Hands and Hearts

I’ve always been captivated by hands.  They tell so much of a person’s story.  When I was a little girl, I would sit in my grandmother’s lap and study her beautiful hands.  I’ve always wanted to have those hands—dainty, feminine hands with long, perfect fingernails—a lady’s hands. But last night when I looked down at my hands I felt a prick of shame. 

About two and a half years ago I was driving home from church when I noticed that the tip of my right thumb had split.  When I got home, I put a little Neosporin and a Band-Aid on it thinking that in a couple of days, it would be healed.  But it wasn’t. 

A week passed.  Two weeks.  A month.  Six months.  A year.  It didn’t heal.  Soon, other fingers were splitting.  I would have as many as seven fingers bandaged at a time.  The people that make the CVS-brand latex-free bandages were making a mint off of me.  I tried every lotion, ointment, and salve that other people recommended—vitamins A and E, bag balm, udder cream, badger cream, and even Preparation H.  But nothing gave me any relief.  Every time I washed dishes, folded laundry, petted my dog, or worked in the yard, I could expect to bleed for it.

After over a year of suffering, I finally went to the dermatologist who confirmed what I already knew—the psoriasis that I’d had since I was a child had spread.  When I was 11, I was diagnosed with psoriasis, but it wasn’t on my hands at all.  It was on my elbows, my ankles, and my knees—all places that could be easily hidden most of the time.  Throughout my life, I have medicated it, dressed to cover it, and mostly ignored it.  But this time, it was somewhere I absolutely couldn’t hide it.

I joke about my hands.  Yeah, I got in a fist fight with a blender and lost.  Nah, really, it’s just leprosy.  But as much as I joke with others, it’s really not a joke to me.  My soft, pink hands with my carefully tended fingernails became inflamed, then turned scaly, then peeled and cracked.  One of my few delicate, feminine features is gone, replaced with hideous, reptilian hands.  And worst of all, after hundreds of dollars spent on doctors and medicines with very little relief, I’ve found that I can’t do a single thing to fix it.

Isn’t that just like what sin does to our hearts?  Before we sin, our hearts are soft and pink and carefully tended.  As we sin, our hearts become inflamed and infected.  They peel and crack and hurt and bleed.  Soon, our most prized feature is gone and replaced with something ugly and shameful.  We are ashamed and try to hide, but no matter what ointment or Band-Aids or medicines we use, we really can’t do anything about it.

I can’t do anything to fix myself, but Jesus can.  When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection in the Upper Room, He showed them His hands—His hands that bore the scars that set us free and healed us.  Because of the scars on His hands, my sins are forgiven and my heart is healed.  I don’t know what’s going to happen to my hands, but thank God I don’t have to wonder how to heal my heart.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. You make such a good analogy here, between a sinless heart and healthy hands. The worst part is that once the heart is infected and inflamed, we are too ashamed to ask for help in tending it again. We just continue on in the pain and darkness until that “bootstrap” moment where all we have is to look up.

  2. Oh, I am praying right now for your hands to be touched by the Healing Hand!

    love your insight!

  3. WOW Sarah. That is such an awesome post ‘Hands and Hearts’! I loved the whole thing. It’s just great! The analogy of your once pink hands now tearing and in pain and using this to bring light to what also happens to our hearts when we sin…you worded that all so well!

    And your ending is so awesome too! I love how you wrote:

    “I don’t know what’s going to happen to my hands, but thank God I don’t have to wonder how to heal my heart.” Love it!

    At the same time I’m so sorry to hear about your psoriasis and it spreading to an area you are finding hard to keep under control from spreading. My husband has a form of this as well, on his back and shoulders; it itches him constantly and though he’s tried different cremes and various medications prescribed by his doctor he still continues to have the same area of scally (sp) skin on his upper back/shoulders. It’s itchy and rough and bothers him often. I too have something similar but not psoriasis. I have an allergic reaction to fine jewelry. I can’t wear my wedding band continuously because the gold begins to irritate my finger and the surrounding fingers that touch my wedding band become inflamed, red, itchy and burn….so we then exchanged it for ‘white gold’ hoping this would help but it only helps some because eventually the ‘white gold’ color fades to reveal the real karat gold, so I have to get it re-dipped often. I always take my ring off once I leave the house but then put it back on anytime I go out. So I can slightly relate to the inflamation and pain but not nearly to the level you can, which I’m sorry to hear about. I’ll definately be praying for you chica!

    I love what Kimae shares with her insight to this as well. Very good point!

    Woo Hoo…..love your new blog button Sarah! I preferred that one too!
    So glad you have it up and running….now you just need to get that ‘followers’ list goin’! : D

    Yours,
    Sarah

  4. That was great, Sarah. And no need to worry, that doesn’t make you any less than you are. Take it from this old ballplayer who has managed to break every finger on both hands at some point. As long as you can reach out and touch someone, you’re good to go.

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    EVERY FINGER? Gosh, Billy! Something I didn’t mention in the post was that I only have nine and a half fingers… But maybe I’ll hit that topic another day. :-)

  6. Another beautifully written analogy. I too have always found myself drawn to people’s hands. I remember as a child in church with my head laying in my mother’s lap (often sleeping through my dad’s sermons! lol). She would stroke my hair with one hand and the other I could see lying there on her lap. I remember tracing every vein in her hand and thinking how pretty her hands were…still are. Sweet memories.

  7. Sarah, you’re so right about sin. My mom has beautiful hands and I can totally relate. In thinking about your wonderful analogy, it’s amazing how different things in our lives can soil our hearts before Jesus. I’ve noticed that more and more I can’t watch certain movies or TV programs because my spirit is so disturbed and I feel yucky watching them. I’m much more careful about keeping my spirit clean so that I can hear Him and enjoy a relationship with Him.

  8. Barbara says:

    God can and will heal those hands.. You can count on it.. And we know your heart is fixed.. So… there you go..

    Love you,
    B

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