I was 23, scrunched in the corner of a tiny closet, with the light off.
An epic tantrum from the confines of my two-year-old’s room shook the walls outside of my doors.
“Who is the adult here?” I bereted myself.
What grown-up hides behind the hanging clothes? Apparently this one.
I hugged my knees tight up to my chin. In that dark space, I felt like one of the toy Weeble-Wobble figurines my daughter loved so much. Only I wasn’t sure I could right myself. I teetered. My world rocked with the certainty that I was a mommy failure.
I wondered what would happen if someone found me out. What if my husband came home early and opened the closet door? I imagined light flooding over me where shame wrapped tight tentacles around my chest. I could hardly breathe.
Many moons have passed since that day in my closet. The calendar tells me a new year is beginning, and despite passing time, my gut feels somewhat the same as that day when I hid in a dark, tight corner. The past two years have collided with unchartered labyrinths. We’ve pivoted from unpredictable to unprecedented.
You may feel like that young mom trapped in a closet, unable to face what lies outside but almost sure whatever is ahead can’t be good. Going forward is infected with uncertainty, fear, and loss. Before the year even starts, a feeling of failure churns inside.
God meets us as we hide in dark spaces where the air seems thin, and walls constrict.
On the road to Damascus, the Apostle Paul experienced spiritual transformation. Born Saul of Tarsus, Paul was a Roman Jew, a Pharisee, trained in Jerusalem and radically opposed to the Christian movement sweeping their land. Present and consenting to the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr, Paul’s murderous thirst for Christian blood fizzled into nothing when he met Christ face to face.
A bright light shone, a voice from heaven spoke and Saul fell to the ground. When he got up again, sightless, his spiritual vision cleared. A new Paul emerged.
…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
When Paul wrote those words in 2 Corinthians, he knew from experience that transformation comes with pain. Years had passed since his conversion to Christ, but growth continued. Ours must too.
On the road to Damascus, Paul was led away like a child by his fellow travelers. Three days passed in a sightless world. He didn’t eat or drink. He was devastated, alone and couldn’t see beyond his darkness. The conversion of a proud up-and-coming Jewish lawyer and leader meant a surrender of all he’d known, worked, and lived for.
But outside those dark walls, God’s plan reached far beyond the transformation of one person. For the faithful, steadfast, spiritual walk of those early believers demonstrated a faith that reaches through the years and pulls us back on our feet and out of our comfort zones.
Like a mom who hides from a child, unable to face another parent-child war, 2022 finds us leery of what another year might hold. In the past, we’ve unwrapped new and shiny beginnings to discover that, inside, the gift didn’t deliver.
But remember: Persecution darkened Paul’s future, perils threatened, discord raged, and injustices happened. Jesus never failed.
When all you see is what’s missing, lift your eyes to what is eternal. That renewed vision will give you courage to step out into a new year. Spiritual growth brings practical wisdom.
I love that Paul’s writings remind us to keep growing, moving forward, and running the race.
… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
It’s renewal time. Time to sit in the truth of God’s Word. Time to bask in His Presence. Time to wrestle and rest in prayer. Time to check our eyes and hearts, to admit we need the kind of help only Jesus offers.
We will discover He reaches a hand to wherever we find ourselves scrunched in whatever corner, lifts us out, and opens our eyes to see through His.
It’s renewal time. Time to sit in the truth of God’s Word. Time to bask in His Presence. @SylSchroeder #NewYear #Family #MomlifeTweet