Tomorrow, we celebrate Independence Day! Today, I feel inspired and compelled to reflect on some of the beautiful things I am thankful for that we get to experience here in the United States. We must never underestimate the power of thankfulness. It is a powerful thing.
As we all share in an array of traditions and festivities tomorrow, eat amazing grilled food, play at the lake, and watch the fireworks, I know that among many there is also a great deal of unrest, distrust, fear, and disillusionment when it comes to the subject of the state of our nation. It is in the news, in our conversations, and in our minds. You can sense it. But my fellow Americans, let us take a moment to rejoice because among it all there are some beautiful blessings...
Here is my list: 8 reasons I am so thankful for America.
1. FREEDOM OF RELIGION
I have several friends who live in nations where, right now, it is absolutely illegal to speak of their faith, of Jesus Christ, or to read a Bible in public. They must be very careful, very discrete, and play their Christian music with the windows closed. As I take a moment to think about this reality, yes, this REALITY in some places, I am absolutely overcome with joy that I can read my Bible at Not Just Coffee with no fear of punishment. We have held Bible studies there. We can even play Christian music uptown in the open for Uptown Worship Ministry, and we have so many Churches of all different faiths and religions all around and we are all able to worship unafraid of punishment. May we never take for granted how blessed we are to have this.
2. GOVERNMENT AID AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS
This is a big subject I know, and don't worry- It's a simple but good thought! I am aware that many of us long to see so much reform and improvements in these areas but regardless, I must point out something. Let's just for simplicity sake use this one example, but I believe it will speak well to this subject. I have 2 friends who have spent time in India and in Nepal. In these places, when someone is ill, crippled, orphaned, starving, or a leper, they are left on the street with VERY little government intervention at all. Children are in so much danger, sick people cannot get help if they cannot pay, and my friends tell me with tear filled eyes how incredibly large the needs are there. I only bring this up to point out, regardless of how much we want to see things improve here, let us be truly thankful for the help we have. We can go to an emergency room without being turned away. We have aid for the elderly, orphaned, and even food stamps and medicare. It's not peferect but we HAVE it. I am thankful for that. And as a side note, I am so thankful for the MANY, non-government organizations helping people in our nation who are in need and in so many other nations around the world. Let's hang in there, hope for good improvements, and look for ways to help those in need around us right where we are.
3. CHEMEX COFFEE
Best coffee making method EVER. Made in America people! This makes me happy. There is a neat legacy of creativity and invention in our nation. So many wonderful things were created here. This leads me to my next point:
I believe that in our nation there is much opportunity and resource for making a living, for entrepreneurship, and for starting small businesses. I remember discussing this with some friends from various places in Europe and they were amazed how easily Michael and I could work for ourselves, make a living by it, and furthermore, by how many different career paths are available to pursue and to study in local collages and universities. I believe this is a blessing we can so often miss. I am thankful for the opportunities we have here.
5. IN AND OUT BURGER
Protein style for me! Have only had it a few times being an east coast girl but man, I love it! I can also include burgers and fries in general. No shame, just being honest, I love me a good burger, milk-shake, and fries! Can I get a witness?
Even a little of our wealth is enough to make a difference in many lives. Many amazing organizations, charities, and missions movements have started in America. Sometimes we loose perspective about just how much we really have and truly, we have so, so much to give. I am thankful personally to have never missed a meal, to have a place to live, 2 working cars, beautiful instruments and I am thankful we have had enough to give financially to support missions. I am humbled, and truly overwhelmed even as I type this by how much provision for my basic needs and for some things I really love that I have! May we be a nation that dwells in our land thankful and be a people who give generously.
May I be allowed one more food item on this list?
7. CHICK FIL-A CHICKEN BISCUITS!
What would I do without this glorious, buttery, chicken delight? Just eating one of these biscuits makes me proud to be an American :)
8. THE GRAND CANYON
I say the Grand Canyon because it was one of the most incredible things I have ever beheld. The depth, the detail, the grandness of it all left me in awe as I looked at it. What a beautiful land we get to call home! And I could so easily extend this to include so many other incredible American wonders such as the redwood forest, the beautiful beaches on both shores, and my treasured Appalachian mountains. I am so thankful to live in this glorious place.
Let us just take a moment to be so thankful for this nation we live in as Americans.
And furthermore, let us remember what to do with the heavy and hard things we sometimes face and feel about where we are as a nation. Scripture gives us amazing direction in this: