French Ink on Skin

His muscular hands have always been beautiful to me.

In my first year of college, we were just getting to know each other, and learning to trust. Love was a fledgling word, afraid to be voiced aloud. It shimmered instead through our eyes, wonderingly. We determined that once said, it should mean commitment –not a word to be bantered with.

So the word grew inside.

We conversed for hours, a group of us on the third floor student center. People wandered away, left for their dorm rooms, and still he and I talked.

My third culture kid heart still dreamt in French, missed the Alps, and reminisced about West African food. He was from Duluth – with stories of blizzard snowstorms hiding cars for three days, and frost capable of freezing your eyelashes shut.

We spoke of futures, wondering if they would meld, and I sketched French phrases on his hand. “Suis-je la tienne? Es-tu le mien?” (Am I yours? Are you mine?) French ink asking the questions I wondered. Could someone really love and commit to someone else for life? Was it safe to trust and hope?

These penned phrases came to mind again recently when I read some verses in Isaiah.

One will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’… still another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s.’

Later, God vows, …I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Study notes say that the word “engraved” here means “carved into.” The Creator has carved our names onto his hands.

The rolled parchment of Isaiah was written in the 700s BC. Jump ahead three hundred years later to a carpenter with strong, calloused hands striding along cobbled Roman roads. In a room crowded with people and a table spread with Middle Eastern fare, he laid his hands wide. “See the carvings in my hand?” he asked. Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.

I belong to Him. It’s written on my hand, and carved into His.

And the college man? He types here beside me, and together we learn daily how to love each other like our Creator loves us.

What about you? What helps you remember whose you are? What have you been reading or pondering lately?

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  1. Sheryl on December 30, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Beautiful! I love the way you sent him scrambling for a French-English dictionary that probably wasn't helpful. 🙂

    Hebrews 6:10 has been the verse I've been clinging to lately.

  2. Jennifer Dougan on December 30, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Hi Sheryl,

    Yes, we taught each other a few phrases. He taught me a German line or two.

    Thanks for sharing your verse. Do you like Galatians 6:9 then too?

    A bientot,

  3. Jennifer Dougan on December 30, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. tandemingtroll on December 31, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    The first time I read the passage in Isaiah about being carved in God's hands, it was on a little porcelein figure given of a little girl leaning into a hand. It was given to me for the birth of my daughter. It is the verse I love most that I had the most difficulty finding, until I wrote it on the inside of a couple of Bibles. My life verse is Hebrews 12: 1-2, and I keep emphasizing verse 2 when I feel discouraged.

  5. Jennifer Dougan on December 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm


    It's a tender, powerful verses, isn't it? How old is your daughter now? I write special verses to me on the inside of my Bible cover too.

    "For the joy set before him…" –Good verse too. Thank you.


  6. cabinart on January 3, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    My goodness, Jennifer! Who wouldn't miss the Alps, who wouldn't long for some of the sights, the food, the events of your very rich upbringing?? Your guy must be pretty doggone special to have convinced you to hang around with him forever!

    And, despite many readings through of the Bible, I never noticed the part about being engraved on God's hands.

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