The beautifully, cliché songs, celebrations and honors of the fourth of July are some of the best. Traditional. Ceremonial. Memorable. I love all of them!
Statistically, July 4th is one of the most traveled times of the year, one of the most interactive family times of the year, and one of the most honorable times of the year in the United States. And rightfully so!! Those who fought (and fight) for the rights of freedom that we have…thank you! (not that words for this are ever enough!)
Interestingly, July 4th is also a well-known, prime, hardship-time of year:
Those who have served in the safety our beautiful country have to face shadows and reminders of the sounds and smells from fears they faced overseas;
Loving parents (of children and pets) have to diligently attempt to hush the flourishing worries, anxieties and sleepless shivers as the sounds arise; (shared beds anyone?)
First responders have to hover on high alert for the safety of others as they long to ensure the safety for family of their own;
Split families, widows, foster youth and service families stare into open seats where they long for glowing, joyous, lights of a loved one rather than the flares of fireworks that shine;
Mental illness lights fuses in a season that fuels alcohol, aggravation and anxiety from hardships;
Financially struggling families gulp the cost of the socially acceptable holiday while internally battling the fight to find the most honors through story-telling memories.
However, in 1776, the 13 colonies that claimed their independence from England brought struggles to their July 4th accomplishment and celebration too. They didn’t get a sudden, 100% life change that day. (Bummer, right?!) Everything didn’t change right then. It wasn’t as black-and-white as they longed for. Instead, life was still a challenge. Work still had to be done. No easy solution for application of the resolution left life demanding.
But… they did have hope. They had freedom. They knew that what they believed could and should happen…would happen. They didn’t know when. They may not have even known how, but, as we replicate in our holiday celebrations, they blindly went forward in faith.
-faith in God’s power and promise to provide protection (Psalm 91) and freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17);
-faith in people;
-faith in America;
-faith in Freedom;
-faith in God’s timing;
-faith in rewards for their works and efforts;
-faith in what would-be. (even if they didn’t see it right then—or even ever in their own lives).
Nonetheless, WE see what their faith brought everyone this holiday. It was through their (and later/current service member’s) faith and work on God’s plan, so strong and so brave, that we are still able to celebrate the 4th today.
As we stand in honor of the exquisiteness of what red, white and blue represent (breathe-taking, really), I pray that those last snap-cracking sounds and radiant firework lights remind you not only of your freedom in this beautiful country but the freedom faith will give you from whatever embedded fears constrain you!
For “now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Have a blessed 4th of July holiday!!!
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