"Here mommy, just for you. I love you," her little eyes seemed to say.
Though taken months ago, for some reason I simply cannot forget this picture. Her smudged face and grimy little hands lifted up to me are etched upon my memory. Looking into her deep blue eyes as she tries to please, makes me want to pick her up, clean her off and just smother her in kisses.
But looking again, it has even deeper meaning for me. For, in many ways, I am the one with the grimy hands. My hands are soiled time and again with worry, anger, disrespect, apathy, laziness... and my attempts to love and please my Father fall so miserably short. Coming before Him, there is no work of my own that could ever merit His favor.
In her book Mimosa, Amy Carmichael shared how the young believing Indian mothers would pray, lifting up their empty shawls and asking simply, "My hands are empty, fill them." And that is the place where I too must come. Emptied of reliance on myself, realizing that my feeble attempts to please, my works, my mothering... are nothing, no, worse than nothing. But believing that "as a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him." (Ps. 103:13 ESV)
Looking up at my Father, He sees past the failures to the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Beyond me, to the beauty of His Son. As I wait for Him, He will cleanse my hands and fill them with His love and mercy and joy.