Amy Lanham

finding beauty in the middle of the mess

Handprints on the Window

When is the last time you waited for something with eager anticipation?

I doubt many of you reading this enjoy spring cleaning, but I’m sure there might be some of you out there that get excited about it. As of this week, spring has officially sprung, and with that brings the need for a few extra tasks around the home. One of the main tasks that usually tops my list is cleaning the windows inside and out. Ugh.

Our front window in the living room is the biggest and tends to get the dirtiest. I sighed as I began to clean off the handprints and fingerprints coated on the inside. Not only was I having to clean the window, but the curtains too. Grubby hands had pulled them back one too many times, and who knows what stains were contained in the fibers.

“I have a 9 and 12-year-old. When in the world will they stop smearing their fingers all over the place?” I wondered as I sprayed the glass cleaner.

Suddenly, as I scrubbed, I felt a powerful nudging in my heart to be grateful for those little prints. First, they are an indication of life inside our home, and more specifically, the life of young people that are growing all too quickly. There will come a day that I will be sad to have immaculate windows. Truly, I will.

Secondly, and a thought that was even a bit more sobering, was that those prints represent anticipation. How did they get there in the first place? They got there from the times my kids ran to the window to see who had arrived at our house. Long minutes spent waiting for friends coming over to play. Standing at attention as they longed for their dad’s truck to pull in the driveway coming home from a business trip. Hoping for the mail truck to arrive (do postal workers realize how much joy they often bring people?). Birthday party days where the boys eagerly awaited family and friends to join us. Hands pressed against the window as one or the other of them waited for grandparents to show up and take them somewhere. I can hear the calls from the living room…”How more minutes, mom?” “When did they say they would be here?”

Over the years, time has been spent at that window watching the garbage truck do its job, awestruck. Watching construction equipment in neighbors’ yards. Gazing at the moon or at a sunset. Observing a snowfall or rainstorm.

I long for that kind of anticipation and wonder in my life. Why do we lose it? Does it slowly fade, or is it there one day and gone the next? What is it in us that disappears that no longer spurs us to place our hands against the glass?

My mind wandered to this topic in relation to my faith. Psalm 130:5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Is this true of you? Could you honestly say this? Sometimes I think I get too complacent in my faith. I need to make known the things that I yearn for to God, then sit back in hopeful expectation. I miss the childlike days of longing.

Think about it. What are some things you anticipate? What do you long for? If that question is hard to answer, maybe, like me, you need to make some adjustments. Call a friend so you can look forward to having dinner or coffee. Plan a get together so you can await your guests. Sign up to volunteer somewhere so you can wake up ready to make a difference in someone’s life. Investing in others can be a great cure for a lack of excitement or purpose. I feel that anticipation on Thursdays when I am getting ready to meet the teen girls that I mentor. Also, on Friday mornings, when I walk in the church where my roomful of young mamas will be and I wonder just how God is going to show up that day to prompt them to make changes in their lives and in their homes. I can picture myself on those days with my face pressed up against the glass.

I love how God can take a moment of frustration and turn it  into something beautiful. Remember, many of the messes we deal with exist because of the beautiful life that surrounds us.


Those fingerprints on the window
Made by sticky hands
Make you shake your head right now
But one day you will understand.
Palms pressed longingly to the glass
Made with an eager heart
Waiting for dreams to be fulfilled
You will miss them when they depart.
As you wipe them away offer praises
For they will disappear by and by
Soften your heart to anticipation
Let it become your soul’s cry.






  1. The wonder of life and our blessings from God never ends!
    Your neighbor’s across the street awaits with anticipation
    and joy every Thursday when we get to see our grandchildren
    get off the bus! Then the excitement our grandson shows
    when he runs over to your house to play with your son, who
    is eagerly waiting at your door, looking out the window you
    mentioned, makes Thursday a special day every week!

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