In the Beginning...
of His Hands Puppets

Though we’ve always been called the His Hands Puppets team it took awhile for the name to settle on us. In the beginning we were just a group of eight ladies who like to burn up the road doing puppet shows. Although we had two sets of mother/daughter puppeteers, with the daughters being grade school age, most of us were....umhhh...older. Among the “older” members there were several that directed youth puppet teams of their own. To distinguish between these youth teams and ours we affectionately tagged ourselves “the old lady team”.

I had been making and selling puppets for about two years before we began our traveling team venture and had already named my business His Hands Puppets, so there was never any other choice for our “old lady team” except the name His Hands Puppets. 

My hands are essential in this puppet ministry I’ve created, both in the manufacturing of a puppet and in the manipulation of one behind the stage. Thus devotions that have a focal point involving the hands draw me in. This one is an excerpt from The Daily Walk Bible NIV.

 Imagine taking a handful of mud and coating your hands thoroughly. Now answer a series of questions.

  1.  What would it take to get your hands clean enough to do work in the garage? (No, problem. Just wipe them on a towel, and that should do the trick)
  2. What would it take to get your hands clean enough to be allowed at the dinner table? (Soap and water might be needed there!)
  3. What would it take to get your hands clean enough to put on your best white shirt or blouse without soiling it? (Lots of soap and hot water!)
  4. What would it take to get your hands clean enough to do abdominal surgery? (Soap, water, a strong disinfectant, and lots of scrubbing time.)
  5. What would it take to get your hands clean enough for God to allow you into heaven? (As one little boy was heard to exclaim: “You mean only people with clean hands get into heaven? Then I’m a goner!”)

         Psalm 24:3-4 has something to say about clean hands.

     Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His Holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

 ...God, who is holy, cannot tolerate the presence of that which is unholy or defiled. So how is it possible for imperfect people to get to heaven? If no soap on earth can rid the stain of sin, what hope is there for any of us? Answer: none at all....apart from the cleansing work of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. What no soap, disinfectant, or miracle detergent could do for our sinful condition, Jesus accomplished by His death, burial, and resurrection. 

“Have you washed your hands?” Mothers tend to ask questions like that a lot. “Do you have clean hands and a pure heart?” The Father in heaven will one day ask you. If you’re not sure what answer you would give, make Hebrews 10:5-7 your meditation today.

          "Sacrifice and offerings you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt       offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, “Here I am – it is written about me in the scroll- I have come to do your will, O God.”  - Hebrews 10:5-7

I chose the name His Hands Puppets after I had made my very first puppet, Ace. I really hadn’t had much experience with puppets or puppetry at the time. But along with a few other learned skills (those are a different devotional) I did know how to sew. I had my initiation into sewing when I joined the Golden Valley 4-H Club. I still have the first apron I ever made and memories of going to Mrs. Wing’s for sewing meetings.  The stairs to her basement sewing room seemed like a long dark tunnel of doom until you reached the bottom stair and saw girls of all ages around a long table with sewing projects in hand. By the time I entered the door of eighth grade home economics class, I was an expert seamstress. Or so I thought! I don’t know what it is about junior high age know-it-all kids, but I was one! Mrs. Guerrant was not the least impressed with my smart rip-snort answers on a basic sewing skills quiz. While I didn’t take home economics in high school, by my junior year I loved to sew gifts for people. I made some of my own clothes as well, but loved to sew shirts for my dad and a very memorable western shirt complete with a bronc rider motif on the back for my little brother, Richie.

After I married I made shirts for my husband and after my daughters were born I made clothes for them. To this day they continue to harass me about all the matching Easter dresses I forced them to wear, especially the ones with the lace doilies (Yes, I also crochet) around the neck. Then life circled around and I became a sewing leader when my daughters joined 4-H. I hope none of those girls who came felt the long dark tunnel of doom coming to my home to sew.

So when I finished Ace I was confident about the craftsmanship but rather oblivious about the actual functionality of the puppet. With some trepidation I presented Ace for inspection to my daughter’s puppet team leader, a woman with several years of puppetry experience behind her and a master puppeteer. I fully expected to return home with Ace and begin the process of actually making him useable. Instead, I found myself sitting in my sewing room just staring at my hands wondering how I had made something so functional that an expert puppeteer wanted to know if I could make some blacklight ones! In somewhat of a panic, I began to go over the steps I had gone through to make Ace, trying to remember any snafus, ripping out of seams, reworking of pieces or other frustrations along the way. I’d had a pattern with directions of course, but when I sew there is always something that needs to be redone, readjusted, or ripped out and re-sewn and I had written nothing down, no notes in the margins of the pattern directions. In more of a panic, I dumped out the trash, no mangled pieces in the bottom suggesting a re-adjustment had been done. I wasn’t sure I could make another one. I wasn’t sure exactly how I had made this one.

So I sat and stared at my hands. ....And then I saw those hands, my hands, placed on top of a beginning 4-H child’s hands slowly helping to guide a piece of material through an ever so slow sewing machine. And hands were no longer on top. They became the ones on the bottom. I sensed the presence of God leaning over me as I sat at that sewing machine making Ace, His arms skimming my shoulders as He placed His Hands over mine and guided them as they fed the material through the machine.

Yes, my hands are essential, but even more essential are His Hands; God’s hands guiding mine. Sometimes I still get “mud” on my hands. Not every puppet has turned out as easily as Ace. Some do end up as a mangled mess in the bottom of the trash can.  I think God allows those to hone my skills.  But mangled mess or masterpiece I can still say, “Here I am God to do Your Will.”  It is ...... always ...  In His Hands!

"I will praise you as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands." –Psalm 63:4


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