by Heather Spring

After Zachariah wakes from his afternoon nap there are a series of events that follow.

The very first thing: “I hungry, Mom!” SNACK TIME!

The next: “Let’s play cars!” CAR TIME!

The other day, after bringing him his snack I left the room to change over some laundry. A few minutes later I called out to him, “Are you done, Zach? You ready to go play with your cars?”

There was no response. So I walked into the living room and saw him hunched down behind the arm of the couch. “Wacky Zachy Dean, come on, let’s go play with your cars upstairs!” Silence. “You know you want to!” I said playfully. His response, “I’m hiding, Mom.”


“Hiding? Why? You want me to find you?”


“Buddy, I want to play with you.” It brought back memories of when we were potty training. Both my boys would always “hide” in hopes to evade the dreaded number two. So, I thought, just in case, I’d ask, “Do you need to go poopie?”

“Nope. I’m just hiding.”

I let it go a few minutes more before I began my next tactic… the lure. “Zach,” I called out to him at the top of the stairs, “I’m upstairs looking at your cars. Do you want to join me? Come see some of the cars I’ve got lined up here.”  Surely, that will seal the deal.

“I’m hiding.”

Hmmm… If that didn’t get him running over himself to get upstairs, there was obviously something HE was hiding.

I decided to investigate a little more thoroughly. “Hiding, huh? Well, I think I can find you.” I could see the top of his brown-hair poking out from around the arm of the couch. As I knelt down next to him, “You weren’t hiding very well…” And then as I took in my next breath, my investigation was complete. I could “smell” why he was hiding. “Zachy?” I patted him on the bottom, “You poopied in your pants!?” My fully-potty-trained-3-year-old had momentarily forgotten the sequence of events that are supposed to happen when one needs to “go.”

Rushing him to the bathroom, he continued to deny the evidence.

Zach had made a mistake… you could say, he went “toot” far. And his fear of Mom’s wrath led him into hiding and denial. (I’m that scary, people!)

Reminds me of a conversation I’ve read many many times.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” (Genesis 3: 8-10)

Adam and Eve had a lot in common with my Zachariah. Because of fear they went into hiding. Playing with matchbox cars wasn’t on the top of their list, but strolling and conversing with their Creator God was. And just like Zach, these two had a nugget in their drawers—they had eaten from the only tree in the Garden that was off-limits.

God: “Where are you two?”

A & E: “We’re hiding.”

God: “Well, that’s silly. It’s a beautiful day for a stroll, don’t you think? Let’s walk and talk.”

A & E: “We’re hiding.”

Adam and Eve’s shame over the sin they had committed kept them in hiding. They weren’t very good at hiding either. He could probably see their little heads ducking behind the trees as they tried to stand as still as they could. Our hiding keeps us from dealing head on with the issue we’ve made between us. No matter what has caused us to go into hiding, nothing is too “bad” that we need to stay tucked behind trees or a couch.

So here’s the gist of my lesson learned… are you ready? Don’t let the poop get in between you and God.

God wants to show us that if we present ourselves to Him, our mess and all, that our relationship can be immediately restored as we confess and as He reminds us of His tree. He says, “If you are looking to hide, I have a great spot. You can hide behind my tree… the cross.” If we have put our faith in Him we are IN Him… we are covered by what happened on His tree. So if you’re going to hide, hide there and only there, for the cross of Christ frees us to enjoy that same relationship that Adam and Eve began in the Garden.

So… come out, come out, wherever you are! May we not miss moments with Him due to our shame, guilt, pride, and sin. He’s bigger than all that stuff.

Zach learned that although I wasn’t happy that it happened, (and, yes, he gets that I don’t want him filling his britches anytime he wants), ultimately, I love him and nothing he does is worth breaking our relationship. Nothing. There’s moments to be had together, adventures to share, cars to be driven. I am called to train him up into a successful human being. Part of that training requires moments where discipline is a healthy part of our relationship. But even then love is at the heart of my no’s, do’s, don’t do’s, tearful talks, and consequences. I long for him to understand, even in those moments, that he doesn’t have to let mistakes rob us of sweet time together. He should never let the poop come between us.