This year's 4th of July was no different from any other. We went to the parade in the morning with some friends. Joshua had a blast picking up candy as the parade walkers threw them to the ground (some just seem to enjoy whacking Tootsie Rolls at innocent bystanders!). Even though it was drizzling during the parade, it did not damper the spirits of these proud Americans! Following the parade, we went to a friend's house for a BBQ, and later that evening, we went to the festival right down the street from us. Very typical of our annual activities on the 4th!
However, my holy moment came later that night during the fireworks. We have an awesome view of the fireworks from our bedroom window. We could literally lay in bed and watch the whole fanfare! This year, we wanted Joshua to enjoy it with us. We woke him up at 9:50pm since the fireworks started at 10. Jenna was asleep in her crib, so it was just the 3 of us on our bed. We turned the lights off, and Jared had Joshua in his lap. I was sitting behind them, close enough that I could wrap my arms around my boys. As the fireworks started and lit up the night-time sky with dazzling colors and spectacular displays of light explosions, my eyes became fixed on the silhouette of Jared and Joshua instead. I don't know what it was (probably the Holy Spirit!), but I started tearing up. I felt like the richest, most blessed person on the face of the earth. Here, I have my beloved husband and son, and just a feet away, a beautiful baby girl sleeping soundly in her crib. Something inside me stirred, and I desperately wanted to capture that moment and etch it into my memory and my soul. In this beautiful scene of my family and the fireworks in the background, I felt like God was showing me how much He loved me. I could almost hear Him say, "See these good and perfect gifts...see Jared, Joshua, and Jenna...you've prayed about this your whole life, and here before you is your heart's desire - a family of your own, to love, and to be loved by. Love them well, as I love you. Enjoy them, cherish them...relish in my goodness to you because I love you." As I stared at Jared and Joshua, and the twinkling in Joshua's eyes as he oohed and aahed at the fireworks dancing in the sky, and Jared held him close, head touching head, I closed my eyes and took a mental picture to store in my memory...and prayed wholeheartedly that I would remember this picture forever. I prayed a prayer of heartfelt gratitude to God who continues to lavish me with perfect gifts.
Yes, the 4th of July is a celebration of freedom. I celebrate the One who gives this freedom to us!
Our first 4th of July as a family of 4!