I don't like debates, or subjects that divide people, especially when it comes to God.
God wants unity amongst us brothers and sisters, not squabbling over trivial matters.
So after posting these Halloween pictures of my family dressed up celebrating Halloween.
I got a few personal emails and some social media questioning.
I could have ignored it, which would have been noble enough.
But I just felt I needed to respond because I think us Christians look absolutely foolish fighting over subjects such as these. This kind of behavior certainly isn't drawing people to Jesus in the masses.
and for those of you who earnestly were curious, I respect that. I'm happy to explain.
Halloween has a story. I've researched it a bit. Its confusing. Some say it has pagan roots, some say it has christian roots. Some people say its about dark spirits and the devil, and some people carve pumpkins and bob for apples.
I don't really care about Halloween.
I don't shame anyone for NOT celebrating Halloween.
Its just not a super special holiday to me, I seriously could take it or leave it.
We as a family, don't celebrate dark spirits and we are not superstitious.
We simply enjoy trick or treating, pumpkin carving, and making creative costumes.
So when my daughters, who are 8 & 4 want to dress up as pretty little mermaids and go get some candy.
We do it. Its fun... and we leave it at that.
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.- Romans 14
When I took my daughters to the pumpkin patch last week, I received nothing but lovely comments on their pictures... but when we dressed up as a family to go trick or treating.... well, The "Christians" got upset.
The reason I say "Christians" is because as I am getting older and meeting more Christians outside of my bubble... I am understanding why many people don't want to associate with that name anymore.
When many non believers think of Christianity they imagine
crazy people yelling from the streets with veins bulging from their neck "you are going to hell "
People outside of abortion clinics attacking young scared teenagers.
and then of course the "we have it all together" Sunday morning facade.
I don't blame my non- believing friends for wanting nothing to do with "this" religion.
Surely if this is what had been presented to me,
I would have not only rejected it, but vehemently opposed it.
Of course not all "Christians" are this way, but its easy to stereotype when those kinds of stories make headlines, its also easy to feel this way, when we attempt to "try" church and are miffed by people.
Yet, it is not Jesus who has wrecked the reputation for Christians all around the world, but rather man.
Maybe you are one of the many people who came out of a legalistic church.
It offended you some how.
It was obviously not Jesus who failed you.
People have failed you.
Jesus never fails
Keep in mind, There is no rational reason to give up faith in God
for people's failures.
So why do I still call myself a christian?
Christian means Christ follower..or little Christ.
. and so for that reason I will always consider myself one.
Jesus is a personal relationship, not a religion.
Religion is man-made. Jesus is not man made.
I choose to follow Jesus.
I too have been hurt by people in church.
and outside of church.
its the same thing, you know?
People are people... and we are imperfect and relationships can get messy.
Despite this, I need church... with all of its messy-ness.
Even though its a place where people mess up, its also a place where God is glorified and people are strengthened and healed. The church is significant and important to God.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25-27
I feel so blessed to be able to raise my children in Gods ways.... and in the church, despite it being imperfect. I also have to stress to my children... that they are not born into Christianity because Donnie and I are Christians.
Knowing Jesus is a personal decision, that we will have to face on their own.
My biggest fear for their life is to grow up thinking that Jesus is a pretty little handbag.
That going to church on Sunday is some sort of tradition.
That they should do it, because its the "right thing to do".
Signing up to volunteer or lead every event,
earning points with people and doing good works in vain.
Them being "religious" could cause them to be disillusioned into thinking they know God
when they really don't know him at all.
I didn't grow up in the church,
Instead in my twenties I had an encounter with the loving God.
Who gently but tragically convicted me of my sin.
I wasn't brought to church by my parents, or a boyfriend...
I was brought to my knees by Jesus.... because I was living a wrecked and sinful life.
No-one, can take that away from me. It was my moment. My turning point.
My wrestling it out with a God who desperately loved me and pursued me.
It wasn't about bible knowledge... because at the time, I hardly had ever opened a bible.
I just knew in my spirit, that I was made well, by the moment my heart surrendered to him.
Once I accepted Christ as my savior, I wasn't all of sudden "perfect" and without sin.
I was still the same girl, with all the same problems, and I had ALOT of problems. Yet my heart was different. I started longing for the things of the kingdom...and became less and less entranced and captured by the things of the world. As I grew to know the Lord more..
and see as an adult what the world offered in comparison.
I knew without a doubt, I wanted more of Jesus and less of me.
My life started changing....it was a process.
Many of my best friends who were not believers,
witnessed this change in me... and commented..
While they weren't sure what they believed about God... or Jesus at the time.
Whatever that was happening to me, they confirmed was working for me... and I was better off because of it.
Some of my friends were also confused,
So do you drink still? do you party? do you wear turtlenecks?
do you just hang out with church people now?
do you dress up on Halloween?
I think there are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions when it comes to being a Christian.
To answer these above questions personally,
When I was a new Christian I was especially sensitive to parties.
Parties at that time, meant making mistakes, doing things I regret.
It seemed wise to avoid them for a season.
Now days, parties mean having friends over, having a bon fire, letting the kids play and eating good food. . My point, the party was never the problem.
My hearts desires being in the right place was always the issue.
Once I felt rooted in God, the desires of my heart changed.
I didn't enjoy parties that were compromising to my character.
God plucked those temptations from me.
Yes, I drink. but not to the point of drunken-ness.
Although I am not going to lie, and say it hasn't happened before.
I don't struggle with alcohol personally.
I could go a year without a drink, and it wouldn't phase me.
I also could have a margarita with my Mexican food and that also wouldn't phase me.
Do I think God asks certain people to lay down the booze?
Yes, I do.
If anything controls you, or if it becomes a stumbling block, it becomes an idol.
Some people can't control their alcohol.
Some people can't attend parties with alcohol because they will be tempted.
Some people wear turtlenecks, I don't know.
Some people reject Halloween.
I hope you see where I am going with all of this.
I don't have all the answers.
I do know though,
God cares about the condition of our hearts.
I don't think shaming others for celebrating a holiday is the right thing to do.
I also fully respect your decision to not celebrate Halloween.
especially if you feel convicted by God to not do so.
Lets also though examine how we look to the unbelieving world arguing over Halloween and wine.
We need not debate foolishly over these matters.
because God is not glorified as we squabble amongst ourselves.
and we certainly are not shining our light by doing so.
And now for pictures,