The ungodly truth

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In the beginning, attending church was good for us. It was good for me. I needed something stable and consistent in my life. I needed community. Fast forward several years and the magic for life was fizzling out and the stress of knocking on enough doors to make God happy was overwhelming me. Feeling inadequate for not getting enough people to confess Jesus as Lord or get enough people into the baptismal waters was a terrible existence. Being told I would have blood on my hands if I didn’t warn people of their impending doom left me with nightmares as I pillowed my head at night. The competitive virus that infected me as I saw other women proudly strut down the aisle with their latest convert, made me green with envy. They were making God more proud of them than he was with me. Is this all my Christian life was meant to be like? One would only be called godly if she could convert many souls to Christ and seal them in baptism. This ungodly truth must be told.

The ungodly, no godly person could be seen in fellowship with the ungodly.

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We had a ministry, outside the church, where we ministered to those in need of recovery from their addiction. We would invite those sober for 6 months over to our home on Sunday afternoons for a time of food and fellowship.

Church folk didn’t want to come over on those days.

We spent “too much time with ungodly people“.

There’s no way my kids would ever ‘be allowed to have friends come over on Sundays‘…or ever again if we kept that up.

When would the judgment stop?

When would the compassion begin?

Is this really an accurate portrayal of God and Jesus in the church today?

Intuitively, we felt our path was right on target. Though, confused any time we set foot in church. Would that church even recognize Jesus if he walked in on a Sunday morning?

They say the devil appears as an angel of light and I’m pretty sure I saw him in church on a regular basis. Though they would like to say the devil appears as the goth teenager wearing black leather. They would say the devil appears as that young woman wear a pentacle. Lets not forget the environmentalists who hug trees, geez they’re the worst ‘devil worshipers there are‘.

The comparing of ourselves to people ‘as sinful as that’ if we happened to ‘disobey’ (err um, disagree) with the preacher… yep, we were so ‘guilty’. Especially if we happened to be women. Rebellion against the preacher meant we were guilty of witchcraft!

I could never be good enough, godly enough, feminine enough, covered up enough, plain enough, silent enough, submissive enough. I could never please God.

Fifteen years of the negative rat race that never had a finish line. Jumping through hoops that kept coming into my path, darting through arrows of condemnation hoping to not get hit and branded with the mark of the beast. “Run your race with patience“, they’d say. But did God really intend that our life in Christ was going to be so exhausting? What ever happened to the rest we were promised?

The heaven life I thought came with Jesus turned into a nightmare hell with the devil.

Leaving it all behind left me with years of post traumatic stress.

Just keep reading your bible“, I was told. Christian bloggers would try to encourage me, “stay faithful to the Lord“.

What did that even mean?

The Jesus I was handed was abusive, narcissistic, judgmental, and downright high maintenance.

I lived in fear that he would toss my loved ones into the fire and I had to race against the ‘end times’ to make sure they would be pardoned and raptured out of the coming destruction.

Guilt, shame, stress, racing thoughts, images of people burning in the pit. This is what I faced every day and every night as I lay wide awake til three in the morning when I’d finally pass out.

I eventually would cry out for him to come back so it could all be over with.

Mornings weren’t any easier.

Could there be a 12-step program to de-program me?

Program? Forget it. I’ve had enough programming for one life time.

I needed rest.

I needed heaven, like yesterday!

I get what Elizabeth Esther wrote about in her book, Girl at the End of the World.

Even the ‘admonition’ to be a ‘good housekeeper’ kept me imprisoned.

I hated it. I grew to resent keeping house. Everything I did reminded me of the shame, guilt, and never ending rat race.

If the house wasn’t immaculate, like the preacher’s house was, then I was most certainly not ‘fit for the kingdom‘.

I heard women making their remarks, “how can God bless a woman’s soul-winning time if her house is a mess?

Is that why I didn’t have enough converts or baptisms? Because my baseboards were dusty and my carpet was old?

If I took a soul-winning day off to clean house I was in sin for missing out on soul-winning.

And if we weren’t as fit as the preacher and his wife were, then we were lazy gluttons who surely would not be blessed.

Reality sucked.

Reality away from the brainwashing was no better than the reality if I stayed.

I felt like I couldn’t escape.

And people wonder why folks leave Christianity!

So as anyone might do in abusive situations, I found an escape. I decided I would visualize a new reality for myself.

Fake it until you make it“, they’d say.

Only now as I type that do I realize how stupid that sounds.

I don’t want a fake life anymore. I want authentic.

Did you know when you begin to be authentic people like them start making accusations against you?

You’re on the slippery slope, stop walking the fence, you’re in rebellion!” they’d clamor.

You used to be such a godly woman.” they’d pity.

As if that wasn’t enough, “You may not have ever been a Christian to begin with. You’re so lost.

