Meet the newest – and smallest – member of our household: Guacamole the Anole!
The anole was a 3rd grade science project for my son early in the school year. One day he brings home a permission slip, and asks us to sign. The anole project was complete, and the 8 anoles currently residing in the 3rd grade classrooms needed a new home. If we sign this little slip of paper, our son could be entered into a drawing and have the chance to take home his very own lizard! My gut reaction was ‘NO!’ But my son’s patient pleas and soul-devouring deep brown eyes finally convinced us to sign the paper. It was okay – but I was still banking on slim odds that his name would actually get drawn.
As it turns out, I am a pushover. Only 8 kids actually got their permissions slips signed – and we ended up with a lizard.
Surprisingly, this lizard is absolutely fascinating to watch and a fun addition to our household! Our anole changes colors, eats live crickets, and most recently, sheds his skin. One morning before school, my son noticed the skin beginning to peel – and I was hooked. I watched so intently that we very nearly missed the bus that morning! By the time we arrived back home that evening, Guacamole was sporting fresh new green skin and jumping happily on the leaves in his enclosure; no residue of his former self remained!
On Wednesday evenings during Advent, my husband and I facilitated an adult study on Renewal at our church. Through study of scripture and emphasis on the celebration of God with us through the birth of Jesus, we talked about renewing our lives, renewing our days, and renewing our ways.
Throughout the Bible, God continually calls His people back, offering forgiveness and new life, no matter their story. With awareness of God’s presence, we can experience newness each day – even in the midst of our chaotic schedules. Our God creates good even from an experience that seems broken. As a small group, we quickly acknowledged these truths of our faith, then mourned how we continually cling to the old! We fail to forgive, we beat ourselves up over and over again for past mistakes, we tackle the daily grind with trepidation instead experiencing each moment as an opportunity to experience God’s love at work in the world.
I’ve been pondering these discussions, especially as we prepare to pass into a brand new year. I know God provides new life, and God does not condemn for past mistakes.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
So why do we hang onto the old?!? We allow the old, broken past to stay with us, like a dirty shroud we can’t seem to peel off of our shoulders. I became a little envious of our little lizard! Why am I unable to completely strip clean of the old, that which weighs me down as I attempt to step forward confident in the newness I know is mine?!?
Obviously, we’re not lizards – we do not naturally shed the old. (And thankfully, unlike Guacamole the anole, we do not eat our old skin…) In our small Wednesday night discussions, we determined that we need intentional awareness of this renewal that is promised to us. Through ongoing study, prayer and discussion, we continually make ourselves aware of how God is at work in us, through us and around us, all the time! When we allow ourselves to be renewed and trust God at work in our story, we are free to experience unparalleled peace in our lives. As we bid farewell to 2017 and prepare to encounter a new year, this is where our hope resides!
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20