Emily Shafer Photography | A Year of Thanksgiving: A Handy Reminder

A Year of Thanksgiving: A Handy Reminder

February 28, 2017  •  1 Comment

When my older brother was a little boy (about 3 or 4 years old) a conversation happened between him and my Papaw that would circulate throughout my family for years to come. I would imagine it was a hot summer day on our grandparents iconic front porch, and the sound of cicadas were echoing through the humid, muggy air. Papaw was probably sitting in his usual white wicker chair placed in the shaded cool corner, and that is where you would have found Jameson, sitting on his lap. Papaw looked into Jameson's young, vibrant, eager eyes and said, "Look at your hands." His eyes flashed down as he studied them. "What about them?" he said as his now, curious eyes were looking for answers. Papaw replied, " I want you to look at your hands, and think about all the things you do with them and use them for. You play with hot wheels, and  work with tools and those are good things, but you can also use your hands to steal cookies out of the cookie jar when you have been told not to and that isn't so good. So you see, you can use your hands for good or for bad, and it's up to you to decide how you'll use them. How are you going to use yours, Jameson?" My brother replied, "Good!" and to this day he has.

Thankfully my dad must have been lurking around the corner that day, and heard that conversation. He used it on me a few years ago. I was wrestling with how to apply photography in my life and becoming overwhelmed with life's choices. I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to do. I remember it so well, he looked at me and said, "Emily, look at your hands." I listened but my eyes didn't drop down to actually look them over, I knew what hands were and what they looked like. He told me again, "Emily, look at your hands." I suddenly noticed this was an important thing to do. My eyes dropped down to my hands that were neatly folded in my lap. "What about them?" I responded. "Think of all the things you do with your hands." My mind drifted as I thought about brushing my teeth, eating, and other normal things you use your hands for. "Okay," I said. "Now realize the decision you have, you can use them for good or for bad. How will you use your hands for good?" 

Romans 12:6

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly.

When I heard that story, and looked down at my hands, I realized I wanted to use mine for good. With that mentality I picked up my camera and had a feeling of responsibility to use photography in an honorable, God-pleasing way. That's why this month I am thankful to God for my hands. They serve as a "handy reminder" to use my talents to glorify God. He has created a plan for each of His followers. In this plan there are different gifts given to different people for different reasons that God placed in each person. Each believer has the Holy Spirit that cultivates ideas and motives that are transformed into actions. Guess what carries out the actions? Your hands. They're a big deal when you think of it like that! There are so many  ways to use your talents and skills for good. Maybe it's cooking a meal for someone you love and using your hands to prepare the food, or it's using your hands to work hard to provide a life for your family. 

Psalm 107:1 

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!"

On top of all of that, God also lets us experience life using our hands. For instance, I think of getting to come home and being greeted by my dog. I get to run my fingers through his soft, furry, sometimes crazy hair and then I'll feel the goopy, wet slobber as he licks my hand. (not all experiences are warm and fuzzy) Or think of your loved one, as they intertwine their fingers with yours, bringing comfort and peace in one sweeping motion. Your hands are able to communicate love and connect you to what brings you joy. 

2 Corinthians 4:6

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Lastly, I am thankful for my hands because they open up the greatest books ever written, the Bible. It has taught me about my Savior, and has brought light into my heart. As I reach for God's Word and feel the smooth, lustrous leather gripped in my hands, I am grateful for the ability to open it. My fingers have become familiar with the feeling of thin, wispy paper. Each flip of the page is airy and light weight, unlike the words printed on it. Every book, chapter, and verse carries weight and meaning to life. My hands are what opens me to new discoveries in God's Word.

So, we have a decision to make. Are we going to do good or bad with our hands? I would say to choose good and use your talents or "hands" to do that! I hope each time you look at them, you will be reminded of your choice, and be encouraged to do your best with them, like it does for me!



Uncle Tim(non-registered)
Very nice post, Emily! You could also add Psalm 90 (my favorite psalm) verse 17 to this great list you have!
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