Another Halloween has come and gone. My beautiful 9 year old daughter is not your typical girly girl and decided to go as Captain America this year. She was bold and confident; I felt completely safe with her by my side, shield in hand. I'm just happy she was a good guy this year... last Halloween she was the perfect picture of the scariest Dark Sith Lord EVER. She still puts on the Darth Vader mask from time to time when she's writing her vocabulary words or collecting eggs from the chicken coop. She's seriously cool like that.
As I handed out candy this year I saw a boy with fake blood dabbed on his shirt and face. He wore gloves that were stained with the stuff.
"Is that blood?", I asked trying to act frightened by hands that appeared to be stained by cherry kool-aid.
He smiled a devilish smile and replied, "Yes... I washed my hands in blood tonight. Mwuhahahaha!"
All the kids around him were disturbed. I should have been disturbed I guess. But I found myself trying not to laugh. I couldn't help but think of hearing that phrase "Washed In Blood" when I was his age but not at Halloween. I would hear it on a regular basis in church and I was immediately taken back to my childhood years and the confusion that phrase and others brought to me. Church speak was a hard language barrier for me to overcome as a kiddo. But I persevered. Take a look:
Washed By The Blood-
This one has to top the list for kids and even adults that aren't regulars at worship services. It sounds creepy and violent. As a kid I remember the hymn that asked the question "Are you washed by the blood of the lamb?" Then it would go on to ironically ask, "Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?" Assuming I was the dark type to soak in a large water trough filled with sheep blood, wouldn't that be counter productive to making my garments white as snow? I wondered about this for years. Years people. Gross.
Jesus Man of Sorrows-
Who is this sad Jesus you speak of? Haven't you seen that cool picture of "Laughing Jesus"-- head thrown back,eyes closed, mouth wide bellowing laughter at some hilarious thing that caught His attention? What about the picture of Jesus playing with all the kids sitting on his lap and listening to His cool stories? Seemed happy then. Must be the grown up's fault He was so upset. This is a popular phrase around Easter and obviously it has real meaning. But when I was 8, it always made me just want to go give him a big ol' hug.
Lamb of God Slain for Sinners-
There was a picture of Jesus holding a lamb smiling ear to ear in the front of our church when I was a kid. I used to go pet the lamb on the picture because I felt sorry for his impending death. I secretly held a grudge against Jesus for his ability to be so happy knowing that lamb was about to die. These are the confessions of a 6-8 year old.
Bringing In The Sheaves-
This was a popular hymn when I was growing up. Until I could actually read and comprehend the words myself, I dutifully sang with gusto "Bringing in the Sheets. I will go rejoicing- Bringing in the Sheets." Now, to a kid who's mama used a clothesline regularly to dry the bed sheets this phrase couldn't have been more confusing. I hated having to bring in the sheets and I felt horrible because I couldn't muster a rejoicing iota of anything when I was having to yank those stupid clothes off the line because I couldn't reach the pins. Then I'd have to go on a pin hunt because when you jerk the clothes the pins pop off and scatter. Even today I cannot rejoice at the thought of folding sheets. Especially the fitted ones.
Edge of Protection-
When I was in 2nd grade a family in our church was robbed in their own home. I remember my Sunday School teacher beginning a weekly ritual of praying for an "edge of protection" around each of us. When I learned it was actually a "HEDGE of protection" it made more sense to me. However, I secretly began my own prayers for God to just go with a wall instead of a simple hedge. Hedges just don't seem as effective. Anyone I need protection against could blow right through a line of bushes really, and if you get a good running start you can hurdle them all together. Hedges are just useless. Fences and brick walls... now that's where the safety's at.
Burdens In Your Heart-
I had no clue what this meant. I knew it was serious though. And I knew I didn't want it, no one did. But what I actually heard was something that was far worse than just carrying worries and cares around like a bag of rocks tied to your ticker. My daddy is a pastor and his bit of southern drawl fused the words "Burdens" and "In" together to reveal the phrase: "Birds In Your Heart". For weeks of sermons I envisioned the poor birdies held captive inside my chest. I had nightmares about the crows trying to get out any way they could. Disturbing, no? Mama cleared it up for me though, God love her. But the images still haunt me to this day.
I feel like I might not be the only one with confessions like these. I feel as though there are others who have also muddled through their childhoods waiting for the sins to be washed away with some magical, corrective loofah as the birds are freed from their hearts only to land in the hedges surrounding their families. But then again, maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm alone behind my little protective wall, grumbling while I bring in the sheets that obviously had to be washed due to blood stains. But I don't think so.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.