(This post is the first in a series called Lynnie’s Lessons—a testimony of how God’s faithfulness and instruction for me came full circle.)
Twenty-three years ago, she handed me a piece of clay.
I asked an Old World Santa artist to teach me how to sculpt faces in polymer clay. I went to her house, and she showed me a bit of her technique, how to bake and cure the clay and to form tiny balls for eyes. She smiled and handed me a ball of clay and sent me on my way with the idea that doing (creating) on your own is sometimes the best first instructor. I think she was right.
One night after my girls went to sleep, I sat in the dim light of my living room, hunched over and focused on that formless piece of clay. I used a toothpick and my fingers; those were the only tools I had. The malleable clay was soft and warm and felt in some strange sense alive. From the ministrations of my fingers, a nose, mouth, and ears took shape. Then I set the eyes into the sockets and worked the clay flesh around them. A face emerged. I held it in my hand, careful to avoid pressing my fingerprints into the newly rounded cheeks. I hadn’t baked the formed clay yet, so anything could mar or ruin the fresh sculpt.
I couldn’t sit still; I slipped out the door into the night—the sky was lit with stars, pinpoints of light winking at me. The memories are crystal clear. The air was still and hushed, and our yard seemed enormous. The stars and moon gave enough light to see the little face cupped in my hand. Tears ran hot down my face in the cold air. Prayer welled up and pushed through my throat. I was experiencing something that I would later recognize and understand as intimacy.
But over two decades ago, on that cold winter’s night, I was overcome by Creator God. I am not sure how long I stood in the lowlight of the stars; I don’t recall how long prayer moved out of me like breath. I don’t remember the words, except thank you. I remember the flood of gratitude for Him giving me a medium to express what I held inside my walls. And something happened in that space. It became sacred because He was Present, and I believe it was there that I started to understand how to take off my shoes, to stand on holy ground. Those few moments became one of the first experiences of the Spirit inviting me to not only read Scripture but to enter and experience it.
I peered into that clay face, misshapen and lopsided as it was, and I wondered what God Almighty, Creator of the Universe, thought when He looked into the adam’s face. When God bent down over His sculpted likeness, created from the dust of the earth, what did he think? We know the answer to that question.
God said it was good; it was very good.