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Fingerprints

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DSC_3138This is the thing about fingerprints. We leave them everywhere. A few weeks ago, I was in the cleaning aisle at Target and I grabbed a pack of Magic Erasers. It should be noted that giving a recovering perfectionist a Magic Eraser is a surefire way to cause a relapse. What started out as me scrubbing crayon marks off the girls’ little blue table quickly led to scrubbing walls, scrubbing baseboards, scrubbing moldings. Everywhere I looked there was something else to scrub clean. There were strawberry jam prints under the chair rail in the kitchen and kaleidoscopic chalk prints on the laundry room door. There were toothpaste prints on the counter in the bathroom and sticky who-knows-what prints on the handle of the silverware drawer. The more I looked around, the more tiny fingerprints I could see.

During this Advent season, I’m seeing the fingerprints all over my heart too. A million little impressions where God is leaving His mark on me. Indentations where He is carving me, pruning what is dead and dying so the verdant, the new, the dreamy what-ifs can grow. With some imprints, He is oxygenating a vessel here and a vein there, pushing me, nudging me forward. With other notches, He is opening tender wounds, pressing into the purply, bruised lumps where insecurities and fears pulse palpably just below the veil of skin, places I reluctantly surrender because I’m weary of carrying their burdens.

I took a glass-blowing class my senior year in college. There were only seven of us in the class, and the other six people were grad students for whom English wasn’t their first language which made for some interesting conversations. The class was focused on scientific glass-blowing. We learned how to blow different vessels needed for chemical experiments. But for the last half-hour of every class, our professor would let us create anything we could imagine. The key to blowing glass is finding the right balance of pressure and heat to mold the creation you have in mind. Too much pressure and you’ll blow out the glass. Not enough pressure and the glass will sink in on itself. Too much heat and the molten glass gets too thin. Too little heat and it’s not malleable. But with just the right amount of pressure and heat, you can take rods of glass and create a masterpiece. That same professor introduced us to the work of Dale Chihuly, and when Matt and I were on a cruise a couple years ago we visited Atlantis and got to see a Chihuly work in person. I stared at this enormous glass creation mesmerized, my mouth agape. Now, I could recognize the thousands of meticulously regulated puffs of air and delicately pulled curls. I could appreciate the precise temperatures involved and the careful touch of its creator. I could see the fingerprint of the artist on his masterpiece.

When I was going crazy with my Magic Eraser a few weeks ago, I came across a chalky hand print on the door frame that leads to our living room, a perfect imprint of five little pink fingers. I was about to scrub it off, but instead I left it. Those fingerprints tell a story and whisper a gentle reminder that nothing is impossible with God. Those fingerprints dream and dance and love dearly. Those fingerprints speak to the splendor of a Creator who touches us with just enough pressure and kindles in us just enough heat to create a masterpiece, a reflection of Glory Himself.

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