Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
My sabbatical began 10 months ago. It had an alarming beginning. I watched a pastel painting (of which I had put 20 hours plus into it) cascade downward from a table — in painstakingly slow motion. When it plunked onto the tile floor, it ripped apart and I could do nothing to save it. It was so unbelievable that I just stared. I did not cuss. I did not cry. I was numb. At that moment the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob had my complete attention. And I certainly did not know that such moment would impact my life so dramatically.
I have been blessed to know my God’s voice for most of my life. It is not audible, but almost. It is clear and comes to the inner of my right ear. He said, “Your art has become an idol.”
I was devastated. It was true.
These are the ones I look on with favor; those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2
I did not tremble at His word — at all. I barely read it. I had become a greasy-grace, evangelical, Protestant Christian who was satisfied with daily 15-minute microwave scripture meals. Art had become my thing. It was first.
So I said, “It’s yours. My hands are yours” with the caveat written in small print that my offering was good for a year. (My God can deal with small-sized faith and fear.)
Assignment number one: A mosaic menorah. What? Are you kidding me? I don’t even know how to spell it. But my God knows me. He knows this lawyer turned homeschooling mom does research. I must have read Exodus 25 a billion times.
He picked a topic I needed. I knew from taking a Precepts class on the tabernacle that the Golden Lampstand represented Jesus Christ, the light of the world, but that was all I knew. I didn’t know that the seven branches represent the seven appointed feasts of God, the thousand year time frames and the seven spirits of God. I didn’t know that the almond blossoms represented Aaron the priest and the chosen ones. I didn’t know that the pure olive oil represented the Holy Spirit. I didn’t know that the 75-pound lampstand was hammered out of one piece of pure gold, as Jesus was beaten and purified while on this earth. How detailed and specific the Creator of the Universe is!
Constructing such a large mosaic was monumental. The task started with sorting the tiles that were made in Israel. As I sorted tiles by color, I had thinking time. God had simultaneously given me a most precious gift … someone to disciple me to teach me things I did not know. She said this on our first meeting: “Believe what you read. Don’t read what you believe.” I had come to the shocking realization that not everything I believed was scriptural. I needed to sort tiles, but I also needed to begin to sort truths from traditions.
The project, from inception to completion, took well over two and a half months. I sorted, glued and grouted. I also read, read and read. My 15-minute and go, haphazard and disrespectful bible study days were gone.