Monday, November 22, 2010


When I was a little girl, I loved to play “jacks.”

I think I loved it for several reasons:

One, it was fun.
Two, it involved strategy and concentration.
Three, it was challenging.

Did I mention it was FUN?!

In case I have any readers who are too young to remember playing “jacks,” here’s a simple explanation –

What you need to play jacks: Set of jacks and ball. Smooth surface to play on.

Object of Jacks: Be the first to go from “onesies” to “tensies.”

Set up the game: Begin by throwing your jacks onto the ground in front of you. Try and make the jacks land not too far apart or too close together.

Playing Jacks: You then throw the ball into the air … pick up one jack … then catch the ball after it bounces one time. Continue picking up the jacks one at a time. When you have collected all the jacks, throw them again and start picking the jacks up two at a time (twosies). When you get to threesies, you have to pick up the three sets of three first, then pick up the left over jack. Continue on until you are at tensies. You can then declare the winner as the first one to tens, or go back down again to onesies.

Your turn continues until you either: miss the ball, fail to pick up the jacks, move a jack, or drop a jack that you have picked up. Your turn is then over and the next person goes.

Doesn’t that bring back memories?

I loved this game.

I can remember a period of time when my dad would play with me after work!!

I would sit at the kitchen table, and ask my mom about a hundred times, “When’s Dad going to be home?” She always answered, “Soon.”

And then, he’d be there. He’d change his clothes, and come back and sit on the floor, and we’d start our epic “Battle of the Jacks.”

Now, I had fun playing with my dad. And I respected the fact that he didn’t pull any punches. He didn’t “let me win.” That was OK by me. I’m a rather competitive little thing – and I didn’t want an easy victory. However, there was one thing that made playing with my dad a little lopsided…

He had BIG hands!

My dad was 6’ 3” tall, and he had hands to match! So, I kept up with him pretty well until about “sixies.” Then, his “basketball player” hands were much better than mine at scooping up all those jacks.

I learned to toss my jacks a little softer – “Oh look, what a coincidence, they’re all bunched together…”

That worked on the one hand – it made it easier to grab larger numbers of jacks. However, it also made it more difficult to NOT touch other jacks.

Very often, my dad and I were “neck and neck.” My little girl hands were dexterous and nimble. His big dad hands were…well, big.

One very blisteringly even-matched game, my dad and I both arrived at “tensies” together. I made my toss – a closely-knit grouping of jacks tumbled out on the kitchen floor.

I tossed the ball, and went to scoop…I JUST MISSED getting that old #10!


Dad’s turn…

He made his toss – those jacks were spread out! I’m thinking, “Ah ha! I just might have another chance here!”

He threw the ball into the air, and BOOM! His giant hand came thundering down and scooped up ALL ten jacks as fast as you could say, “WOW!”

He won.

I didn’t even feel that bad. Because I had seen an amazing feat. I had seen the wonder of big hands at work.

You know, our Heavenly Father has big hands, too.

And they are AMAZING when they’re at work. They form galaxies, and stars, and planets. They hold the earth in its orbit, the moon in its cycle. They contain the Sun. They govern the tides and the winds. They tell the ocean where to stop. They create towering mountains, and move glaciers. They rule over continents.

“…God made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding, he stretched out the heavens. When he speaks in the thunder, the heavens roar with rain. He causes the clouds to rise over the earth. He sends the lightning with the rain and releases the wind from his storehouses…He is the Creator of everything that exists.”
(Jeremiah 10:12-13, 16)

He’s got the whole world in His hands…

…and He’s got you and me.

“The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him…”
(Ezra 8:22 NIV)

Are you looking to Him?

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”


  1. What a wonderful, wonderful one.
    I think I loved it even more because one of the main things I think about when I remember my dad was his big, huge, hands. In fact, I'm picturing them in my head right now.

    He could crack a walnut in one bare hand.

    I loved the way you took that picture that many/most folks can conjure in their heads and turned it around to our HEAVENLY father whose hands make my dad's hands look microscopic by comparison.

    He's got you and me sister, in his hands...

    For reasons left unyakked, I needed to sing that specific line this morning.

