The tears didn’t start when she thanked the women of our church for sending oodles of hand creams and girly items to the Alaska Women’s Conference.
When she told us how the Alaskan women were amazed that we cared enough to send lotions to strangers, the tears still didn’t come. They stayed bottled up in my tear ducts, even when she told us about the women in Nome who met Jesus for the first time, and who are finally living free of their past. Generational abuse, alcoholism and suicide run rampant in Alaska. But these women chose the freedom of Christ over the prison of their environment, backgrounds and circumstances.
They finally, slowly dripped down my checks when she told us about Mrs. Francis, a half white/half native 83 year old that she met in the Nome nursing home. She had been massaging Mrs. Francis’ legs, hands and face with the lotion we sent, listening to her stories of triumph and pain, and reading Mrs. Francis’ favorite scripture for her.
Silent, racking sobs shook my body when she said this: We wanted to go to the nursing home and sit with the ladies, listen to their stories and pray with them. We wanted to massage their hands, if they would allow us. Because there is such power in physical touch. It makes such a difference. And we all need that gentle, physical touch, don’t we?
Memories came flooding back. Mama in the hospital, after her stroke. She couldn’t speak or move her right side. But the expression in her deep blue eyes told us everything. Many times she would throw her left foot out from under the heavy hospital blanket, her brow furrowing in pain…or was it fear?
I asked if she wanted me to rub her feet with her favorite peppermint lotion. Mama’s eyes softened as she nodded “Yes.” I rubbed and massaged the lotion up and down her legs, gently moving her stiff right leg. She couldn’t say anything, but the quiet “ahhhhhhh” that came out of her mouth let me know she was enjoying the soft kneading of her muscles. Her frown line relaxed.
My love for her flowed through the lotion on my hands. That physical touch had to communicate my feelings to her. Mama couldn’t speak because of the stroke; I couldn’t speak because the lump in my throat wouldn’t allow words to pass.
I always wondered if that small act of service had made a difference in my Mama’s last days. After hearing the story of Mrs. Francis, I knew God was telling me that yes, it had. Anytime you are the hands and feet of Jesus, it makes a difference.
I think I might make it to Nome one January for the AK Missions Women’s Conference. Because a loving touch from caring hands is powerful. Because the forgotten women in America’s last frontier deserve a little pampering. They deserve to have someone listen to their stories of triumph through unspeakable pain. Their stories of living free in Christ deserve to be told. Any of you bloggers and writer’s want to join me? Instead of Compassion Bloggers, we could be Alaskan Bloggers!
“Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” 1 John 3:18 (TLB)
Until next week,
Linking up with these lovely writers:
Suzie Eller, Live Free Thursday
Susan at Dance with Jesus
Barbie at The Weekend Brew
Kelly at Purposeful Faith
Holly at Testimony Tuesday
Holley at Coffee for Your Heart
Jennifer at Tell His Story
Lisa H. says
Ellen, what a beautiful post, and what a beautiful reminder that it isn’t just the grand gestures that let us show Jesus’ love to others. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for stopping by Lisa! Yes, sometimes it’s the little things, isn’t it?
Christine Duncan says
What a glorious testimony to what a loving touch can accomplish for the kingdom! Requires us to be obedient and to reach out. But what a gift we give when we do.
So glad to have visited from #livefreeThursday!
SO true Christine! When we step out in obedience, blessing abound! Thank you so much for stopping by!
Suzie Eller says
Oh, Ellen, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
Suzie, thank YOU – four pouring into me via Compel and She Speaks! Thank you for helping to equip me so that the words bottled up in my heart and my head are free to flow out, so that others will know all that God can do with just ordinary women…who step out in faith and obedience. And…by the way…you want to go to Nome in January?!?!
Hi Ellen! What a gift you gave to your mother, and now you know how important that gift was. I was so touched by your tears and memory of her after the stroke…what pictures must still be in your mind of those days…
I think it’s wonderful work that is being done for the women of Alaska, and that you want to join them is a testimony to how much that witness sunk into your soul.
May God bless you for the comfort you were to your Mom, and the comfort you will be to those lucky women that you will meet.
Hello Ceil! Thank you for your kind comments! You know, my first thought is, you should be all mended up by January 2016 – want to go to Alaska??
Kim Stewart says
Oh my, Ellen, what beautiful words you are writing today! “Because a loving touch from caring hands is powerful.” Yes indeed, I can relate with a MIL who passed away 2 years ago from cancer, and a sweet grandmother-in-law who just turned 97 in a nursing home. What loving touches did/continue to do for both of them is so wonderful. Love ya, have a great day! #livefree
Hey there Kim! Yes, a simple touch can do so much! My FIL was 97 when he passed away a few years ago – still had spunk in him right up to the end! Thanks so much for stopping by! #livefree!!
Ellen, thank you for sharing this! I had no idea there was such an intense need among the women of Alaska. I will be praying for these women, and also for you and your potential mission trip.
Thank you for praying for the Alaskan women Kristine! Very much needed an appreciated! Hey, don’t you want to go to Nome? Alaskan Bloggers…
Sheila Kimball says
This is so beautiful, Ellen. And so timely. Just last night a very dear friend of mine (my sisters mom in law) died at 89 a week after having a massive stroke that left her virtually unresponsive in ICU. And just the week before we had seen her at lunch and her looking as usual vibrant, bubbly, smiling. Life is such a vapor, isn’t it? We got to visit with her Tuesday at the hospital, my husband reading her scripture, me with my hand on her arm and bending close to whisper “I love you” one last time. And then letting her go to #DanceWithJesus. Thanks for letting me share, Ellen. God bless you.
Oh, Sheila, I’m so very sorry about your friends MIL. That’s a hard thing. What a blessing that you were able to visit with her and read scriptures and tell her you loved her! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story! May I pray with you and your friend? Lord, You are the God of all Comfort. Father, wrap your loving arms around Sheila’s friend and comfort her. Comfort all those who knew her mother in law. God, we praise you that she is now free from pain and in Your arms! In Jesus powerful name, Amen
Carmen Horne says
Just beautiful friend. You didn’t tell, you showed in this post.
I’m so glad God sent you a little love pat. He wanted you to know how much your mom loved and appreciated you. <3
Hello, friend! Still working on showing vs telling! Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you so much!
Kathryn Shirey says
just beautiful! What a powerful testimony of the power of touch and being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Thank you Kathryn! It’s amazing the simple things we can do to show the love of Christ! Thank you for stopping by!
This is beautiful, Ellen. Gosh, I could even feel the lotion and the pure joy of the ladies receiving the benefit of touch. What a beautiful way to spread the fragrance of Christ.
Hi Kristi! Yes, the ladies of Alaska deserve a little pampering! And you are right! It’s a beautiful way to spread the fragrance of Christ Thank you for your kind comments and for visiting!
Father, please use me always to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I want to make a difference!
Ellen, what a beautiful story of compassion. How your mama must have appreciated your touch at that time. I know it meant a lot to you to be able to ease her pain a bit. May we all be more aware of how our touch can be a healing balm to others. Thank you for sharing.
Gayle, thank you for your kind comment! I appreciate you stopping by!
Kelly Balarie says
Ellen, what an honor we get to be the hands of feet of Jesus. I just pray that the Lord expands our opportunity to do this. He calls us to so much more. I love your story. You pull heart strings. Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup. 😉
Thank you my friend! You are such an encouragement to me!