We were called to be free. We were not made to be in slavery, but often times we find ourselves in bondage to things that occupy our mind or time, things that take us off track from our purpose.
We were called to be free, but this doesn’t mean we can do whatever we please. God has bigger plans. We are to use our freedom to serve others. That is what any active military is doing right now and what veterans have done in the past. The men and women who fight to keep our country free don’t do it out of selfish ambition. They do it for their mom and dad, brother and sister, friends, classmates, neighbors. They fight for people they don’t even know. They fight for me.
These men and women had a choice, and they decided to use their freedom to serve others. That is an act of love. I am so thankful that there is someone willing to fight for me – to fight to keep America the land of the free and the home of the brave.
It takes tremendous courage to stand up and say yes to the calling to serve our country and go when others won’t. It takes courage to make tough decisions in the line of duty. It takes courage to stand tall in the midst of mediocrity.
When my mind wanders to other things and puts me in bondage from truly fulfilling my purpose, I need to remember what those who came before me have done. I may never be called to active duty, but I am called to be free. And I need to use that freedom as God intended – to serve others with abundant love and with a thankful heart right where I am, right now, because others were willing to serve and fight for me.
I was having a bad day. Things were not falling into place the way I thought they should. Things were not going my way. Because of this, I started getting a “why me?” attitude and had a pity party with only one invite – ME.
My mind started wandering about why things weren’t going right. Maybe I am not good with people. Maybe I said something wrong. Maybe I’m not worthy. All kinds of thoughts flooded my mind, and none of them positive. This started me on a downward spiral of negativity and complaining. I started making excuses for why I wasn’t where I wanted to be.
I did eventually snap out of it and replaced my thoughts with positive words. My attitude turned around when I decided that the circumstances didn’t matter because God is no respecter of persons. He wasn’t tormenting me and making me have a bad day. I simply chose to focus on the negative rather than to stand on my faith and the promises of God. I chose a bad day.
That night at a business meeting, I was sitting next to a young woman I didn’t know. Conversation started when I complimented her beautiful, black and white, beaded necklace with a mesh flower attached on the side. We got to talking about our families and found a lot of commonalities. In the midst of a hard day, I had managed to make a new friend.
The thing that struck me the most was that at the end of the evening, she turned to me, took off her stunning necklace, put it in my hands and said, “This is a gift from one mom to another.” At that moment, I realized it didn’t matter how my day went. It didn’t matter what was going on in my life. What mattered most was that I took my eyes off me and my problems and moved them onto serving others selflessly. The way to stay joyful in the midst of trials is to do something for someone else knowing I am making a difference in her life whether it benefits me or not. Happiness is a choice.
My new friend blessed me that day. She didn’t know what challenges I was facing. She didn’t know I had a not-so-great day. She didn’t even know how I would respond to her kind gesture. But what she gave me was a gift that said, “You matter.” It was God speaking to me through her saying, “I’m here. I haven’t forgotten about you, sweet child of Mine.” It was God speaking to me through her telling me that He’s still in control and everything is going to be OK. What a heartfelt, impromptu gift of encouragement from one mom to another.