It wasn’t July 4th. No one was decked out in stars and stripes or eating apple pie. The Star Spangled Banner wasn’t ringing in anyone’s ears and most likely no one was giving small children sticks of explosive fire to carry around.
But it was Independence Day.
It was a day to celebrate the breaking free from imperialism in Southeast Asia. To stand and recognize the hard work and painful transition of standing on your own and mostly succeeding.
So they played Cricket. (The second most popular sport in the world.) Just like we would play baseball. And when the call came to sponsor the game? Shama Woman answered.
In God’s divine sweetness our own Shama Women leader was asked to speak because of the sponsorship. He talked about freedom.
Because it was Independence Day.
But they aren’t really the same are they? Freedom and Independence? Standing alone doesn’t mean you are running free.
We know we can easily be standing on our own two feet and still completely shackled in place. Held by forces far stronger than a military force and some outpost we are taken captive by our own history, our choices, or the intense pressure of expectation.
But he didn’t talk about Independence. He talked about freedom.
That, my friends, is a different thing entirely. Freedom is not about where you live. It can’t be taken away and it can’t be bestowed by human hands. Freedom comes only when we know that we know that we know that we are loved. Wholly and completely loved.
John 3:16 loved. When we don’t have to strive for approval or wrestle to break from our past and our choices. True freedom is when grace comes down and reminds us that we are loved.
So he spoke freedom and it rang through hearts. It woke up souls. Freedom does that you know.
And those souls came seeking. They wanted to know…how do we get there?
How do we get free? How do we lead people to freedom?
And he answered with these wise words, “Start where you are.”
Freedom starts here. It starts now.
It’s not a distant battlefield or long official documents. It isn’t a non-profit or a church program. It starts with each of us. And spreads to those nearest us. We all get to walk to freedom grabbing hands along the way.
It starts with bedtime prayers and morning devotions. It starts in dorm rooms or cuddled up on the couch. It starts right here. Right now. With you on the computer.
It starts with a chance to let a woman across the world know that she is loved. By reaching out from right where you are. By praying for her freedom. By praying for her friends, her family, and her life. Freedom starts here by helping her here the truth of Jesus’ love.
Would you prayerfully consider contributing to Shama Women? When the freedom bell rings we want you helping pull the rope!
Kaylie Hodges is a writer, wife, mother, and a small-town girl with a preacher’s heart and a mission to scatter light. Find her at kayliehodges.com.