Tonight I laid back on a quilt on the hill beside UNTs Apogee Stadium and waited for fireworks. My 10-year-old son played quietly beside me. I had actually dreaded this moment all day. I dread this particular holiday. It’s too hot, too hectic, too laden with grief, too everything. But once upon a time, it was my favorite.
I’ll give “the story” in a highlight reel – just enough where you get the gist and I save myself some added grief. I hate talking about this part of my life.
July 3, 2011 – my boyfriend was supposed to get off a plane from Ohio and spend a long holiday weekend with me and meet my kids and my parents – only he never arrived. I was literally sick with worry. I worried until I got a call the next morning saying he was in the hospital. But in the end – turns out it was a lie. This guy I’d spent a few months long-distance dating, shared a long wekeend with in Columbus, Ohio, and who had my heart was married. It was just too much. The downward spiral of this moment wrecked my life for a long, long time. But I don’t wanna talk about that.
So the 4th of July hasn’t been great for a few years – until tonight. As I laid there watching clouds swim by overhead I thought back over the events of 2011 and realized:
This year finally feels different. Better. I feel content.
An unexpected breeze refreshed me, the sequence of spectacular skies at sunset was the prettiest I’ve seen in a long while. In these simple moments, God redeemed and restored what was once lost and shattered.
I realized it didn’t even matter that people I’d wanted to share tonight with hadn’t shown up. I learned that I truly am okay on my own. God’s timing is perfect.
In fact, even my son had a huge moment where he got brave enough to go play football with some guys. He usually shies away from sports. Tonight was a huge win over the anxiety that usually accompanies Dyspraxia. (Thanks Mark from Krugerville, TX for stepping up and spending much-needed guy time with my son. I have no clue who you are, but God knew my boy needed you tonight.)
As my boy snuggled into my lap and we oohed and ahhed at the glittery rain pelted into the night sky, I felt something beautiful.
I felt freedom.
I felt past events shatter and pop and quickly fizzle out while the grandeur of freedom sparkled and shined and showered me with a new hope.
I feel in my heart now more than ever the depth of the promise that what lies ahead of me will outshine all my yesterdays. I stand on the precipice of a fresh, abiding joy and on the promise God gave me of a forever love in the months ahead.
So this is what freedom feels like.
It feels like the grand finale at the fireworks show at Apogee Stadium in my heart tonight.