By Pam Risser
Hands. Hands have played an important role in my life. Without hands, accomplishing most tasks would be difficult. I am a “doer” and enjoy doing many things, from working in my garden to canning and freezing produce; from baking bread to cooking meals for friends and family; from scrapbooking to knitting, crocheting or other needlework. My hands allow me to hold a book or my Bible, write in a journal or in a card to a friend. I use my hands to hold the hand of a grandchild, to wipe a dirty face, to tussle the hair of a sweet little one or care for our daughter, Amanda.
Which brings me to another reason why hands play an important part in my life. Our daughter, Amanda, who suffers from a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called Rett Syndrome, has no purposeful use of her hands. One of the hallmarks of Rett is hand wringing and hand clasping. It is such a compulsive behavior that it is difficult for someone suffering from Rett to be able to stop the behavior long enough to grasp an object or do something useful with their hands without hand over hand assistance.
For the past 22 years I have had to become Amanda’s hands, doing for her what she cannot do for herself. Sometimes these same hands wipe away tears that fall, grieving over what will never be for her and at other times they are raised in praise to a God who faithfully walks this painful journey with us. I desire for these hands to always remain open in surrender to do whatever God asks of me and to receive whatever blessings and gifts of grace He would have for us.
There are so many ways that those of us with able hands can use them to bless one another. Perhaps it is to use them to make a meal for new parents or someone who is ill. Perhaps it is to knit or crochet a prayer shawl for someone who needs comfort. Perhaps it is to write a note to someone in need of encouragement.
Look at your hands. How does God want to use your hands today to bless someone else? How can you use your hands to administer sister care to someone who needs a touch from God.
With these Hands
(Written by Amanda’s grandmother, Barbra Risser, 3 years after her diagnosis)
With my hands I will bless you
With my words I will teach you
With my voice will I direct
Each step of your way.
With my counsel I will comfort you
With my eye I will protect you
With love my heart surrounds you
Before you go astray.
With my strength I have shaped you
To follow my bidding
With my power I will bless you
In each hard undertaking.
I see the plan for your future
From beginning of hours
You are mine, don’t forget it!
And I want to be yours.
With your hands you are blessing
Other’s hurts along the way
I am guiding, do you trust me
Soon will come a joyful day.
Used by permission from The Burning Bush, Franklin Conference newsletter.