I wrote this post yesterday morning and yet I did not publish it because the festivities of the day happily grabbed my attention…so…happy 4th – one day late!
July 4th. My husband rose at 4:45 a.m. this morning to reserve a picnic table at our favorite river park, the Island. Victor has done this for our family and friends since we moved to our home nearly 16 years ago…a blessing. The 4th is a day of celebration we both feel is worth the effort and preparation it takes to create a space to enjoy fellowship and fun.
Though it is an annual tradition for our family, our tradition is changing in that we are missing Grant & Lauren, Dustin and our friends far away. And, what a joy it is to connect by phone and social media to hear and see the experiences they enjoy in creating spaces, trips and celebrations of their own. I hold both the feelings of missing them and the joy of blessing their “independence”, knowing we are connected in heart. Kindness for my heart today will include embracing my reality that both are true.
In a couple of hours, I will join the rest of our crew to gather food, tubes, games and decorations to head to a beautiful river surrounding a small piece of land that I consider one of God’s many blessings in my life. It is a glimpse of Heaven, a gift I am thankful for with its picnic tables, volleyball court, canoes, diving boards and refreshingly cold water to tame the Texas heat. And, most of all, I am grateful for a community of people who will come together to enjoy and celebrate the freedoms we’ve received, fought for by brave men and women in our military.
I am also mindful today of those who are living in spaces here and abroad who have lost their families, their freedoms and/or their rights to enjoy their freedoms. I feel the ache in my heart for justice to reign in the spiritual battle for all in our world to know the love and freedom in Christ. Holding both the joy of blessing and the ache, I pray today:
Thank you for the many blessings you have provided me through the people and places I am free to enjoy. Thank you for my husband, family and friends both near and far and your many blessings I receive through their presence in my life. Please Lord, help me in my longings for justice to remember you have provided your love and freedom for all our needs through your son, Jesus.
For our country, Lord, I pray gratitude and thanks for the many men and women who have fought for our freedoms. Please pour your spirit of mercy, love and grace into their lives and into their families lives and where there has been loss, may your presence and comfort bring healing. May your spirit of justice and mercy reign in our communities, cities, government and nation.
And for our world, Father, thank you that you are in control of every detail. You have placed an ache in my heart for all to come to know your love and the gift of your salvation. Please unite our hearts by your spirit and make us into one nation under you, God.
And Father, I especially cry out to you for those who are suffering the evils of sex trafficking. I am asking for your Mercy, Father, that all involved will come to know liberty and freedom in Christ Jesus. Please raise up a harvest of warriors everywhere, especially in our communities and Churches, God, to pray and join in the fight to bring your love and good news to all involved.
Thank you for celebration and for the ache Jesus!
Praise and Honor and Glory to you, Father.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16