I remember being a young mother, and a close family friend had lost their infant son to SIDS. I soon found myself sitting in the upstairs room at the mortuary with their sweet family. Watching this mother cradle the body of her little one, as molds were made of his hand in hers---their hands testified to me that families are forever, a testimony I would need, at a much later time, as families change. Some years later, I sat in a hospital room, holding the hand of a little 3 year old friend who had just suffered a near drowning accident hours prior. Her eyes were closed, her body seemed limp and lifeless, yet her spirit, so big and strong, filled the room. The shock of this event robbed me of any spoken words, I took her hand in mine, and began to sing If The Savior Stood Beside Me. With every word and note, I not only knew the Savior would stay by this sweet toddler's side, but that He would be my side, as families change.
The morning after my husband left, a loving Relief Society president walked up the driveway, with her hands outstretched to me. Her hands signified only the beginning of lifting, loving, serving, feeding, comforting and inspiring. Her helping hands, along with many others, carried me through much of my journey of family change. Such hands motivated me to use my weak and feeble, hurt and tired hands to help others, in an attempt to capture the powerful spirit of helping hands, which fills both the giver and the receiver.
A few weeks after finding myself a single parent, the feelings of hurt and abandonment took over my heart. I had just made it through another day, though the dinner dishes still covered the kitchen counter. I could feel the loneliness, hurt, anger and sorrow filling my soul, so I quickly slipped away to my room, and quietly crumbled in the bottom of my walk-in closet and just began to sob. I was not sure how I would make it another day. It all hurt too much, seemed too hard and just so unfair!! Then, I turned my head to find my teenage daughter standing in my closet. She reached out and took my hand in hers, and lifting me to my feet she said, "Mom, let's go to the temple!" With her hands, she wiped my tears, picked out the perfect dress and even zipped my boots and buttoned my coat. I don't remember a lot about the temple that night, but I will never forget the hands that lifted me and brought me there. The hands of my children have continued to be a strength and motivation as I walk through the refiner's fire, climb the mountain of divorce ----- in hopes of coming through this family change, bigger, better, stronger..............with the hopes of using my hands to help, lift and inspire others, as their families change.
I can often be seen riding a bike, put together by the hands of my daughter and son-in-law for a Mother's Day surprise. Every time I ride it, I think of them. I remember the day, hand in hand, they began their eternal family. I see the fun they have together, the support they are to one another and the incredible love I feel from them and for them. Their hands have inspired me to want to have a hand in mine again! Their hands have helped me see beyond the hurt, fear and betrayal, and to open my heart again. And, his hand fits in mine perfectly!!!
As families change, it is easy to throw our hands in the air in frustration and fear, doubt and anger. Or, to put our hands in our pockets and just give up. As families change, may we remember to put our hands together in prayer and allow that higher power to lift us out of darkness. As families change, may we welcome those who have been sent by Him, to be His hands, through support, love and service. Remembering His hands, the prints of nails in our behalf, the ultimate gift of love and service---all so that we do not have to feel the pain and suffering of family change------ as He already has!! Through His hands, the price has been paid-------He does make up the difference!!! "Go into the darkness-----and put your hand in the hand of God." Loving hands. Lifting hands. His hands. Unseen Hands!!