Learning from Pipe Cleaners

I don’t attend a super traditional Sunday school class. And I sort of love that. This morning, our teacher dumped a bag of pipe cleaners on the table and asked us to create a visual representation of our relationship with God.

And the challenge confounded me. While others got down to the business of play (which, again, made me love this group of people so very much), I felt stuck. See, God and I have had a rather dramatic season as of late. And by season, I mean three full, full years. How in the world do I mold all the pillow sobs, scribbled questions, and flying ah-ha’s with pipe cleaners?

But if God is big and ethereal and altogether indefinable, He is also matter and bloody sweat and tears. I could build something. Something of Him and me and this season. So I made a railroad track with two glittery “God-pipe-cleaners” lining the whole way. Showing (mostly myself) that God stuff is the journey. And that He lines every clickety clank of ours with His grace. His presence.

Others sculpted doorways and swirls and all manner of cries that God alone fully understands. He gets that life feels topsy-turvy, and honestly, any one of our crude creations could describe my relationship with God at different times. The teacher then challenged us to privately mold our marriages, our parenting, etc. And I think this challenge extends to the artist’s life too.

If you were to sculpt your creative self–your inner artist–what form would your pipe cleaners take?

Now, I roll this question up and down, and my thoughts turn to the tracks. Only, I wouldn’t make the lines so straight. If I had been more honest this morning, my track would have turned this way and that. Veering in a general direction. Yes. But perfectly straight? Um, no. Surprises come. Seemingly setbacks come. They are the curves and turns of a heartbeating life.

So let me hand you a pipe cleaner or two–or as many as you need–and ask you to show me your artist’s life. Play away, reader friend. I would oh-so love to hear about your creations.

Much love,



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7 thoughts on “Learning from Pipe Cleaners

  1. That is super cool, Sammie. I would have loved to be there! Love it–“But if God is big and ethereal and altogether indefinable, He is also matter and bloody sweat and tears”. Really makes me think this morning…how would mine look? What a cool concept. If we are really taking risks, putting ourselves–our pride, our comforts, our beliefs–on the line and trusting Him in our artists’ lives, then I have to believe our sculpture will always look all over the place:)

  2. Nadine on said:

    Sammie…..I love you…I love your writing…and mostly I love your questions that make us all think and reflect on our lives! 🙂

    • sammiebennett on said:

      Thank you, sweet Nadine! And yes, thank you, Jesus, for writing and questions and all that! Love you so very much, friend.

  3. I think I would have to weave an entire tapestry of pipe cleaners to represent my artist life. Some of the strands would represent writing endeavors, others, editing projects, but most would symbolize life experiences. They all intertwine and affect the pattern going forward. My pipe cleaners would be, you know…threaded. 🙂

    • sammiebennett on said:

      Love it, Leslie! And I love the imagery of a bunch of pipe cleaners all threaded together. This is so, so true. Thank you for reading, my friend!

  4. I guess I would take one and tilt it up at an incline, because each day I feel like I get closer to God, the longer I live as a Christian.

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