The last time I truly celebrated this holiday of Freedom and Independence was the eve of my mother's death. We may have had the best party we've ever hosted.....the neighborhood fireworks just over our house were spectacular and we all had a blast until the wee hours of the morning. I was woken up on the 5th by a stunned and shocked husband who didn't know how to tell me that my mom had died in her sleep the night before.
I have not celebrated the 4th since.....not properly anyway. It has been 7 years. I carry guilt that my family misses out on celebrations...fireworks....but as much as my husband craves more social activity and strives to push me, as gently as he is able, to create new happy memories....I seem to just get stuck at this time of year. Its not conscious.....but seemingly independent of my own choice. My spirit remembers before I do I think. I find myself as the day approaches and wondering why....."that time of the month?" I ask myself.....many times I don't figure it out until the calendar makes that connection a day or two before.
But....I know that the Lord blesses us through trials.....He stretches and grows us into being more than we were. I am stronger and more capable. When my mother was alive my independence was wound around her approval. I moved through grief and confusion and one of the darkest seasons of my life to find freedom and independence. Neither are easily gained......both are a process and sometimes a war is needed to break free.
This morning I almost feel as if He has allowed a new ray of light to shine on this event in my life. So often I tell people that if you take a hurt or situation and you can just turn it on it's side and examine it from a different angle/perspective, it looks so much different. Many times it's much less menacing.....sometimes the loveliness buried inside of it just spills out and the blessing is discovered right there at your feet.
While I miss my mother terribly.....and all too often I have that moment where I look around at my life and wish she were standing next to me to see it all....to see my kids and love on them the way a grandmother should.....I love the Lord for His wisdom. I don't blame Him and have never been angry at Him. I know without a trace of doubt that He loves me without hesitation and His vantage point of my life is so much bigger and better than mine. He knows best. He knew that the only way I would become independent in life was to be independent of her. He knew that the bond we had held me back, that fear of her disapproval put chains on me that He didn't desire me to carry.
He knew what was necessary for my freedom to become a reality....there was a time of being carried through.....and then my loving Father set me back down and walked beside me through the war that waged for my soul. He made me, He knew I was strong enough....He knew I would be silent for a while and He knew when I would cry out for Him. He knew I would walk away with sharp edges and would need time to be aware that those places had formed within me and then ask Him to help soften them again.
He knew that without her I'd be capable of more than with her. She was a good mother, she loved me so much she put me at the center of her universe.....I have wonderful memories and He has blessed me with her laugh. Jesus is all too aware of the goodness that comes out of trial and pain. It's how He purchased our freedom. He knows that we need to fight for ourselves sometimes.....that while we are already free, there are still battles to be fought and chains to be broken to be aware of the freedom we really have. To claim it as our own.
Today is the anniversary of our nations independence.......but for me....this might just be more than an anniversary of missing and grief......but an anniversary of growth, freedom and my own independence.
Today I need to learn to claim this gift. To see it as He intended it.....what is best for His child.....that I am no longer who I was. I am better. Stronger. Independent. Free.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yolk of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Happy Independence Day.
With love and blessings,