This year we spent the 4th of July back in the United States on our first furlough. Our youngest two children did not remember seeing fireworks, and they were completely amazed at the display here in Oconee County, Georgia. It was so much fun to see their excitement and hear their comments. We also enjoyed being able to celebrate with family and friends here. Below, waiting for the fireworks to begin.
It is interesting that both countries in which we live celebrate a day of political independence from Great Britain, although the United States of America gained their independence almost 200 years before Uganda did. Recently I have been reflecting a bit about the concept of personal independence.
I have generally been a fairly independent person from early on in life. Well, maybe stubborn or rebellious might be more accurate adjectives according to my mom. My parents have a professional photo from when I was about 3 years old in which I was wearing a big scowl. Apparently after the photo shoot, my mom asked me why I did not smile and I said, "I didn't like that man, and he told me to smile, so I didn't smile." My mom also tells the story of the entire day I spent in the pack-n-play refusing to apologize to my brother. Around that time, I reached the stage of insisting on "doing it myself." For those who have had toddlers, you are probably familiar this stage. The problem is I may have never grown out of that stage...
I was the teenager who didn't call my dad when my car ran out of gas because I wanted to solve the problem myself. I am the woman who wants to carry the heavy objects on my own, thank you. When my car battery is dead, I want to prove to the world that I know how to use jumper cables without the assistance of a man. Stubborn, independent, persevering, strong-willed, proud, call it what you will. I have known for years that this tendency of my heart can be both a blessing and an area of sin in my life.
As we moved to work in another country some of that stubborn perseverance served me well. I did not want to give up and go home. Well, maybe I wanted to, but I wasn't going to do it. But God also has been graciously showing me that it is okay to need Him. Living in Uganda has taught me to pray and depend on God for many things that I used to think I could handle on my own. I am learning that I am not really independent. Instead I am learning to depend on God for so much more of everyday life. I still might not call a man for help when I am stuck on the side of the road, but I definitely will call on my Heavenly Father. I know that I need Him for all things. This is the song in my head much more often these days:
I need Thee every hour, most Gracious Lord. No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
I need Thee, O I Need Thee. Every hour I need Thee. My one defense, my righteousness, O God how I need Thee.