A few years ago on Mother’s Day, I did the dumbest thing. I wanted the children at church to make a lasting memory for their mothers on that holy day. For years, we’d made the standard handprint sheet that had a poem about fingerprints on the wall. We’d made flowers and refrigerator magnets. But I wanted to do something extra special.
I felt that concrete was the way to go.
I had collected several aluminum pans left over from a church dinner. My plan was to mix as much cement as needed to fill a pan for each child. The children would line up in a wonderfully straight line and place their precious hands in the perfectly mixed concrete. Hands would then be dipped in a bucket of soapy water and we’d be “set”. Mothers would have a “handy” stepping stone to remember their day. It was a brilliant idea!
I mentioned to my husband that I needed some cement for Children’s Church. (He was puzzled.) He asked how much I’d need. “Oh, for about 20 sets of handprints,” was my first answer. When that measurement didn’t suffice, I said, “To fill about 20 aluminum pans.” Obviously, men and women measure in different ways. He said I wasn’t being specific enough. I decided that I needed three bags.
Now that I’d determined the amount of concrete powder necessary, all I needed to do was figure out exactly how long everything should be mixed before making the prints. Children’s Church would start at approximately 11:20. There would be a wonderful Bible Story, snack and then a craft. (The craft had never involved cement before.) The concrete would need to set up to allow for the handprints to take shape. The timing had to be perfect. I called a contractor in our church. He was very helpful.
My dear husband purchased and delivered my three bags of cement. (He mentioned something about a possible hernia.)
Come Sunday morning, I took the wheelbarrow over to the church. I acted like I totally knew what I was doing. I casually asked my beloved how much water I should add as the directions had not been printed on the bag. He laughed. I got a measuring cup.
I started mixing my concoction before Sunday School. To say that I prayed as I mixed is not a joke. I have prayed for God to bless cakes I’ve baked. I have prayed for Him to bless food I’ve made, but I had never prayed for God to bless concrete before that morning. I squirted the water hose—the measuring cup had been thrown to the side–prayed, and squirted and prayed. Passersby were curious. The neighbors were curious, too. I smiled and waved to them all.
Concrete work is exhausting. Just lifting the bag is hard work. I have complete respect for those who work in larger amounts than aluminum pans.
I mixed and squirted. Prayed and squirted. I calmly mixed like I was just making a large cake. I was covered in sweat before Sunday School had even started.
I was also the youth Sunday School teacher at the time. We had class outside, around the wheelbarrow. (Never done that before.) As the Lord stirred our hearts with His Word, we took turns stirring with the hoe.
Miraculously, my craft plans were made “concrete” by the end of church. It was the most anti-climactic craft we’ve ever made. Hours of work took only seconds to complete! The prints and memories were made by all-especially me. (I hadn’t realized how hard it would be for Moms to lug their treasures home!)
This Mother’s Day, you won’t see me out by the road with a wheelbarrow and water hose. I’m back to flowers from construction paper!