Thursday, January 18, 2018

Free Indeed!

July 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Manna

When I think of freedom, my mind immediately ‘sees’ bright colored sparklers and I even imagine hearing big booming fireworks, the kind from the 4th of July.

This summer I had the privilege of working in the craft area at a Christian camp for special needs people in Illinois. In a couple of days I’ll be traveling to Wisconsin to spend another week as an actual caregiver for a group of women. I am super excited about this.

My first week at camp opened my eyes to another definition of freedom. Freedom is the ability to take off and run (or just plain walk) if I so choose. Freedom is bringing a spoon or fork to my mouth at a dinner table without even thinking about the process involved. It’s taking care of my own bathroom needs and not having to depend on anyone else. That is freedom.

Many of the guests at camp didn’t have these freedoms. Some were bound to wheelchairs, yet because of the wheelchairs, they had mobility. Some had to communicate with electronic devices, yet to them – that was freedom.

Can you imagine being locked in a body with an average to high intelligence but no ability to let anyone know you have to go to the bathroom? A man at camp had a master’s degree but there was no way anyone could tell that by looking at him. He was paralyzed and unable to speak. Looks are so stinking deceiving. How many times have we been told this fact yet until we come face-to-face with a real live demonstration, we just don’t get it.

Jesus showed up in Carlinville, Illinois. I saw Him in each smile. I saw Jesus in each caregiver as they literally and figuratively washed the guest’s feet. Jesus set us all free. Without Him, it might be hard to smile as we pulled up shorts after bathroom breaks or as we woke up extra early so everyone had time to shower and get going in the morning. In Him, smiles were in abundance all week long.

It really does help to get out of our comfort zones to see what ‘normal’ is to others. It helps us to appreciate the freedoms we have – in our bodies and in our country. I would recommend a mission trip or volunteering at a special needs camp. It truly is life-changing and exposes us to freedoms that we truly take for granted.

As we celebrate our freedoms today, let’s add to it thankfulness for freedoms that we might normally take for granted.

“So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)

I am a middle-aged wife of 28 years and mother of three – two adult children and one eighteen-year-old son who is starting college in the fall. In. The. Fall. I believe this moves me into the empty-nester category, right?

My life and the life of my family drastically changed about nine years ago when I developed a headache that never went away and grew in intensity. I was eventually diagnosed with Intracranial Hypertension, after an extensive search on my part for an answer. Living with chronic pain seeks to consume a person’s life; my struggle is to not let it define who I am, and trust me, that is a constant struggle.

I love writing. God led me to Faithwriters where I have grown my skills and also found my very best friends. I like reaching out in electronic form and giving of myself in my blog, Between the Storms, and a group blog, Jewels of Encouragement, where I am a contributing author. I am also a teacher’s aide at a high school. Each day is a challenge but it’s also very exciting and fulfilling. The best part: I get summers off! God has given me strength and incredible family and friends to keep me pressing on towards what He has for me.

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