Our family recently celebrated the 4th of July with many friends from our church body. This has become our yearly tradition for the last six years. As we were preparing this year, my oldest, Bria, asked if she could be responsible for the decorations. She even wanted to use some of the money that she had saved from babysitting jobs to pay for them. After much discussion of what she wanted to spend and walking the aisles of the local party store, she settled on a few patriotic items, paid for them and then went about decorating the deck, fence and dessert table. My husband also went shopping the same day and brought home two big boxes with plain wrappers. Those went into the cool dark storage room immediately, since they did nothing for the decor. Bria did a lovely job decorating, but once it got dark, everything she did was forgotten by those in attendance since the items from the boxes were now decorating the sky with much pomp and circumstance. After an hour and a half of fireworks, we began the clean up before heading to bed. We had a great time, great fellowship and I look forward to next year. You know, same bat time, same bat channel.
Lately, I've had this song going through my heart when I think about the meaning of freedom and independence.
"I'm free from the fear of tomorrow. I'm free from the guilt of my past. For I've traded my shackles for a glorious song, and I'm free, Praise the Lord, I'm free at last. "
My freedom, although guaranteed in the Preamble to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, can only take me so far. Because it is the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law that sets one free. What does that mean? Let me give an example.
As a child I was very well read, I knew the definition of many words and used them at will. But I did not have understanding of many of the words. Like most people, I learned the words and later learned the true meanings. Words such as "sympathy" and "pleasure" and even "mother". As an adult I grew to understand the words to a depth and feeling. One can know that sympathy means feeling sadness for one another, but when you are sitting with your friend who has lost her father and your heart breaks along with hers, you learn a deeper meaning of the word, a deeper definition. One can know that the word pleasure means sincere happiness and joy, but when you are holding your infant and she smiles her first real smile while looking in your eyes, you understand true pleasure, bliss and joy. One can even know and have a good understanding of the word mother, can even have a fairly deep understanding but once you've sat up for 14 hours straight watching a child sleep while applying compresses to a fevered brow and then later prepared breakfast for the other children in the house and carried the sick child on the hip the entire day to make the sick one feel your presence and love, then you understand what it is to mother.
This is where freedom comes in. I've always known that freedom means not being enslaved to someone or something. But once Holy Spirit illumined (brought light to ) the things that were hindering my freedom, I learned what it meant. When I had been freed from fear, poverty, my past, my pride and sin then I learned what true freedom meant. I live in a state of perpetual freedom that I could never truly have just with our country's democracy. And, while I'm proud to be an American and appreciate all the civil freedoms I have, I am even more grateful to be a Christian and appreciate the spiritual freedoms I have.