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Updated: May 23, 2023

red, white, and blue, cake, blueberries, strawberries

Fireworks, BBQ, and family fun all dressed in stars and stripes, celebrating Independence Day is the Americana vibe at it’s finest and I love it all. To make a cake and decorate with berries the American flag. To light sparklers with your kiddos. To watch fireworks with your honey. To be on a lake, river, or beach soaking up the sun in everything red, white, and blue is just quintessential USA. I wish I had my own family to do this with and host with. It’s been my dream ever since I was little. I grew up on a dead-end street, where all the neighbors got together in one giant potluck, lawn chairs out, with lots of holiday décor and spirit, and then watching the night’s illuminations. My brother and I loved going down to the local firework stands, with our allowance and picking out our explosive stash. The rocket popsicles dripping red and blue stickiness were always my favorite. And truth be told, it was my childhood dream to be married on 4th of July, because the fireworks you feel in your heart for your love, are displayed in the sky and I thought it was so romantic! And a free anniversary present every year. Yes, it is kinda cheesy, but so sweet. Well, it didn’t happen this year for me obviously, so it would have to be in another five years for a wedding to land on the 4th of July on a weekend, so that ship has sailed. (Or at least I pray the Lord doesn’t make me wait another five years!)

fireworks, sparklers, flag, american dream, beauty

I have such strong dreams in my heart and it feels like real life is so much harsher of a reality. Life doesn’t happen like you plan it in your head and heart. Sometimes it can actually turn out better and sometimes much worse. How do you deal with those feelings of grief over the life you thought you would be living and mourning that loss? The loss of your dream and time trickling by, while you are still alone. It’s incredibly disheartening. I know for me, it has helped tremendously to just pour out my heart to God and lament to Him my disappointments and frustrations. Pain isn’t fair or equally distributed. Life can be incredibly overwhelming and gut wrenching at times. I think having honest conversations with God to heal our hearts in the brokenness and for Him to fill those voids in our life is so crucial. It’s in the dark valleys we will feel closest to God and gain strength and confidence. And then I think it also teaches you to really appreciate the mountaintops you are blessed with in your life. Those small wins and successes. Those good days laughing with friends. That great workout. That deep conversation with family. That beautiful sunset.

girl with different expressions, faces

I think for me personally when I share my heartache or struggle, I sometimes get blanketed responses that can leave me feeling more alone and disconnected. The biggest thing is just to listen and share in empathy and compassion with others. Not to fix or solve, but just to be there. Be present. There is freedom and peace in just sharing and connecting with others on the hard things in life. We don’t always have to put on this façade that we everything figured out and the answers for everything. Sometimes things just suck. That is that reality of being human and having emotions. So why are we so afraid to share and show them sometimes?

I also think that if God answered all of our prayers immediately, it would just be a transaction and we would never need faith. We would miss out on the small blessings along the way. Some of the best moments in life aren’t planned for. Of course, I will always have my childlike dreams, because I am very idealistic, but I also open my heart up to Jesus and His sovereign plans for my life.

“And we know with great confidence that God, who is deeply concerned about us, causes all things to work together, as a plan, for our good.” Romans 8:28

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