08 October 2012

A 31 Day Grand Prix {day 8} - Multitude Monday ~ A photo titled Afua's Hands

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." I Peter 3.3-6
As I meditate on this verse (for over a week now), my eye tends to skip over and among the words... most of them, in fact, except...? Except for the words highlighted above. 

What is God trying to say to me?

That's one of a few refrains humming through my mind these days.

 Another one, almost as loud and definitely more discordant, is...

 leave for Ghana in just 8 days.

Yikes! I'm not ready... yet... I hope I will be! I'm working to that end and battling internet, electricity, busyness and exhaustion issues.

In one of those exhausted moments, I started googling photos of Ghana. For those of us working here in Niamey, Ghana, particularly Accra, seems like "everything I ever dreamed of but haven't been able to get here." Stories of malls, bowling, movie theaters, ice cream that I didn't have to make, the sounds and sights of beautiful beaches with waves rolling and crashing (that isn't stinky flood water).... I'm pretty sure it can't be all people's stories want to build it into being, at least in my mind. The grass really isn't always that much greener, eh?

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to this trip (as long as I don't dwell on that airplane ride required to get there). I'm looking forward to a change of scenery. I'm even looking forward to missing my gang and I'm relishing a professional challenge.

While googling images, I stumbled across this picture and an online photo art gallery from one of my favorite photojournalists, Phil Grout. In the gallery was a photo titled Afua's Hands. 

Immediately entranced and enchanted, I just stared... and stared... and stared some more. Grout himself says, "Hope carves trails in an old woman's hands then plows furrows up her arms, and all trails lead back home...” Can't you just see that in this photo?

I love hands. They fascinate me. Hands motivate me to wonder, not just because of the amazing things people do with their hands or because of the intricate simplicity they manifest, but also because they provoke my imagination. I imagine all sorts of stories - beginnings, middles and endings and I long to know their story... the story of the one to whom they belong. I particularly love looking at the hands of some of the amazing aged women I've met.

Jesus' hands tell an amazing story... 

...one of gentle strength, grace, love and amazing sacrifice. 

I can't wait to hold those hands some day.

Then my two thought melodies (somewhat fearful anticipation mixed together with Scripture truth that gentle, quiet spirits do not give way to fear) began to harmonize as I stared.

Those hands, Afua's hands, that continue to work, that continue to do good in caring for and providing for their families and communities... 

 holding children, 
  comforting the sick, 
    preparing meals, 
      harvesting grain or cocoa beans, 
        drawing water, 
             scrubbing clothes, 
                 mending buttons, 
                    pounding millet, 
                      gathering eggs, 
                         sweeping dust, 
                            slowly scripting letters and learning to write her name,
                               scrubbing toilets, 
                                  steering land cruisers, 
                                     chopping onions and garlic, 
                                         folding in prayer, 
                                            turning pages of His Word - 

...hands that keep on working, 

...finding reasons to be thankful,

...and hoping - 

despite drudgery, depression, desperation and discouragement...

I hope my hands tell a similar story, just as beautifully, some day.

What story do you imagine 
when you see the beautiful, aged hands of Afua... or others like her?

this week's gratitude list:
(#'s 3176 - 3195)


young hands full of hopes and dreams and promise

old hands full of wrinkles, pronounced veins, dry skin and age spots speaking of hopes realized, future dreams and promises kept

the stories those hands can tell

amazing photographs

nervous anticipation

the beginning of a softball tournament

the end of that same softball tournament

the most delish hamburger relish, EVER

partners in crime

remembering to use humor when diffusing sibling arguments

cool nights when the AC isn't working

hearing all of those songs from the 80s over the weekend

job accomplished

two awesome catches at home plate for two great outs

kids cheering for their daddy

a Monday not to fear (for even the white man fears Monday, as they say here), since it meant sleeping in and no school

a three day work week

the challenge of this 31 day writing project and the things God is speaking quietly into my spirit in what I both read and write


  1. The stories hands tell...I can only imagine the hands a stories you will meet on your trip. Praying my hands tell the story of grace today. Blessings!

    1. the story of grace - praying i tell that one not just with my hands but with my whole being! some days (not when your oldest teen daughter has decided to wear hateful attitude in bold, bright and neon colors) it is much easier than others.

      thanks for the visit today, christina.


Stop in for a chat! I love to hear what you have to say ~


Related Posts with Thumbnails