The other day while waiting at a stoplight, I reached back and gently placed my hand around the corner of my baby’s car seat. Without being able to see his face, and only toes in frame, I felt his little soft fingers begin gripping onto mine. No words, no noises, just silence, but so much said as our hands connected. As he clutched, I slowly outlined his fingers, rubbing over his nail beds and knuckles, his hands so soft, so perfect, not one blemish.

As I held hands with my 13-month old, I thought about these tiny digits and all they would accomplish in this life. The imperfections will soon be gone. These little hands experiencing splinters, and scrapes. Pained by the unfortunate door slamming, leaving a hard to reach blood blister. Hangnails becoming red and irritated. Calluses formed from learning to use a baseball bat, and of course dirt and grime, along with other unpleasant detritus left beneath the nail’s surface. All evidence of life’s unpredicted journeys.

In this moment, although as a mother it’s hard to admit, but these little hands are not perfect, he is not perfect. It is my job to teach, to forgive, to model, to love.  I realize these hands will take when they should give, push instead of hug, point in judgment rather than fold in prayer … Our hands display the matters of our heart, which is always a work in progress.

That day I prayed for these little hands. I prayed these hands be gentle, that they learn to share. That the fingers pinched by doors, are because of holding one open for a sweet elderly lady. That the callused covered palms be from working to help those in need and the dirt embedded fingernails a result from playing with friends and loving creation. I pray he have compassion for people being made visible through his caring touch. That wrinkles formed are not from a strong grip to money but rather holding firm to those he loves.

Our hands tell a story, sometimes a tale we feel not worth repeating. Through life’s many lessons our hands grow weary. Amidst the many physical changes one can pursue to obtain youth, hands will tell it all. Wrinkles and swollen knuckles can only be hidden by gloves. But why hide? Don’t we want the world to know our accomplishments, our setbacks? Don’t we want to share our troubles and how through God’s grace we overcome? Without proof, our story lacks validity. Everyone’s story is worth repeating, everyone has a wrinkle or two, a scar on their palm, a crooked finger. So take off your gloves and tell your story, what evidence do your hands show?