It's been one year today since we officially moved into our VA home.
We've made friends, we've tried several churches, the little ones experienced the first snow they remember (and many others, with a more snow-filled winter than VA is known for!), everybody has gotten a year older, we've enjoyed several visits to and from family (with another one planned next week, yay :)!). Tori and I were able run a table at Daddy's store anniversary in a fundraiser for Penny that we wouldn't have been able to in SC, I've enjoyed several bible studies with friends and family, and, praise the Lord, little Josiah joined our family, and he and Momma are here celebrating with us today!!!!
There has been joy and tears in the last year, blessings... and blessings that we might not realize were blessings until we get to heaven. As Corrie ten Boom once said (paraphrased), "For now we see the underside of the tapestry. But when we stand at God's throne, he will flip it around, and show us that Jesus is King".
The early Americans knew that what they were doing was the will of God during the revolution that lead to the Declaration of Independence (which was actually finalized in August, did you know that?). But most of them didn't want to do it. All they could see was the underside... the side that looked like war and blood and broken family circles. They couldn't see the upside, the side that would have shown them that it was, for sure, all for a purpose. But from their heartache came our freedom. Freedom to do what we want and to believe what we want.
This isn't true everywhere. I don't think we fully realize just how much that freedom means. We just don't seem to fully realize what it would be like to be someone like Miriam Ibrahim, who is being held in prison once again, this time with her whole family, after being let go and trying to leave the country. All because she "is not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
The gospel that tells us of Jesus' suffering, his heartache for our spiritual freedom. His love for you and I. The blessings he bestows.
Because that is really what our freedom is about. Not that we never have any trials. Not that we get to make our own rules. And not that we get to celebrate with fireworks and cookouts.
We'll always have trials. God uses them to grow us. And once he has taught us the lessons he expects us to learn from one, he knows that we are strong enough for another. But we have the freedom to trust him openly in every one of his designs, even when we do not understand. And, more importantly, the freedom, not only in America, but in all the world, to come before his throne in our time of need. To trust him with our cares, and follow the law he has laid down for us, while knowing that nothing we could ever do could earn our freedom, but is an expression of our thankfulness for that gift.
While the celebration of our American freedom is a thing to enjoy, how much greater is the celebration we can enjoy knowing that our Lord is King, and that it doesn't eternally matter how much earthly freedom we have, so long as he calls us his own! And that is truly a freedom worth all of our praise to the one who made us!