The last week of December always feels a little like an in-between to me. It’s between holidays, months and years.
Akin to adolescent years, somewhere between child and teenager, life has a lot of uncomfortable in-betweens, like the “uberty” one of my young nieces recently admitted to being in. “Uberty” is not a good place to be, but it’s a pretty great description of that awkward in-between stage.
All the half-ways, on-the-ways, almost but-not-quite-yets, are not exactly sad but not yet happy waiting rooms. Impatient wandering circles, like Israelites on their way to the promised land, everyone ends up there at some time.
Tante Anna and Tante Rose, two of my aunts, one never married and one without children, had lengthy discussions about me when I hit “uberty.” I was of course present for these which ping-ponged back and forth above my blonde hair.
They despaired of pretty much every piece of me from skin to height to color.
My parents with their German background called those not quite teen years the Esel Jahre, or donkey years. Mom and Dad assured me I would grow into my nose and ears, donkey years would end, and with it Grossvater’s resemblance.
These observations come of course from an almost teenager already in the grip of awkwardness, so they may be skewed.
We don’t have much information about Jesus’ growing up years except for one heart-stopping story. When Jesus turned twelve, His parents lost Him.
Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem every year for the Passover. That year after a day of travel, on the way home Jesus was not to be found. His mother and father looked everywhere for Him. They searched frantically among his relatives in the caravan going back home to Nazareth. Finally, Mary and Joseph turned back to the city they’d just left to search.
After three days Mary and Joseph found Him.
They must have been almost out of their minds with worry. And when they finally found Him, unperturbed discussing Scripture with the teachers in the temple, they landed somewhere between overspilling relief and frustration.
“and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
But Jesus wasn’t lost. They were.
“Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” Jesus asked. Luke 2:48-49 NKJV
He was right where He was meant to be.
If we are honest, we all face times when spiritual growth hits a wall of “uberty.” There is January chill when we want June’s warmth and substance. We wander in circles of where we want to be with Jesus. And the crazy thing is, sometimes after the frantic busyness of a season celebrating Jesus’ birth, He seems to be missing.
And a New Year is about to begin.
Mary and Joseph didn’t understand Jesus’ words and actions, as He sat listening and talking with the temple teachers. But the picture of how they found Him remained. His mother kept and treasured its snapshot in her heart. He was where He belonged doing what His Father asked.
When the embers of our faith need fanning, when we wonder where Jesus has gone, it is the time to be where God can speak to us. Open the Word. Talk to the Father. Find fellowship with other believers. Be where you learn spiritual truths. Set our minds where the Father resides.
Jesus went home with his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. He, God’s Son obeyed them, and waited through childhood, puberty and young man-hood until in the time God appointed to begin his ministry. And at each juncture, in every moment of His walk on our earth, He submitted Himself to His heavenly Father.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52 NKJV
A new year isn’t like lining up at the start of a race waiting to hear the sound of the pistol, rather its a reminder to keep running, to keep going another lap. Keep digging, keep plugging, keep plodding. Do what is right today. The ungainly stage of “uberty” means growth is ahead.
Jesus wasn’t lost at a manager, at twelve or at 30. Nor is He lost now. God is never absent. He works throughout the in-betweens. He knows the need of our hearts and He cares.
A new year isn’t like lining up at the start of a race waiting to hear the sound of the pistol, rather its a reminder to keep running, to keep going another lap
Those “in betweens” can be tough, but remembering the destination helps.
I love that J.D. Remember the destination! Happy New Year to you and yours!
linda k williamson
We all look for the old to end and the new beginning. May our hearts be filled with love and hope and peace toward others. The greatest gift we have is love and may we all find a way to love one another!
Linda, thanks for your comment. Certainly love grows regardless of a change in calendar! I hope you have a wonderful year ahead!
Carolyn A Eumurian
Thank you, Sylvia, for the beautiful reminder. I am never unseen or unknown or unloved. That’s such a comfort in our uberty-ness. 😉
Thank you Carolyn. Never unseen, unknown or unloved. I love that. Appreciate you!
I love this post, Sylvia, as I have been in an in-between place for several years. Thanks for the reminder to keep digging, keep running, keep believing.
Thank you RJ! I love hearing from you and honored! I hope your year ahead is blessed!
Very good post. You do a great job. God bless you in the New Year!
Beautifully written and great reminder! In between times can be so discouraging but with the Lord Jesus we know He has purpose in everything. I’m memorizing Hebrews 12:1-3 ~ mediating on “running my race with endurance.” God bless you Sylvia.
I love this! I think it’s the waiting that’s so hard during these times. Maybe we should look at the “in-between” from a different perspective — view it as a positive pause rather than as an annoyance.
This is my favorite part of your helpful message: “When the embers of our faith need fanning, when we wonder where Jesus has gone, it is the time to be where God can speak to us. Open the Word. Talk to the Father. Find fellowship with other believers. Be where you learn spiritual truths. Set our minds where the Father resides.” I so agree. We need to put ourselves in the place where our Savior can minister to us.
Thank you so much Wendy. I am so glad you singled that out. It is so important for me to remember too. As you said, “we need to put ourselves in the place where our Savior can minister to us.” Thanks for reading and commenting.
Sylvia A Schroeder
Thanks Candyce! Have a great New Year. It’s another lap in the race! Thanks for commenting!
Sylvia, thank you for your encouraging words as we prepare to “run another lap.” I love your closing: “May you linger in His Presence, right where you belong.” Spending time with God enables us to run that next lap. Thanks so much for your humor and your words that lead us forward.
Jeannie, your words are always a joy for me to read. Thank you for your kind words, and may we run another lap together!
Thank you Jeannie!
I needed this. I am not great at the “in-betweens” but find that is where God does His best work.
Yes, I often find that as well. In-betweens are often much more appreciated in the rear view mirror! Thanks Jennifer for reading and responding!
I admit it feels like I am in an in-between season right now. It is so encouraging to know that God knows right where I am and I am right where I am supposed to be. Thank you Sylvia. Happy New Year.
Happy New Year Terri! In-between finds a lot of us right now! Thanks so much for reading and responding!
I feel like I’m in and out of the “uberty” stage on a constant basis. I’m so thankful that our Savior (who is never lost) is always there to help me when I am. Wishing you a blessed 2022, Sylvia.
Thank you Katherine. I know what you mean! I also feel in and out of the “uberty” stage continually. Thanks so much for your confirming response. The Savior is always there to help. Blessings in the New Year!
My goodness, Sylvia, the commentary you endured through uberty sounds merciless. And funny! Seriously, what a good reminder. Sometimes when I feel like I’m in that stage, I pause to celebrate what God has done. That also builds my faith to persevere. Happy new year!
Annie, thanks so much for reading and commenting. Your strategy to pause and celebrate what God has done is exactly what I need to do when I am in the “uberty.” Thanks for your reminder! Happy New Year!