This year as July arrived I found myself more excited about the 4th of July than ever before. Why? This is the month that our oldest son will be ending his Middle East deployment. His leave in September of 2017 seems so very long ago, but there has not been a day go by that I have not found myself on the verge of tears thinking about him. Whether listening to a song on the radio while driving to work, watching news on television, talking with his fiancé about their wedding plans, or seeing posts on social media reflecting current events, it seems as though there are constant reminders of the dangers and risks he may be facing. Although receiving a text or Facebook message from him can set my mind at ease, there are many days or weeks that we don’t hear anything (even after sending messages). Of course, my mind tends to jump to the ‘worst case scenario’ and worry sets in. I have even found myself waking up in the middle of the night after becoming overwhelmed with sadness in the middle of a dream about a black limousine pulling into the driveway or battle scenes involving our son being killed. Sometimes I don’t even like to think about going to sleep because my mind seems to become more active with worry and concern for our oldest son than when I’m busy at work.
As a Christian and believer in the fact that God is in control, I have to turn to prayer and my faith to get me through these worrisome moments. It isn’t always easy, but leaning on God for peace and comfort is definitely the only way I can get through. I’ll never forget one of the statements that our son said on the day he left, “Don’t worry, mom, I have Jesus in my heart and am ready for whatever happens.”. He also has held close to a bible verse that he wanted printed on his high school graduation motor board:
Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for my God is with me, …”
Even though he is confident in his faith and God is his Lord, as his mother, I never want to think about losing him. Knowing that he is selflessly giving up his own comfort and security to provide it for his country, his family, his friends, and even strangers, makes me consider the ultimate sacrifice God made by sending Jesus as payment for our sins.
Freedom afforded Americans in our daily lives is truly a blessing provided to us from many generations of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve in the military. I feel very blessed to be an American and never want to take for granted the price that has been paid for my daily freedoms.
I think it is very important for all of us American citizens and Christians to remember that our Freedom is Not Free. Jesus Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice to free us of the bondage of sin and our military heroes have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our daily freedoms. So this 4th of July I pray for a blessed time with family and friends celebrating not only America’s freedom, but also freedom from sin’s control.
On this 4th of July, I challenge you to close your eyes and listen to the following songs/video clips to help reflect on what freedom really means: