Our friend Maddy is an incredible sculptor. When she went out on her own to begin her sculpting business, Luke and I wanted to support her by commissioning a piece of her work. The tricky part was deciding what to have her sculpt—something that was meaningful, maybe a conversation starter, and definitely something we would enjoy for years to come. During that time, our friend Don gave a sermon at church where he mentioned his excitement about one day meeting Jesus in heaven and enjoying that first big hug. I welled up with joy picturing it for myself and thought, “Yes, that’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait!”
This gave me an idea for the piece—the first hug! A sculpture of that scene would definitely be meaningful, most likely start some good conversations, and would certainly be something I’d enjoy looking at for however many years I’d have left to look. The next thing to figure out was who Jesus would be hugging. My first thought was myself. But, I figured if Jesus was hugging a woman, it could at first glance be reduced to a mere romantic embrace. And, if they recognized my face, they may wonder why we had a sculpture of me hugging another man--one with long hair and a beard no less. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want the potential of the piece being mistaken for a romantic hug over the much more beautiful and intimate embrace it was made to portray. This was a divine, welcome home embrace between the Maker and His beloved child--between the Savior and one He willingly died to save.
Luke easily became the next choice and, fortunately, with a little coaxing, was willing to go along with my idea. Then, after a few conversations, a picture session with a long, awkward, and hilarious hug between Luke and Maddy’s husband Zac, and months of Maddy’s time, energy, and talent being poured into her creation, we received Maddy’s masterpiece—“The Hug.” Luke made a beautiful wood base, and the sculpture found its home on our mantle above the fireplace. I can see it when I come down the spiral stairs from my office and when I come down the main stairs from our bedrooms. It makes me smile every time it catches my eye. The look of joy, peace, and warmth in their faces and in their embrace reminds me daily of the truth that, “In His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). What a gift He has given us in His steadfast love, in the joy of a relationship with Him, and in the hope of eternity by His side!
If you want to check out more of Maddy’s incredible art, watch a video on the bronze casting process, or maybe even commission your own Jesus hug, please visit her website at madelinelivelyart.com
By Katie Miller
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