When Shelli Netko looked down at her hands, she hated what she saw. Her fingers were too short, her palms too wide, her veins too obvious.
“I always thought they [looked] like dog paws versus a woman’s hands,” Netko, 55, told TODAY. “I always wanted to have hands I was proud of, and made jokes how I was never going to be a hand model.”
However, when the Arizonian received her wedding photos, she had an epiphany.
“It was the first time I thought my hands were something other than what I had thought before,” Netko said. “The photo was absolutely a gift that reminded me that what I perceived as my biggest flaw could be my biggest gift.”
Inspired by what she saw, Netko wrote a moving Facebook post as a tribute to the hands she once hated.
"These hands may not be the smoothest, most graceful, longest, most feminine hands, but they are perfectly suited for God’s work that He’s laid out for me. These hands have been blessed with holding my newborn babies and grand-babies and holding the father of my children as he took his last breath—God’s perfect plan."
Netko's first husband died more than a decade before her second wedding to her now-husband, Adam Burke. With her new husband, the mother of five has not only added two more to her brood (Adam's children from his first marriage) but also adopted wholeheartedly a new outlook on life.
The hands that once missed out on God's “beautiful hand fairy dust” are now "the hands that had baked about 200 birthday cakes, a truckload of cookies, changed thousands of diapers, wiped away a million crocodile tears, and clapped till they were raw cheering my kids on through every sport."
And more than that, her hands are a reminder of her mom. "I will find a beautiful frame for this picture to remind myself constantly of the love and purpose and duty I have in this life, and to remind myself that I have my mother’s hands—her gift to me."
Netko's journey to love herself—perceived flaws and all—is a powerful message to everyone who suffers from body-confidence issues. Instead of trying to make your hands look younger, you should love yourself as you are. Thank you for sharing, Shelli!
Read Shelli's full post below: