SHEDDING SKIN

By Lisa Huddleston

“You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ” (Col. 3:9-11, MSG).

The day was just about over. I was tired and already feeling the ease of my pillow as I walked into my room to get ready for bed. As I headed into the bathroom to brush my teeth, I noticed something unusual lying on my bedstand and struggled to make sense of what it could be. Then I knew. I yelled, “Hey! Who put this thing in here?” And I heard laughter from the other room. “It wasn’t me,” my youngest son answered and then gleefully added, “It was Sarah!” Sure enough, my sweet, dainty daughter had left me the gift of a shed snakeskin. My first thought was YUCK! But since then I have reconsidered, and now my “gift” hangs on the bulletin board in my study to remind me of the importance of shedding old skin.

As one who likes to connect the dots, I tend to see the events of life as purposed and even communicative. Pondering the delicate, discarded skin, I knew it was no coincidence that Sarah’s offering appeared at the same time that Chuck and I had a huge stack of old clothes lying in the corner of our room waiting to be taken to the Goodwill store. At the ripe old age of fifty, both of us have arrived at a time of renewal and re-creation and have been in the process of letting go of many of the things that have defined us in the past: labels that we have outgrown, titles that we have stretched as far as we could, and clothes that no longer fit us either physically or emotionally.

It has been both exciting and unsettling to see the new skin appearing in fits and starts as we wriggle and undulate out of the old. Some places slide away with ease while others stick to us stubbornly—as I assume my snake’s skin did—leaving tears in the old fabric we leave behind. Being a little OCD, I grieve over the tears wishing that all could be left intact. But, I know that the process is worth it, and I anticipate with hope the feeling of fitting perfectly into my new skin.

And the process continues. Struggling, growing, stretching forward to fill the new skin God has knit together for us, and at 50 new skin is something I can really appreciate. Thanks, “sweet” Sarah, for the awesome gift!

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