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Blisters and Calluses

Melissa Hedding

Confession time:  Moving to Nicaragua gives me blisters!  Blisters from sweeping the floor so stinking often; blisters from pealing so astoundingly many mangoes... and emotional blisters from adjusting to so many new (and sometimes inconvenient) things!  Does life ever give you blisters like that?  The new baby who cries more than you thought possible; the dream job that turns out to still be a lot of work; the new car that needs to be maintained... I think life gives us all blisters from time to time.

But then, as I tried to find ways to sweep or peal those mangoes without hurting my hands so much, something interesting started to happen.  I didn't give up the tasks by any means but learned to be a bit gentler with myself and did sometimes give the mangoes away or let the dirty floor wait a day for the maid to do.... and those blisters turned into calluses.  Which led me to some surprising life lessons for me:

1. While I don't really like calluses, they're awfully useful!

It might seem nice to have pretty, soft hands my whole life long, but what kind of a life does that testify to?  One of luxury and ease...  but how much usefulness?  I think it's probably better to come to the end of my life with my body used up from usefulness!  There *are* floors to sweep, mangoes to peel, children to raise, jobs to do, cars to maintain and well it comes down to this one: people to serve.  Serving others might not make me comfortable.  But it sanctifies me.  Even Jesus "learned obedience by the things he suffered" (Heb. 5:8).  I guarantee persevering with the hard things that confront me in this life (which right now come from moving to Nicaragua and being a Mama to 3 going on 4 but can come in many forms) is making me a stronger person, a more useful person, and I hope and pray a more Christlike and obedient person.

2.  A blister requires gentle perseverance to change into a callus

Mango helper
Mango helper

When there's a blister on my hand and I need to sweep; it's kind of painful.  I mean, I don't want it to bleed!!  I'm not a fan of pain!  But if I keep sweeping, it will turn into a callus.  "Let us not grow weary of doing good, for we will reap a harvest if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9), right?  But you just ask the mother of a 4 week old if it's easy.  Or ask the man working hard to provide for his family when the bills seems just that much higher than the salary every month.  That's why I love that need for gentle perseverance.  I love that we have a Shepherd who "gently leads those who are with young" (Isa. 40:11).  Seriously, I love that!  Particularly as a pregnant woman, it applies so clearly; but I think it still applies to other weary people.  We must keep on.  He still leads us.  But He's gentle.  Perhaps he slows the pace, lets us take breaks.  Oh, I do have to be careful with not sliding into the love of ease and breaks there, but there is validity to rest at times too.  I think that line requires discernment and if we are truly seeking God on what's appropriate he will let us know.  For me it's often a feeling of "no, you need to go to that event anyway" or "it's OK to stay home this time" in response to prayer.  

So I mostly just want to encourage you that if God's put a blister in your life, be gentle but persistent and keep walking along with Him to see what comes of it.  Maybe a callus does have a beauty to it after all, if it will come with growth and transformation "from glory to glory" in the end.