Yep, I was headed for hell all over again.

I could never make them happy, I could never be godly enough.

Might as well go out with a BANG.

I determined to create my OWN reality, my own magic, my own life.

Authenticity isn’t really what they want, they can’t handle it.

Be hot or cold, or I’ll spew you out of my mouth” maybe God didn’t say that. Maybe man kind said it; they sure do manifest it whenever you step out of their comfort zone.

They accuse others of witchcraft, yet they practice a very evil sort of ‘magic’ in their own churches. It comes from their pulpits every Sunday. The most powerful pulpits are the ones that practice it Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday Evening. Don’t forget all the extra meetings and ‘revivals’ too.

I saw what many Christians do when they come in contact with witches. It’s messy and disturbing. Right out of the pit of hell.

I’m not talking about Hollywood style witches. If you don’t want Hollywood being the representative of Christianity then don’t take their renditions of witches as ‘truth’ either.

What is a witch?

Of all the witches I’ve spoken to and through all the sites I’ve read about real witches, it’s really nothing like what so many Christians teach.

Pat Robertson likes to say women who embrace their female power are anti-men, anti-babies, and pro-evil. Being authentic about our femininity should never be demonized.

People scoff about closets and vehemently wish people would stay in them. I wonder how many people wish Christians would stay in their prayer closets instead of coming out and proudly displaying their beliefs on the city corners with picket signs and bull horns?

This sounds like I’m anti-Christianity or anti-Christians, but honestly, I’m just pro freedom, pro love, and pro spirituality. I’m pro individuality. I honestly don’t mind if you come out of a closet or not. That’s your choice. But living in a closet is no fun at all, just ask Harry Potter. ;)

A closet is a part of the bedroom where you store your clothing and keep your shoes in order. It’s the things that you wear in public every day.

Coming out of a closet doesn’t mean we bring all our shoes out at once and parade them down the street while shouting “Nike rules!” or “women must wear heels, I do!” Just wear what fits you best on each day. Wear your Nike tennies when you jog, wear heels at the club or office, wear your rain coat when it’s raining. That sort of thing.

Most people have enough to worry about in their own closets and don’t need to organize someone else’s closets.

If you have a broom closet, use your broom as needed. No need to wave it around at the crowds and force them to take notice.

If you have a prayer closet, use it wisely and privately. That’s what Christ wants. No need to announce to the world what’s going on in there.

It’s not about keeping secrets, its about having your own personal path that is unique to you.

If you want to wear a cross necklace or a pentacle, do so for your own personal reasons and don’t take offense if people snub you over it. That’s their problem not yours.

If you want to hang a scripture quote in a frame on your living room wall or display your besom in the dining room, do so. It’s your house.

This is freedom and I needed to find my own freedom away from the brainwashing.

No matter which path I’m on, it’s MY choice to walk my own path and I can do so as creatively, contemplatively, or as magically as I want.

I know this, I’m never going to allow any one or any group to force me into any kind of rat race ever again.

Blessed be.

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How to Make Happiness Mist

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happiness mist

 

Aromatherapy is an easy way to help create good mental health and spiritual vitality. It really is as simple as adding fragrance to your home and even better when it’s a natural fragrance with essential oils. You’ve probably heard that a happy mom creates a happy home, but we gotta get mama happy to begin with. Different fragrances always bring me back to a memory my brain has associated with it such as home baked bread from my childhood home, baked apples from a favorite teacher’s classroom that was always filled with apple scent, and coffee beans that take me right back to Starbucks.

I have a variety of home mists that I use, one of them is my Happiness Mist.

Ingredients:

  • Distilled water
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Fresh spearmint

Directions:

Place 4 oz of distilled water into a glass jar along with several clean (and slightly crushed, to release oils) mint leaves. Place outside in the sun all day, just like you would a sun tea jar. The next day, remove the leaves and add 5 drops of lemon essential oil. Place the lid back on and shake well. Using a funnel, pour the liquid into an amber bottle with an atomizer. Shake before spritzing.

You can use this on your skin (avoid eyes) as well as in the air in your home. For a stronger aroma, let leaves sit another day or two and add a few more drops of essential oil.

“Lemon oil is uplifting and cleansing. It replaces negative emotions by creating a cheerful atmosphere of freshness and purity. It can help dispel mental fatigue and psychological heaviness. The aroma of lemon can inspire increased concentration and awareness.” source Aura Cacia

Mint is believed to be able to break negative barriers in our minds and souls. It’s combination with the aroma of lemon is a perfect union for a happy mama and a happy home.

To enhance this experience, try some meditation and deep breathing. Do you have a favorite verse from the Bible or other happiness quote that you favor?

