The Story Behind the Design

This is my story – how I believe God led me to create the Open Door design.

The story began on Easter Sunday in the spring of 2004 … I was sitting in church in Helen, Georgia, listening to Pastor Jim Holmes’ sermon. He spoke so passionately about God’s sacrifice and Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. It was all part of God’s plan and crucial for our redemption. Jesus’ death made our forgiveness and reconciliation with God possible.

But Pastor Jim emphasized that the cross was not how the story ended. The story of redemption culminated on the third day when Jesus – in Power, Victory and Glory rose from the dead! Without the Resurrection, Jesus would have just been another religious martyr.

At this point in the sermon, Pastor Jim’s face radiated the wonder and the miracle of the Resurrection. In an impassioned voice, He called from the pulpit, “Jesus is Alive – The stone rolled away! And because He lives, we can live if we believe!”

Then Pastor Jim looked out over the congregation, imploring no one in particular, “I see Crosses everywhere! Where is the symbol for the greatest Victory of all time?! Where is the symbol for the gift of Everlasting Life? Where is the symbol for the Resurrection?? I wish some designer somewhere would make a pin or something to celebrate the joy and excitement of Easter morning! I want something new; something that means Jesus is Alive now!”

He wasn’t talking to me, but God was. That sermon, that request, spoke to my heart and stayed with me. A few weeks later, during my devotional time, a design concept came to me and I sketched it in my Bible. As a jewelry designer, I believed there had to be a way to symbolize what Pastor Jim was talking about. 

But how to re-conceptualize something as dismal as a grave? I honestly didn’t know.

The need to make this design a reality stayed with me but I was a busy working mom and didn’t devote enough time to the development. Then I broke my back (Don’t worry, I’ve fully recovered). On the plus side, lying in bed for months gives you ample time to think. For over a year, I worked and reworked the design, making hundreds of sketches and variations while praying for God’s direction. I researched everything that I could find relative to the Resurrection and the tomb of Jesus.

I knew that the rolling away of the stone was a big part of the Resurrection narrative – but from a design standpoint, the stone was a problem. It visually weighed down my drawings while simultaneously becoming an unintended focal point. Even though the stone was miraculously moved, it would have been meaningless if the tomb wasn’t empty.

But how could I translate the concept of an empty space in a positive way?

God then focused my mind on the door. What was revealed when the stone rolled away? The Door. What did the women and then later, the disciples, pass through to visit the body of Christ? The Door. They had to pass through the door to discover that the tomb was empty. What must believers accept as truth? The Resurrection. Symbolically, the Resurrection is the doorway to eternity. The verse that spoke most strongly to me, in connection to this symbol, was John 11:25 where Jesus identifies himself as The Resurrection – “”I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” I knew that the word Resurrection needed to go on front of the design. I consulted repeatedly with Pastor Jim for the correct Greek translation which  is Anastasis.

What you see now is the fulfillment of big challenge and a long journey. The Open Door design was finalized and copyrighted in 2005.

It is my hope that The Open Door symbol will give believers another way to outwardly express and share their faith.

Sincerely, Tammy