  2. Sharon - I loved this post. I remember playing jacks - loved it. My mom often played with me. I often would play dominos with my Dad. There is a country music song that was popular in the 1980s called "Daddy's Hands". One of the lines is "there was always love in Daddy's hands." I still can't listen to it and think of my father without crying. Such love in those hands. And too is love in our Heavenly Father's hands.

    Blessings and joy,

  3. loved jacks too! in fact I played them up through high school (LOL). They were fun! Makes you wonder if any little ones still play them these days?

    How neat that your dad played jacks with you too! And it seems like he actually enjoyed it! What a special time and memories it must be for you!!

    I am so glad that Our Father has the whole world in his hands!! It is very comforting indeed to know that!!

    Have a wonderful Monday!


  4. Hi Sharon,

    I loved reading this captured memory of a father and daughter. "God made the earth by His power..."

    In a way, we're like those jacks; whether we're bunched together or spread apart, God has the capacity to take us all in His loving hand.

    Blessings and peace.


  5. Sharon,
    Great story! I loved recalling how we played Jacks! I think I even played them with my oldest son. And my Mom used to play with me.

    You have a great gift for stirring up memories and hooking the reader before delivering the devotional tie-in. I really enjoy reading your posts! Say, "Hi" to Marty from Chip. And all of you have a Blessed Thanksgiving.


  6. Sharon, I do remember seeing jacks but not really doing much with them. It's amazing to think that the same big hands that formed the world created me and has mapped out a plan for my life.

  7. Hi Sharon -

    Thank you for this trip down memory lane. Yes, I remember jacks and I loved the game, as well.
    I remember you could get them all in one color and also in assorted color sets. While we are at it...remember the bat and ball (bat/board toy with ball attached by elastic?)

    That was great that your dad played with you.

    And yes, indeedy, it is so comforting to know that our Lord has most high hands. It is such a pleasure to know that He has us through all.
    What a consolation and sure assurance.

  8. Debbie - How wonderful that this brought back memories of your dad, too. (The walnut-cracking is really impressive!) We are so very blessed that our awesome God has big hands - but that He holds us gently, tenderly, softly. (Sent you an email - when you get a chance!)

    Joan - I remember that song. It had really good lyrics. Yes, the love in our Heavenly Father's hands - there's nothing more comforting, nothing more safe, nothing better.

    Betty - I'm not thinking kids play "jacks" anymore - I have a feeling it's probably because of the "choking hazard" or because they're dangerous (poking the eye out thing!) Liability ruins all our fun, huh?! Oh yes, what a comfort - the Lord holds EVERYTHING together!

    MTJ - Oh my! I LOVED the idea that WE are the jacks! You made such a wonderful illustration with that idea! Thanks for sharing your insight. I continue to be overwhelmed each and every day, that the same God who created the world, loves and cares about me. Awesome, indeed!

    Janis - Thanks for your very kind comments. Mutual admiration here - because I love your writing style, too. I trust that Chip is healing up well - Marty sends his "Harumph!" My best to you and your family for a wonderful Thanksgiving, too.

    Wanda - I like how you said that God's hands also map out our lives. I have this image of Him bent over a drafting board, painstakingly drawing a detailed map of every moment of my life. The attention to detail, the care taken to pencil in the mountains and valleys, the love that will also lead me as I travel His pathways...what a wondrous Father we have!

    Sandra - I remember the two different kinds of jacks, too! And yes, I also remember that bat/board toy. My dad and I used to have contests with that, too. Who could do the most in a row. I got pretty good at it - but he was a master! Yes, indeedy, what a comfort, what a pleasure, what a consolation, what a sure assurance! A loving God, who holds His own children tightly, through it ALL.

    Friends, today in my one-year Bible reading, this was from 1 Peter 1 - I think it's apropos to today's post:

    "God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy...It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance...And through your faith, GOD IS PROTECTING YOU by His POWER until you receive this salvation."

    Praise Him for the protection of His hands!

    AMEN...and GOD BLESS!

  9. I love that story and of course for me I relate it to God the Father and I think how awesome his big hands are and how wonderful it is that He can save us with them.


  10. Sandie - The wonder of His salvation! The hands of a BIG God who saves us! Is there anything better??? Glad you liked the story...

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!



"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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