Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Joy in Working with My Hands

"Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for your serve the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:23-24

I admit I am no Martha Stewart, or expert seamstress by any means, but have rekindled my passion for sewing, something I loved when my kids were little. I sewed them clothes, curtains, bedcovers and pillow cases, but then as life got too busy and I worked outside the home, the machines were put away for a long time. Not long ago, I finally made a quilt for my first grandbaby. My desire to create for my grandsons is strong. It makes me feel good to work again with my hands. I also like to write, do calligraphy, and if I had the time, I would start painting again.

The other day I was reading in Exodus about how the Israelites gathered together to design the tabernacle according to the pattern God had shown them. God included the women in these preparations, and in Exodus 35: 25-26 it says:

"All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair."
I bet those women were delighted to do their very best work to produce the finest quality yarns. God had no prejudice in the women contributing to the beauty of the tabernacle, which was to represent to the Jews a picture of Christ.

Though I do not claim to be the Proverbs 31 woman, I hope to be more and more like her, with God's enablement. I like how she is said to work with her hands as well in Proverbs 31: 13:

"She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands."

I think of women just a few generations ago, how different it was for them! We have the opportunity now to be couch potatoes if we want to, or remain glued to the computer or smartphones because of the increase of technology. My mother in law never had a dishwasher to add to her convenience in cleaning up the family meals. My grandmothers had wringer washers where they needed to feed each item of clothing into the wringer for cleaning. Who would have time now for that? If I went back to my great grandmother's time it is likely they never had any car to take them on trips, but rode carriages drawn by horses to get to town.

Yes, the advancement of technology can be good, but it also can feel good to make things from scratch: bread, soups, and cakes, for example. Hanging the laundry outside to dry naturally gives the clothes such a nice smell. It was something everyone used to do. And at the end of the day, it feels good to know you worked hard, and have something to show for it. One of my daughter in laws creates beautiful crafty gifts for the family, and the other one makes wonderful homemade soaps. I am glad they get to create, too!

Think back to when we were little, before our teachers told us the "right" way to create a piece of artwork. Didn't it bring us joy just to create it? In some small way, we get to share in the joy of creating just like God did when He created us. I feel that same sense of joy today when I sit down and hear my sewing machine buzzing away, or the clack of my fingers typing a poem, or creating a meal that my husband will rave over.

God is so great to give us each talents and let us discover ways of blessing others (and ourselves) through using them.

Deuteronomy 16:15

"... because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice."

What brings your heart and your hands delight? I would love to hear about it!

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