What kind of pumpkin are you?

Painted pumpkins gained popularity a few years ago.

Painted pumpkins gained popularity a few years ago.

I’ve noticed a trend over the last few years around Halloween. No longer are kids cutting into the pumpkins to scoop out the goo before cutting in a face and setting it aglow. Kids are sometimes now asked to use paint to make their jack-o’-lanterns in October. No cutting involved.  I’ve even seen pictures of pumpkins decorated with duct tape and glitter and ribbons. Again, no cutting of the pumpkin involved.

One of the best children’s sermons I’ve heard each October relates being a Christian to carving pumpkins at Halloween. When we carve a pumpkin, we wash off all the dirt from the pumpkin patch, cut a hole in it, scoop out all the yucky stuff, and light the inside for the world to see. As a Christian, God scoops out all the yucky stuff in our souls, our sins of greed and envy and pride and more.

 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:3

One new trend in pumpkin decorating is to use duct tape.

One new trend in pumpkin decorating is to use duct tape.

Then God lights up our souls so we can see the good in ourselves and live in the light with him. God loved us so much that he gave us his son to walk amongst us and teach us for a brief time, and those teachings still are with us today in the Bible.

Studying what Christ taught us through parables and stories gives us a light in our souls that we can carry into the world. Although he is no longer with us physically on this earth, we still carry His light into the world. We light a candle and place it in our pumpkins in October, but Christ transfers his light into the world through us.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6

Decorating a pumpkin with paint or duct tape or anything else may make it pretty, even beautiful. But it does nothing to help light the darkness. Likewise, if we say we are Christians and go to church each Sunday but do not live our faith every day, we are not lighting the world with Christ’s love. We are simply pretty Christians in name only.

I understand the trend of decorating the pumpkins instead of using knives that could be unsafe and cause accidents. But isn’t that what Christ was about? In his teachings, he often disrupted people’s ways of thinking, and tried to get them to look at the world in a different and more loving way. He started Christianity by being messy and not being afraid to cut through and scoop out the bad of the world to find our hearts.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  ~ Matthew 5:14-16

Let God carve out your bad stuff and spread light to the world through you.

Let God carve out your bad stuff and spread light to the world through you.

What kind of Christian do you want to be? Will you be the pretty pumpkin who sits on a shelf and does nothing to light up the darkness of the world?

Or will you allow God to scoop out your sadness and misery and sins, and put a candle of love in our soul to share with the world?

The choice is yours.

Categories: Faith | Leave a comment

What makes you glow?

At the end of every day, the sun sets with a glow before darkness hugs the earth.

At the end of every day, the sun sets with a glow before darkness hugs the earth.

I love the beginning of the day and the end of the day, where the light meets the darkness in the sky for just a little bit until the light or the dark takes over. Each morning and each evening, the light and the dark touch briefly creating a beautiful mix of colors in our sky before the next one takes over. But in the beginning, there was only darkness until God brought us the light.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.  ~ Genesis 1:3-5

We cannot have light without the dark, and we cannot have dark without the light. The cycle of light and dark in our sky will continue until the end of time.

So it also goes with our souls. Even the happiest of people walks through sadness occasionally. Mine is October, which used to be the happiest month for me. The air began to chill, football took over sports, and the leaves turned beautiful shades of every color imaginable. Then I started to experience loss after loss in October, and after awhile I started to dread October first. The rest of the year was fantastic and filled with light, but each year October punches me in the face with a fist of darkness.

I had a time in my life when that darkness overwhelmed me completely. I’ve often said that I can do anything, as long as I see the light at the end of the tunnel. During that time, I couldn’t see the light; all I could see was the darkness and the void of the tunnel. I got help and after a lot of hard work, I was able to come back into the light stronger than before.

I know now that I had to walk through that darkness to understand the light and to be able to feel empathy for those around me who sometimes are overwhelmed with the darkness. Without that journey, I would not be where I am today. For most of the year, I can easily find the bright side of any bleak moments. If something negative happens, I can figure out the good that will come out of it.

October is still tough, but thanks to making a decision every day to notice the good – the light – things during the month, it doesn’t affect me like it once did. I’m stronger now to fight the darkness that wants to envelop me during this month. I have moments that give me back the glow, and I seek them out each day.

This week, my youngest son played in his last football game for the season. My oldest son decided that he was going to bring his trumpet along to the game and be a pep band of one. Yes, we got some strange looks as he alone played after first downs and kick-offs. Yes, it seemed as though my husband and I were the only two clapping along to the school song when he played it after we scored touchdowns. But, this was a point of light in my life, a glow. Since my boys are 5 years apart, this is probably the only time that the oldest one will be able to play his trumpet at one of my youngest one’s football games. How awesome is that? I will always have the memory of my oldest son supporting my youngest at a football game.

Tonight, my youngest son asked to look at the stars for his science class. I loved astronomy in college, which I took as my physics requirement and ended up tutoring later. We found the northern constellations quite easily, and found a couple in the South. The ones he wanted to see aren’t visible until the spring, so we’ll have to look again then. We were fortunate enough to both be looking the same direction at the same time, and were both able to see a shooting star. What a great experience, finding that shooting light in the dark sky.

We have to remember to live in each moment. We have to remember to make the choice to look for the light in life. It is a choice. Martha Washington said, “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”

Each morning with a glowing sunrise, God brings light back to our world.

Each morning with a glowing sunrise, God brings light back to our world.

I decide each day to make the choice to find the light in life. And I have the strength to find that light because I know God stands beside me in my search.

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.  ~ 2 Samuel 22: 29

Working with kids is my glow. Helping people is my glow. Making sure that my family and friends are safe and happy is my glow.

What glows in your life?

Think about the type of people we know who glow. When a woman is newly engaged, we say she glows. Later, the happy bride glows on her wedding day. Pregnant ladies glow, and new mothers glow. People’s hearts glow with love for one another. People glow with excitement. In the happiest times of our lives, we glow. We push away the darkness and let the light glow through into our lives.

So the next time you’re walking through a darkness in your life, find something to be your glowing beacon back into the light. Some days, finding that light is the hardest thing in the world. It may be as dull as an ember at the end of a campfire. But, we have keep searching for it and not give up. That darkness is tough, but without it we wouldn’t know how truly wonderful the light is.

Find your glow.

Categories: Faith | Leave a comment

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