“Celebrating our Independence and our Dependence on God”
This is what I heard when I turned on my radio to Air1 (101.7 FM) yesterday. I can’t even tell you who said it but it certainly struck a chord with me. As we watched the fireworks I still thought about that statement. “Celebrating our independence and our dependence on God.” Really, the two go hand in hand. July 4th celebrates the Independence Day of USA, when in 1776, the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, separate from the British Empire. The day is celebrated by fairs, and picnics and fireworks. Even as we celebrate this day, I want to take the opportunity to do celebrate a bit more.
1. Thank you to all the men and women who dedicate their lives to protecting our independence.
We often take for granted the people who serve in the armed forces, the police, the firefighters and all who serve on the frontline to protect us. I thank their families who sometimes have to make the ultimate sacrifice when their loved ones are maimed or killed. I think of the impact on families when a mom or dad is away at war and the kids are being raised by a single parent or grandparents for that matter. That is where the dependence on God comes in. The God who protects family members on the frontlines and provides for family members at home.
2. Thank God for all the freedoms we enjoy
We live in a country where we are free to worship, we have freedom of speech and so many other freedoms that we enjoy. We as parents should encourage our children not to take these liberties for granted but to respect them and thank God that we have them. Teens should not use their independence to misbehave but should be taught to respect and live by the laws of the land. They should also be taught that being independent does not mean disrespecting their parents or other figures of authority but should abide by the family values they’ve been raised with. Being independent comes with responsibilities and our teens should realize that our independence came at a great price and that means respecting and upholding true values and living to help others too.
3. Celebrating our dependence on God
We serve a God, who gives us our independence. Faith in God is not forced on anyone. We are given our free will to choose to believe but today, I truly celebrate my dependence on God. I always tell my teens that you can’t predict what is going to happen even in the next five minutes. How then can you believe that you are in total control of your life? Nobody is in control of their own destiny. We make our plans, but do we have absolute control in implementing them? That has not been so in my life. We recently went through a very difficult family crises and we did all we could to correct the situation. But we totally depended on God to protect us and guide us through that difficult time. We had our freedom to do our best but our dependence on God kept us sane and gave us hope that all will ultimately be well.
4. Teaching teens dependence on God
As our teens celebrate their independence, we as parents should also teach them about depending on God. Our teens learn the most from how we live our lives, more than from anything we say. Sometimes, teens go through a period where they believe they have all the answers and they are in control of their lives. It’s very difficult for parents to stand by and watch their teens make significant errors in judgement all in the name of celebrating their independence. As hard as it is to let go, sometimes we just have to, all the while still praying for their protection and their revelation that independence comes with responsibility. With time they will realize that ultimate power and independence comes with dependence on God.
“This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” — Lyndon B. Johnson