There it was…tucked quietly at the bottom of her email – inconspicuous and small but powerful in meaning and word.
“We live open-handed lives and seek to spot injustice and despair around us, and we enter into sorrow and pain so that the love, mercy and beauty of Gods reconciling work in Christ can be seen in our lives in hopes that a broken world will see and give praise to God.” – Matt Chandler
As I read the words of this quote, I was immediately struck by the phrase “we live open-handed lives”. For days I had been struggling with feeling broken, sad and lonely. While I was struggling, I had concocted this whole illustration for my life and who I was.
The day before I stood before a colleague at work saying, “I live my life with open hands. I hold all the people in my life in my outstretched, open hands. I don’t let people in. I don’t hold onto people. When people hurt me – well it’s expected. So many people, so many churches, so many so called friends have let me down over and over that I hold everyone away from myself. I don’t have friends from elementary school or high school or university…why? Well when they let me down or don’t follow up or don’t call or aren’t there for me when I need them I turn hands upside down (palms facing down) and let go of them. I have a couple of really close friends, I hold them closer but most people in my life are out here (I showed her my outstretched hands).”
But as I sat there reading the quote at the bottom of my sister's email I was hit, like a ton of bricks, with this phrase “open handed lives.” Sometimes God gets our attention in little, inconspicuous ways…well, today he was trying to speak to me.
Tori…Tori…you need to change your perspective on living a life with open hands. Living a life with open hands doesn’t mean holding everyone at a distance, not letting people in, and letting go of people so easily. Living a life with open hands means looking around, beyond yourself to see the people hurting around you. Living your life with open hands means spotting injustice and despair and being apart of the reconciling work that I am doing. Tori… I want you to live an open-handed life in a world of tight-fisted people. I want you to be generous and gracious and loving. You have hope and you should give it to others. I know you are struggling. I know you are in pain and are hurting. I know and I’m with you. Tori my hands are open too. My hands are open reaching out to you – come into my warm embrace and I will strengthen you, I will love you and I will comfort you. My daughter, when you said you were living with open hands you were deceiving yourself. The only way you can let go of friends, people and things is because you were already holding onto them. To truly let go, to truly breath again you must completely let go, release it all to me, open your fingers and receive what I have for you. I have grace, peace, love, patience, comfort overflowing…take and see that I am God. Open your hands to receive and open your hands to bless others. And when you truly do live an open-handed life you bring glory and honour to me and you can bring hope to a broken world.
He calls each of us, no matter where we are…no matter who we are…no matter what we are struggling with to live open-handed lives.
I don’t know about you, but I’m off to add a quote to the bottom of my email. Who knew those things could be so powerful.