Today in America it is Independence Day, also known as the 4th of July. It is a day off for many, marked by picnics, bbq's, pool parties, apple pie, and hot dogs.
Historically it is the day when the Declaration of Independence was signed. 56 men, in effect, signed their lives to that document. They become traitors to the King. They were no longer wanting British rule or protection. John Hancock signed it big, he knew there was no going back, nor did he want to. Many of these men lost fortunes because of this, some lost the most; they lost their lives. We can never underestimate the incredible sacrifice these men made to forge a new nation. Nor should we ignore the months and years of discussion, contemplation, concern, and for many, prayer that went in to this decision. It was life altering as well for every person living in this country at that time.
This morning my husband sat our boys down and talked about the Declaration. A copy hangs on our living room wall. It was signed 241 years ago. 56 names are inscribed on it. I often look at those names boldly signed. Who can possibly comprehend the feelings of these men as they did so?
Great freedoms come at great cost.
How many millions of men and women world wide have lost their lives in the quest for freedom? Freedom from tyranny, oppression, and evil.
Maintaining freedom has taken a lot of work and sacrifice since that original Declaration. It took a civil war to gain the freedoms of the slaves, and continual battles since then to maintain and expand those freedoms.
Our country has battled for our rights as well as the rights of others, something that I'm grateful for as a citizen.
When I think about this, I cannot help but see a parallel.
Our Savior gave Himself so we could have freedom from the wages of sin. He gave Himself up at great cost. Maintaining our freedom from sin takes work. It takes us each and every day choosing to continue on the path we have chosen in following our Savior.
It comes as we battle the sins that do so easily beset us. Sins of coveting that which our neighbor has, the sin of turning away someone in need, the sin of bearing false witness against a neighbor, or killing someone's reputation or their chance of success for our own gain.
I think a lot about our Founding Fathers. While they were imperfect men, I believe they had great intentions and they were willing to put their lives on the line for it.
I've been asking myself today what I want to declare independence from.
I declare independence from the false notion that I have to be perfect and that my family needs to be perfect.
I declare independence from thinking my best efforts aren't good enough, because someone else could do it better.
I declare independence from lack of faith. From lacking the faith that God will indeed help me make it through this life.
I declare independence from thinking that I'm not enough. Like the widow's mites, my little bit given from the best in me will always be enough.
I declare independence from the fear of raising my children. Each day I worry that I'm not doing enough to teach them, guide them, be patient with them.
I can declare this independence today because like our Founding Fathers, I believe it is the right thing to do. It is time to sign my name with a big flourish and trust that my Father has this all in His hands. That each and every day I can let go of my fears and grasp on to faith and trust. What I hope to see happen may not, but if I turn my life to his hands, He can definitely steer me through what needs to happen in my life.
Each and every day it is my battle to align myself with Him and what He would have me do.
As I do this, I know I cannot go wrong.
Knowing that gives me freedom!
What will you declare independence from?
Today and every day, I wish you a happy Independence Day!