Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up!

What a great morning to write! My kids are out of school and still tucked cozily in their beds. I woke up to a glorious view – a winter wonder land. The snow has gracefully landed on every limb of every branch in the woods. It’s as if the trees are holding their arms up to heaven and they speak together “GLORY!”

I just happened to open my Bible this morning and Psalm 8:1-3 “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers…what is man that you are mindful of him,… that you care for him? But you made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” To believe that God created us with more glory than the covering of the freshly fallen snow; I’m still trying to grasp this truth.

The weather forecasters’ triple threat of rain, sleet, and snow hit North Carolina last weekend, leaving this entire week to be an interesting one. My kids were out of school every day except Thursday this week. The kids were able to get some sledding in with their dad. However, I stayed back; I was scolded by my doctor for shoveling a little snow off my back deck, so I assumed sledding was out of the question!

During our “free” time, my youngest daughter had a few extra days to finish her 5th grade science project. Her title was “Thumbs Up! Are Fingerprints Inherited?” After doing a little research, we were amazed to learn more about our unique epidermis.

We discovered during a woman’s pregnancy, weeks 10 through 12 of gestation ridges are formed on the fingertips of the epidermis, which is your outer layer of skin. This pattern of ridges is your unique, static fingerprint. There is none other like yours on earth! The pattern never changes other than in proportion to the body’s growth. Therefore, the fingerprint is a consistent form of identification. Police use fingerprints to discover if a particular individual has been at a crime scene.

We learned there are three general categories of fingerprints – the loop, whorl, and arch; although the exact number, shape, and spacing of the ridges can vary from person to person. The loop pattern has ridges that enter from either side, re-curve and exit out the same or other side. (This is what I have). The whorl pattern has ridges that are usually circular. And the arch pattern has ridges that enter one side, make a rise in the center, and exit on the opposite side.

My daughter compared fingerprints from siblings and their parents, versus pairs of unrelated individuals to figure out whether fingerprint patterns are genetic or random. Since our bodies are made up of DNA and we do inherit traits like eye-color, hair color, right or left hand domination, my daughter concluded “Yes” that we are more likely to share the same genetic patterns.

When my kids were toddlers, well, actually I still say it to my rowdy teens, “Hands are for helping, not hurting.” If we take a moment and think about Jesus’ hands – his fingerprints, I am reminded of the story of the woman caught in adultery. After the Pharisees caught her in the act of adultery, they brought her to Jesus and told him the consequences for such an act was stoning to death. “But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” People have speculated that Jesus was writing the personal sins of the Pharisees in the dust, but no one knows for sure.

As the men slowly started to walk away, Jesus continues to write on the dust. Jesus’ actions removed their judgment like the very dust and sins written caught by the wind. There was no one left to condemn her, and neither did Jesus. He exhorted her to go and leave her life of sin. We see the fingertip of God being used to set this sinful woman free – free from physical and spiritual death.

Yesterday, I read a newsletter. It happened to say, “Fingerprints. Take a minute to think of those who have left their mark on your life.” Who has left their fingerprints on your life? Perhaps the fingerprint of your parents who sacrificed their time and energy to raise you, work, and put you through college. Or maybe you had a teacher or a coach who believed in your potential and pushed you to be more than you thought you could be. Or maybe the imprints in your life are from a friend who stood beside you through a hard divorce – or a pastor who came to pray for you in the hospital.

Think back through your life of all the fingerprint impressions God has used to encourage you, love, build you up, and protect you in Him. May we in-turn leave the imprints of Jesus on everyone we meet. The fingerprints of Jesus have been impressed upon me through your love, support, notes, prayers, and calls – thank you! There have been many times during this “winter wait” that I wonder if it will ever end. But then I think of all of you praying – some of you I have never met face to face, some of you ever so briefly. But the comfort comes knowing so many loved ones are praying for us – praying us through this time of testing, and I am touched by the hand of God. We live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

My daughter’s hypothesis was correct. Her project concluded that our fingerprint patterns are genetic and closely resemble those of our own family. Do your prints show your true id? Are you leaving the imprints of a child of God on those around you? You may never know the impressions you left on someone – a handshake with a smile on someone else’s bad day, or a card written with love and received in the darkness of soul, a gentle touch on the shoulder to affirm a friendship, or a listening ear over some coffee. All you have to do is open your heart and your hands, and ask God to use you to bless others and He will. And someone might notice the fingertip of God through you.

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