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Celebrating Independence on the Fourth {Let Freedom Ring}

I heard someone say there’s never been a more uncertain time in our country or a time when we were more divided. I say that’s untrue. Remembering the past always gives me hope for the future.

Having taught U.S. history this past year, our country is paved with uncertain times yet the spirit of freedom and justice some how always lined the streets bringing hope in the end.

I’m really not worried about what is to come because there really have been awful presidents before who shockingly left even my children’s jaws dropped as they learned of their policies and actions. Yet without fail America’s people always came together to fight and stand for what was good and right. Consider the man many will talk about today–who gets credit for being the principle author of the Declaration of Independence for example. (Oh Jefferson–you may have been an American Founding Father—but anyone who spends an afternoon reading Jefferson’s Sons and digging deep into other things this president stood for–and I must say you will be left equally if not far more disappointed with dear Thomas than the histories of the candidates you have to choose from.

I really believe that the Lord is over even the bad presidents and their decisions. I really do; And seeing God’s faithfulness in the past gives me so much hope for our country’s future.

This practice of digging deep into the reality of the past–remembering not only the good but also the stories and times that seemed hopeless–remembering how each and every circumstance was overcome–gives me so much hope each and every morning in my own personal walk as well.

As we celebrate our country–it reminds me of celebrating our children’s birthdays. I can’t help but start each birthday reflecting on that child’s past. I remember how God was faithful to each of them. I have become a mommy through carrying children in my own tummy as well as through adoption–so with our 6 children…I have much to reflect on…

I’ve left a baby in the NICU and felt the separation a mom feels leaving her baby who was meant to come home with her. And I watched that boy receive an award as the top offensive player for his soccer team.

I’ve signed papers to bring a boy home that they said might not make it home…later making the best friends in physical therapy sessions hoping he would walk–to see him fly in the air as a goalie and beat his big brothers in relay races leaving us all wiping away tears remembering how far he has come.

Motherhood hasn’t always come easy to me either. I’ve also wiped away tears in the passenger’s seat on the way home from the doctor’s office when the heartbeat stopped on an ultrasound. Years later…here I sit just trying to type reflections on today are only possible after asking my husband if he could just hold the baby for a few minutes while I jot some thoughts down on my blog about God’s faithfulness…remembering the God of my past–which inevitably leaves my heart in a personal revival celebrating who He is and trusting Him bigger for my future.

This practice has radically changed how I live fueling me every day to live bolding and bravely as I trust Him for whatever the day brings.

If you want to be filled with hope for the Lord in your personal life and for what is ahead–remember the God of the past and all the hard you may have faced–but don’t just sit in the hard. See and remember how the Lord walked you through it, what He taught you in it and how He delivered you from it.

What a beautiful way to spend today as we celebrate our country’s birthday remembering those who fought for our freedom making this day a day we celebrate with the booming sounds not of guns…but of fireworks. Yes–there are stories of guns that break our hearts but they don’t break us a people standing together. We still have so far to go–but if you take a quick glance of history–we have always had far to go.

And it’s my prayer that we stand together for what is good, right and just–as we have in the past and trust the God of our future and stand in His faithfulness without worry or fear of what is to come.

This transforming practice was also practiced in Biblical times…

The Israelites remembered the past and His faithfulness through stones. On the very field where the Israelites had once experienced defeat–they asked God to help them and they were led to a miraculous victory. Their leader Samuel built a memorial of stones and named it Ebenezer “stone of help” so they would always remember what happened there and how God helped them. Every time they pasted these stones, they would remember what happened there and how the Lord fought for them.

Our flag serves as our country’s Ebenezer. It reminds us of battles fought, states won, lives lost. Every stripe–every star…placed not just by a few stitches but with brothers, sons, husbands and fathers.

And something really powerful happens in our own hearts when we remember the God of our own past as we start each day knowing the God of our future is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

For me–my Ebenezer is…as trivial and crazy as it might sound–well…it’s TimeHop.

I start many mornings looking at pictures that pop up.  I don’t just look at them but I try to remember what those “stars and stripes” really mean and where I was in those days that pop up in those pictures.

Today it was the video of a Ukrainian girl singing–who we hosted through a orphanage hosting program. She was singing a Christian song on the video with the words to Jesus “YOU are where I belong”. Wow. At the time–four years ago today…thank you TimeHop–she was completely displaced in our country where she didn’t know the language yet something within her was singing. Trusting. Believing that with just Jesus she had enough–wherever He leads her was where she found belonging. Fast forward to today. That precious girl is in a family, adopted by friends we love, deeply loved herself, a high school graduate, about to start college, working a job this summer, in love with Jesus still believing and trusting with a history that some of us will never experience…my gracious–reflecting on that leaves me in a revival of my own!

Today I’ll start Independence Day remembering what it stood for and being thankful for what the stars and stripes really stand for.

And in my own life–I embrace this single practice and continue to start my day with my Ebenezer…remembering God’s faithfulness.  This practice has personally transformed my own walk, how I live and how I will choose to say “yes” to however He leads because I’ve seen His faithfulness in the past and want to trust Him more with my future. This practice is truly where my freedom is found. And today I start my day dancing remembering all He has done! Let freedom ring on my heart chants ready to start another day!

Freedom…oh freedom.

Freedom is found not by mere words saying you are free…or having it written or signed on paper. History teaches us that some times even the ones who write or say the words don’t really believe or live them. But it’s living in freedom that changes every thing.

Freedom is found when the heart no longer lives in fear of future. It is with bravery and releasing fear soldiers won our freedom–and it’s with bravery and releasing fear we find freedom in Christ.

Let freedom ring wherever you are today–and may you really live as you look at your Ebenezers–whatever they might be–remember the God of your past and His faithfulness–and with THAT new found freedom–trust Him big for whatever is ahead.

Happy Independence Day!