Friday, July 4, 2014

the 4th.

If ever there is a time to revel in history, cherish tradition, and celebrate the company of friends and family around a smoking BBQ, it's Independence Day. Although this is the first time I find myself out of the good ole U.S. of A. for her birthday, I still feel more than ready to throw on my party hat, albeit with a homesick tear or two (okay…a bit more than that).

Mom used to tell me that when discontentment or self focus sets in, it's the perfect to start praying for the needs of others and thanking God for the beauty and devastation alike. So this morning, as I marched out the door to kick off the daily routine and began to feel sorry for myself, I bowed my head. 

And off like a shot in the dark, a deep gratitude sparked in my heart. 

I stopped in at the bakery; the one that always smells like Nana's Christmas cookies. Maybe the red, white, and blue sprinkles were the give away, but the lady behind the counter said, "You're American, aren't you?". Then her eyes softened as she continued, "It's your country's birthday and I've seen those firework celebrations; I know they are beautiful and you must miss it. But congratulations and happy birthday." 

And like a firecracker bursting into the night sky, joy illuminated.  

A few minutes later, the door swung open to the rescue home and I peeked around that first corner for familiar faces. Almost immediately, I was near wrestled to the ground with bear hugs, plentiful kisses on my cheeks and a chorus of "I missed you's". Tears stung my eyes. But they openly flowed when one of the girls cupped my face in her palms and others fit their little hands into mine. 

And that was it. 
Like the grand finale that we always clapped and cheered for as our voices became hoarse and ears rang. 

Today was a little different than the traditions I'm used to. But no doubt about it, I witnessed one of the brightest, most brilliant displays of God's grace and tender care in the hurting places of my heart. 

Happy 4th, friends. 

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