This time of year always gets me thinking. Pondering many things. July first rolls around and I spend time thinking of the sacrifices many others made for my freedom.
The soldiers who died defending it. The soldiers who killed Christ as he provided it.
A little over ten years ago, I was with a group of ladies that I was just getting to know. Awesome ladies. Ladies who love the Lord lots. Ladies who are a little further down this road called Life than I am.
One stood and read a poem about fear. The image created was one of fear being a cage. The story was a young girl living "locked" in a cage only to find out when Christ came and lovingly let her out, the cage was never locked to begin with but she had been to0 afraid to try to even open it at all.
Another lady began praying for me. She stopped, looked at me and said, "I think you are that girl. God is saying open the door and step out of your cage!"
I kind of panicked. I mean, really! Me, locked in a cage? I was fearless. I was outgoing, outspoken and out-of-my-mind thinking how crazy this sounded. I was many things but fearful and timid was not on that list.
But as she prayed, something in me lay bare. Raw in a new way. A very sweet and loving yet, humbly convicting way. I realized for the first time in my life that I was afraid to go forward with the Lord. I had been in a holding pattern waiting for a spot to land. What I considered a safe spot. I had been flying in circles for months, maybe even years.
Even as I realized there was some truth in this word from the Lord, I didn't throw the gate open and run as fast as I could. I waited. Timidly. I waited for God to gently take my hand and lead me out. one.small.step.at.a.time.
Not exactly the grand entrance to my new fear-free life I wanted. Nor was it the type of statement that I was known for. Still. It was a start.
That vision appeared to me many times over the next ten years. It appeared to me as I birthed babies, mopped floors and shed tears. God used that picture to produce a hunger in me for more.
More freedom. More steps. Bigger steps.
More trust. More faith. Bigger. More.
Less fear. Much less.
Because it was so long ago and this particular word had taken so long for me to unravel and fully grab hold of, I didn't talk about it much. Especially to the one who prayed it. It was just for me and God. I knew when he had done what he wanted in me concerning this cage, he would tell me. So I just pondered it and put it back in the cage of my mind.
Just a few months ago, that same lady prayed for me. This time she saw a different vision. She saw me on a horse. A fast horse. Quickly galloping up a tall mountain. as fast as I could go. (I imagine me laughing with sheer delight, eyes closed, face lifted as I fly up the mountain as fast as I possibly can with the wind blowing through my hair.) She looked at me and said, "This means freedom."
The Lord spoke to me in that moment. He reminded me how he had used that same lady ten years earlier to pinpoint an area of fear in my life. An area in which he had and would always and forevermore prevail. As I shared that with my now friend and mentor, she laughed in bewilderment that our awesome God would take something she had no recollection of and use it so mightily for over a decade to transform my life. Then use her again to confirm he had done what he set out to do.
I love how God is like that. I love this cage-free life.
Now if I could just get on a horse...
"Oh, I'll guard with my life what you've revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever; And I'll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom; Then I'll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed." (Psalm 119:45-47 The Message)