Whether your family celebrates Halloween or not, it is hard to miss a hoard of children dressed as everything from princess and pirates to Lego men and weeping angels as they travel around neighborhoods begging for tricks or treats.  For a few hours they get to pretend to be heroes, or villains.  They can forget about homework, grades, and chores and just BE.  And this got me thinking...

We are all wearing costumes.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a costume is "an outfit worn to create the appearance characteristic of a particular period, person, place, or thing".  Now take a look at this verse from John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit".  If you have accepted Christ, you are no longer flesh, but spirit.  Hebrews 13:14 reminds us that this is not our home.  So follow me here.  We who are saved by grace are wearing a costume and wandering the neighborhood until we go home.

That leaves us with a myriad of costume choices.  Fortunately, God has some suggestions for us.  Ephesians 4:22-24 encourages us to shed our old costume and instead put on a new one.  One that is in the likeness of God.  Ephesians 6:10-18 reminds us that while we are here in this world we aren't safe and as a result we need to put on our armor to protect and defend ourselves.  Colossians 3:12-15 gives us a list of things to put on as well: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness and love.   And the suggestions don't stop here.

God's word is full of advice about how we should navigate this world, if we just take the time to read it.  Instead we tend to be so focused on gathering the treats and avoiding the tricks that we neglect the instructions our Father has given us before He sent us out.  This Halloween I encourage you to take some time to consult with Him.  Trust me in that the costume He would have you to wear really is flame retardant! 


The other day I saw a quote on Facebook that remarked how ‘Stepparents are awesome because their love is a choice’. And it made me reflect on my stepmom, who has been in my life for close to 30 years. There were times when she was the mom I longed for; times when she was the friend I needed; and I hate to admit, but times when I didn’t want her around. And I am so thankful that I have grown up and have come to completely value our relationship and having her in my life (and I’d like to think it’s a two-way street now!)

The quote dove me deeper, still, and made me think of our Heavenly Father. You see, He is like the stepparent, in the sense that He chose us. (John 15:16, Romans 8:29-30; 1 Peter 1:2) While our earthly parents receive us as a gift, God chose us, like the stepparent. He takes the good with the bad; (furthermore, He knew just how bad and just how good we are capable of, and still chose us.)

When I reflect on being chosen by God, I am awed. While I understand (to the best of my ability) that God loves each of His children, it still amazes me that He chose to create me (Psalm 139:13); mold me from clay (Isaiah 64:8); bring me into His arms (Deuteronomy 33:27)… (Especially when I reflect on how unworthy I am of even a thought of His, let alone the time He took to form me…)

And it brings me back to my stepmom. She loved my dad, and understood that I was a package deal with him. And yet, she chose to stay, and love us both. (There were women prior to her that couldn’t accept me with the deal. (And this was before I was a mouthy, selfish, unappreciative teenager!)) She took the verbal attacks, the silent treatments, the acting out; she took it all in love for me.

And that brings me back to our Father. He does the same doesn’t He? I know I’ve lashed out at him in anger and hurt. I know I’ve ignored Him and His teachings at times, because I thought I knew better (or at the very least just didn’t want to do what He wanted). I know I did some things that clearly were against His Word… And there have been times when I didn’t want Him ‘around’… and yet He has taken it all in love for me. As a matter of fact; He’s gone above that, and sent His Son to die for my [all of the above].

As I grew up, I finally began to fully appreciate the value in having my stepmom. Yes, I have my mom, and my stepmom could never replace her, but she has a whole other role in my life that my mom can’t fulfill. Especially as I’ve gotten older, my stepmom could’ve backed away, eased out of my life (as we live 400+ miles apart), but she hasn’t; we’ve actually grown closer. I’ve had some painful losses and disappointments in my adulthood; she’s cried with me. I’ve had aspirations and dreams; she’s prayed for me. She’s been a huge supporter and encourager of my life. My own personal cheerleader, so to speak. Not that my mom couldn’t or wouldn’t do those things; it’s just… my mom has to love me; she naturally aches when I hurt, prays for me, and wishes the best for my life. My stepmom chooses to do these things.(And she has two daughters of her own, and still chooses me (as the favorite) (LOL)).

And as I’ve grown up, I’ve finally begun to fully appreciate God’s miraculous plan in my life. (I still don’t understand it, but I’ve learned to trust Him). He has given me every blessing I’ve had, and yes, allowed me to experience all the hurts, too; but has used each instance to grown me closer to Him. (Romans 8:28) He is my true source of encouragement and support (Psalm 27:1). He is my true source of life (Psalm 54:4). He’s wept with me (Psalm 56:8; prayed with me (Hebrews 5:7) and wants the best for me. (Isaiah 58:11)

So, paraphrasing the quote on Facebook: Being chosen in love is awesome…