I’m in the majority) are more like me. If we can do it ourselves, whether out of skill or necessity, we hesitate to ask for help – or outright deny it! You know…the desire to be the Proverbs 31 women’s supermodel,

She “works with eager hands”, “sets about her work vigorously”, her “arms are strong for the task”, her lamp does not go out at night”, she “opens her arms to the poor”, she “does not eat the bread of idleness” (from Proverbs 31).

Isn’t it so true? As women, we spend so much of our time using our hands to help others (which is good and honourable) that we often neglect to find the joy in allowing others to help us. There are times I’ve had to accept the helping hands of others – during illness, after surgery, lifting furniture, or like last night when I needed hubby to hold the Mason jars so they wouldn’t fall over as I placed them in the canning processor (after six hours of work I had reached my limit!). Last month, the helping hands of my mother-in-law were much appreciated as we created table decorations for the banquet following my son’s wedding. Her expertise in folding tiny Chinese fans enabled us to enjoy each other’s company despite our limited ability to bridge the language barrier.

In other instances, I’ve had to remind myself that part of my responsibility as a wife, mother, mentor, friend, aunt, and leader is to allow others to work alongside me and share in the joy of learning together. On Monday I wrote in my journal,

“Letting others assist me helps them to realize their efforts are valuable, effective, needed, and noticed. This encourages them to continue being faithful and dedicated. It shows the value of serving together and how much more effective our work or ministry is when each person does his/her part. It’s often a motivator for observers to become involved and discover their own giftedness and usefulness. On a personal level, it fills me with happiness as I partner with someone else in accomplishing a task. I’m often humbled when what I learn from others enables me to become better at what I do. I also receive great pleasure in seeing those I have mentored perpetuate that attitude of helpfulness in leading others. Above all, our helping hands glorify God, the One who created us and designed us to help each other.”

Scripture abounds with examples of people assisting each other in their work. But God models this best. One favourite passage I have revisited many times is found in Isaiah 41. These words are etched in my memory,
Linden tree ornament I found in Salzburg, Austria

“I will strengthen you and help you: I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (verse 10)
“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” (verse 13)

What a great comfort to be assured of the helping hands of my loving Lord and the people He places around me!

P.S. This depiction comes from Isaiah 49:16, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." I love this image!

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