"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25 NIV
Happy Fourth of July!
Another holiday is coming up quickly. I find the Fourth of July to be one holiday I do not look forward to. I don't dread it, but I certainly do not anticipate its arrival either.
Sure, there is lots of fun to be had by all. Barbeque, family, and friends, a time for relaxing and sharing in good company. For some, there is swimming and a picnic. for others, camping is the way they like to celebrate their holiday.
We love to celebrate our country's independence. Freedom, glorious freedom. Then, the evening closes with a beautiful display of dazzling fireworks. Children light their sparklers and laughter fills the air.
Did I mention the food? Barbequed meats, potato salad, watermelon, icecream, and my favorite, red, white and blue jello cake.
There is so much reason to celebrate, so why am I being such a Debbie-Downer? It's not that I'm depressed at all. I just find that the Fourth of July in particular brings with it an extra sense of tension for me. It tries my nerves and my patience more than any other holiday.
For one thing, I have a dog that doesn't like it much either. She begins a month before the actual holiday hiding under the table from the early-bird fireworks being set off in our neighborhood. She barks and puffs and whines. Even her doggie CBD oil bisquits do little to calm her nerves.
Holidays Can Be Stressful for Families with Struggling Loved Ones
For families with struggling children or loved ones, the holidays can be difficult to get through, especially if our loved one will not be joining us this year. This may be either by their choice or our decision, but regardless of why they are not here, we wish they were. We do our best to embrace those who are present and make cherished memories without them. (Not an easy task, I might add.)
For those daring enough to invite their prodigal home for the holidays, it brings with it the stress of wondering if they can get through just one holiday without an argument or family drama. I honor you, brave ones.
Maybe my reservations surrounding this holiday are not really because of those darn fireworks, the neurotic dog, or the stress of all the preparation. I think deep down inside, it's just that there seems to be such an innocence lost, an innocence of days past that there is no returning to.
I miss the tender days of my children's youth. I could make the holidays special for them. I was able to keep them safe and secure around those fireworks. All my mommy-knows-best warnings were actually listened to by obedient little ears. But as they grew up, the warnings began to fall on deaf ears.
Choices they now make have more dire consequences than swimming too soon after gorging on watermelon or running with a sparkler in their hands. Some of these choices have cost them, and us, dearly. The family unit as we know it has changed. Celebrations and holidays just look and feel differently.
How To Handle the Holidays When Your Heart Is Not In It
So, how do we face the holidays when some just get on our nerves a little more than others?
Proverbs 31:25 gives us some wise counsel.
First, we are clothed with strength. In the Hebrew, strength means "boldness," "might," or “power." This is not physical strength. It is strength in our souls and minds and hearts. The Lord has equipped us with strong character. We may not always feel strong, but He has given us an inner strength to handle even the toughest of situations, as well as the toughest holidays, I might add.
Next,we are clothed with dignity and honor. I love this one. It means "beauty," "majesty," "excellence," "splendor." This means we are able to be strong and honorable in the most difficult of circumstances with minds that are tranquil and calm. We are clothed with spiritual, emotional, and mental fortitude. We are strong from the inside out, armed and ready for the most stressful family gatherings.
Please, stay with me!
Finally, we can laugh at days to come! Yes, I know the present seems a bit challenging, but we have the promise of a future we can look forward to! We will be with our Lord, and on that day, fireworks will seem like smoldering ashes!
She Can Laugh At Days to Come
The day we see Jesus face to face will be our True Independence Day. We can face today with strength and dignity even when we don't feel like it because we know Jesus is with us and will give us what we need to handle it like the strong women he has created us to be. We can laugh at our future because it is guaranteed! And that is one big reason to celebrate!
As we look forward to this holiday, let's honor the men and women who fought for our freedom, remembering those who died for it as well. Let's celebrate knowing that Jesus died for our spiritual freedom and that of our loved ones as well.
He has fully prepared us for this occasion by his grace! It really is a holiday to celebrate afterall. Happy Fourth of July!