July 5, 1992
It had been almost ten months since I said “I do”. My husband and I had a beautiful wedding; we bought our first house; and we were officially adults. The first night in our new home, we stood in the driveway and waved good-bye to our parents.
We stayed. They left. How weird. We were doing this adult married thing.
I remember, as a little girl, thinking how wonderful it would be when I grew up and could “do anything I wanted to”. Yeah, that was lame. New marriage. New home. New life season. We were perfectly primed for crisis.
Not all crises are bad. A crisis is simply a moment, a season, where you stand at a crossroad. You have to decide which road to take. If you’re lucky, you will only have 2-3 choices. But most crises happen because there are too many choices and we become overwhelmed.
I was overwhelmed.
I didn’t know this adult life would come so soon. And now it was here and I felt unprepared. The more it weighed on me, the more I felt crushed under it all. Ending my life seemed like one of the better solutions I had contemplated. But somewhere, buried under the weight of depression and overwhelming anxiety, there was a glimmer of hope.
A seed had been planted in my spirit that God loved me. And I really wanted to believe it.
A seed had been planted in my spirit that God loved me…and I really wanted to believe it. A family member had shared with us how Jesus had recently changed their life. They kept talking about His love and grace and goodness. I wanted to believe they were telling me the truth. So, I took a chance.
On July 5, 1992, I went to church. I had so little church background and really didn’t know anything about God. During communion, I knelt and told God that I was giving Him permission to direct my steps, and I asked Him to help me understand “who this Jesus guy was”. It was a simple, heartfelt cry to God for help. And, boy, did He show up!
The only thing I knew about religion was that the Bible talked about Jesus in the Gospels. I knew that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were about the life of Christ. That was it. So I went home from church, made some coffee, and opened the Bible someone had given us for Christmas. I began to read in the Gospel of John…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
I read it…again and again. How could this be? How is it that I have never known? Jesus is God. And God walked among us; He spoke and ate and laughed and danced and wept…among us. He loved and lost and offered us mercy…and freedom…and life.
I jumped for joy! No, really. No one else was home. And then I wept for joy. And my life was never the same.
Jesus is the real reason we have independence today. He is the real reason we celebrate freedom. I know this is not a “religious” holiday, but it is for me. For me, Independence Day is a celebration of real freedom. It is the only freedom that matters. So when you light the sparklers and fire up the BBQ, offer up a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who gives you real freedom.
Happy Independence Day, my friend!