July is just around the corner, a month that used to be a childhood favorite with 4th of July celebrations of parades lined with colorful floats and marching high school bands, the oohs and ahs while watching amazing firework displays explode and cascade into the brightest colors high in the ink sky, baseball games, watermelon, family fun…everything that is summer. The past several years, however, have made me a bit apprehensive as it nears.
Experiences will do that. Alter the way one sees things. Kind of the same way an opinion forms around a name because of someone you once knew with that name.
Or the way I can get squeamish in a hospital because of something that is reminiscent of an unpleasant memory.
Too many painful events began happening each July several years ago, and I realized the approach of the last couple found me holding my breath in fear.
Wishing an entire month quickly away. Waiting…waiting…until the last day arrived and I could breathe a little bit easier. Walk a little bit lighter.
This year it occurred to me, whether it was a God moment or spiritual experience is up for interpretation. Either one is God speaking to me through life experiences. Using what He knows will get my undivided attention.
That deeply embedded fear is nothing but lack of faith in a God who can orchestrate all aspects from those too small to see to those that can seem larger than life itself.
Rather than wait for the bad to happen, allowing fear and anxiety to entwine its tentacles into every area of my life, I can give thanks for what I have, placing my focus on good and God.
A Good God. All powerful God.
If something happens that is unpleasant, I can know and be secure in the knowledge that God can, and will, take me through it if I allow Him. I can be grateful for the opportunity to practice leaning on Him. An opportunity to practice perseverance.
When good things happen, which He makes sure does for His children, free of self-involved fear, I can be fully present to be aware of and enjoy it, rather than miss it while in the throes of wishing the month away.
And what an amazing opportunity to get some good quality writing done. When emotions are raw, whether joy or pain, is when the most poignant writing is created. The most memorable stories. Words that flow from a heart that is beating and feeling the pulse of life.
I will likely remember the near-death accident involving my child, but I will celebrate the fact that he is still with me. Whole and healthy. Because of a loving God who rescued him, knowing his mom had a whole lot of love to lavish on him.
Rather than feel pain at the sight of a dragonfly, a symbol so important to a lost loved one, I can look at it as a sign from a loving God that my loved one is still around me. Free.
I will strive to help victims of crime, giving them empathy and compassion as only one who has experienced it can. And I will celebrate the fact that I am a blessed survivor. Because of a loving God who cares about me so much He saved me from what could have been.
I will remember a lost family pet, loved as no other pet ever was, and be grateful we found such a wonderful shelter dog to rescue and love.
This July, rather than wait for it to close, the curtains down, I will truly live, love, and experience every moment, every day as a new story to be told and lived.
Grace to You.