Fast forward sixty sculpted dolls and over a decade later.
In this new and unexpected season, my husband and I created commissioned art dolls and projects together (see The Three Wise Men below). Working side by side in our art space is therapeutic for us. Sometimes we work in silence, and other times we exchange ideas about the challenges of life and the Word and what recipe we want to try next.
So several years ago, when I had an idea, my husband was not surprised. I envisioned a dollhouse as a centerpiece for our Christmas open house. I found my nameless little clay doll during a house clutter purging, and I decided she needed a name and a home.
My oldest daughter is a writer—a profoundly powerful one. During her teenage years, she wrote a series of novellas about a small kingdom called Lynleigh’s Gate. Because her beautifully crafted stories inspired my art, I registered my business as Lynleigh’s Gate. My little doll became Lynleigh, Lynnie for short.
That Christmas, Lynnie stood in all her hobbit-like glory in the makeshift house my husband and I built. After the open house, we started planning an elaborate home for Lynnie (my husband graciously dreams with me). The journey began with one tree growing into a two and a half feet tall house. I learned to make tree bark from tinfoil, masking tape, clay, and paint from a YouTube artist named Sharon Ojala. The blueprint and theme of the “house” changed several times. It is now three structures that barely fit on a 3’ x 6’ piece of plywood.
I worked on this art project when my mind and soul were too full or chaotic. The concentration zoned me to a place of focus and made space for the whirlwind of thoughts to recede. When I built the bottom floor, I worked a basket crib into the wall to cradle a tiny fairy baby. The basket was lovely, but we dismissed the fairy theme since Lynnie isn’t a fairy. But to remove the cradle basket meant I needed to tear it out of the wall.
Every time I tried to arrange the room, which was now a scribe’s study, the wall basket was in the way. For months, I ignored it—like the elephant in the room. The thought of yanking the basket out of the wall caused me to shudder. What if I ruined the whole bottom floor of the dollhouse? What if I couldn’t repair it? My husband’s standard question when trying to make decisions like this is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Hah!
The Holy Spirit teaches me with the Word through visuals. Before I hear the Word, I see the picture. The Spirit hovered and stirred in me, whispering an invitation of renovation. He offered quiet encouragement to slough off residual debris from this two-year season of Covid and unrest, to remove things just taking up space in my soul. Often, there is too much extra in the way, sometimes even lovely things. But I resisted the whispering and ducked my head away from the hovering.
Recently, I walked past the dollhouse and examined that basket cradle. I gazed at the scribe’s desk that I built because that is where my passion is—copying and praying the Word onto and into souls.
I felt the wind from the Spirit’s hovering. I turned to my husband’s toolbox and pulled out his metal cutters, and I leaned into the dollhouse and cut the basket right out of the wall. My hands trembled, but the sharp-edged tool did its job. The basket fell, and I pulled the rest of it out of the wall. I ran my fingers along the rough edges of the hole—a hole that reached deep. I swiveled around, picked up my scribe’s desk, and placed it in the room. It fit!
I examined the hole and realized it could be repaired with effort and work, but the room could now hold the dearer thing.
The Spirit’s whisper blew across my ear again, the volume increased—He had my attention now. I ducked back under His hovering and tucked my head under the shadow of His wing. And there I sang for joy as He removed and cut away things no longer needed, requiring too much energy, and rooted in fear—making room for dearer things.