Monday, July 4, 2011


As the 4th of July is halfway to its close, I've been thinking a lot about what this freedom of living in the United States means to me.   It's funny how becoming a parent makes you think more purposely about traditions and ideas that you've grown up with in a new way.  4th of July has always brought about the same images in my mind - Songkhla (Vu) Winter's birthday, the annual gospel meeting in Sulphur, OK and fireworks.  Nothing more, nothing less. Songkhla was a very dear friend growing up and I always thought it was so fun that she was Vietnamese and her birthday was on the 4th of July.  To my recollection, I never missed going to the Sulphur meeting until I got married.  And fireworks, well, pretty much go without saying.

Today, though, I'm reminded of my grandfather J.D. Elmore and the Statue of Liberty.  There is a story of him returning from World War II and watching the statue come into sight.  Being away from his family and in the midst of a war, the statue's picture of freedom was much needed safety and reassurance of being home.  The safety of home is a multi-faceted idea, but one that should be appreciated everyday, but at very least today.

The reason Americans celebrate this day is because it marked the beginning of our freedom as a country.  As I seek to grow and as Jude gets older, I want freedom to mean more than that to us.  U.S. freedom is great, but personal freedom from ugly burdens of this life is even greater.  Addictions, dysfunctional relationships, lies, debts, and the many consequences of sin do not have to be mine. That is what freedom really means to me.  Celebrating freedom doesn't even mean I can do whatever I want.  Freedom means to be free from ugly, destructive things in order to live in beauty and growth!

When a sacrifice has been made to ensure your freedom (physical or spiritual), that sacrifice is dishonored and devalued when you live a shameful or destructive life.  Freedom isn't about doing whatever you want, but about making the sacrifice that's been made worthwhile in you.

"When in the course of human events..."

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