Spray the mist into the air over your face. With eyes closed, let the mist rest on your face and think of your top 5 happy thoughts. Breathe in slow and deep and exhale slow and deep. Speak your verse/quote out loud in a calm voice. Repeat 3-5 times and put all your belief into that verse/quote as being your happiness truth.

Do you remember singing the preschool song, ‘If you’re happy and you know it”? Do you know why that song instructs you to clap your hands and stomp your feet? Because action helps raise power. Add the belief, spoken words, and physical action together and you’re raising power…happiness power.

Using the Happiness Mist, your affirming verse/quote, and physical action is a great way to generate that happiness power first thing in the morning and right before the family gets home.

 

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Our Family Misunderstood Halloween

Every year in October we begin seeing the Halloween controversy and I admit to being party to the drama in prior years. In my naivety and arrogance,  I followed legalism into a dirty trap of self righteousness. In the following days I will share the myths and truth of the three holidays of Samhain, All Saints Day, and Halloween. Many Christians will google and find many websites written by anti-holiday activists, but after years of research and down to earth talks with people who actually celebrate these days, I have come to discover many of those sites are misguided. Below is the beginning of our story.

I grew up enjoying Halloween and always tried to be creative with my costumes. My whole family celebrated the festivities, even my mom and grandmother dressed up some of those years. Halloween was always just a cultural holiday and it never meant anything more to me than a day to dress up with friends and go door to door to get treats from the neighbors. It was a great way to build hospitality with our community.

Then we got caught up in legalism and we began adjusting our celebrations and within a few years we no longer celebrated it at all. We were led to believe in some really horrible ‘origins’, all told with a ‘Christian’ perspective. Then we came to understand what grace really looked like in our modern world and culture. Not only that, but we got to meet and become friends with people who still followed many of their old world customs and spiritual practices. The stories we were originally told about the origins of Halloween weren’t accurate and the people who we have come to love are being misrepresented in today’s Christian culture.

The Halloween we see in America today is a hodgepodge of assorted traditions all mixed up and Hollywood-ized to an extreme. Add to that the marketing schemes of the candy communities and we’ve got a real mess. They’ll use anything to get us to buy that much candy. Halloween is the one holiday a year that sells more candy than any other.

My husband and I stopped in to the 99 Cent store last night to pick up some decorative Autumn dish cloths and I took a few minutes to walk through their Halloween section. Do people really stop to think about why skulls are popular for Halloween? Do they think it’s to promote death? I’m willing to bet that’s what most people think, but the skulls are actually a representation of honoring your loved ones who have departed, as in the traditional Mexican holiday: ‘Día de los Muertos’. I would personally prefer to honor them by putting up a special picture of them, than to use a skull. However, I understand where the skull tradition comes from.

Then there were these witch door hangings that make it look like a witch flew into your door and splatted into a permanent fix on your doorway. She has long scraggly black knotted hair and a green nose smashed to the side. Most people have accepted this image of a witch for many years, but have no idea where that imagery comes from or if it’s even accurate. I would venture to say there are a lot of Christians who are not aware of the fact that the witch trials never burned any real witches. They were Protestant women who were burned by their own pastors and deacons. A lot of Christians are generally afraid of witches..not the fairy tale witches..the real witches. They can see clearly that real modern day witches look just like them. They have real houses (not candy shacks in the woods), their kids go to the same schools (not Hogwarts), and they honor and appreciate the earth (Though, Christians should care for the earth too.  After all, Adam was charged with caring for the earth). Witches don’t have green skin and they’re not out to curse the ground you walk on and sentence you to an eternity in hell.

Christians may not agree with the spirituality of witches, Druids, or even Muslims, but they are called to love them and be kind to them. This is what Christ does. He loves the Samaritans and the Jews. We also know the call goes even further when we are taught that there are no longer Jews and Gentiles (pagans), male nor female, bond nor free, we are all one in him. The point is: There are no more labels to divide us. Christ came to love us before we loved him. Even if someone hasn’t loved him in return, it doesn’t change the fact that he loves them first and continues to pursue their hearts with devotion.

My next point in this article is to point out how we, as Christians, don’t like to be misrepresented. I am willing to bet that most Christians don’t want Westboro Baptist Church to represent them. On this same note, Pagans don’t want misinformed Christians to attempt to represent their beliefs with the cultural Hollywood-ized versions that are depicted during this Halloween month.

In the Spirit of grace, I will be exploring some of these myths in upcoming articles and show you how to extend grace to those who celebrate their cultural holidays differently. I’ll begin tomorrow and share with you what the real origins of these holidays are and how it’s nothing to be afraid of or discriminated against. We don’t have to agree with these holidays, but we are called to interact with our society as representatives of the grace-filled Spirit of Christ.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog via email so you don’t miss the updates on this important series on how Christian hospitality is to be practiced among those of different beliefs.

Related:

How We Misunderstood Samhain

How We Misunderstood All Saints Day

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