Today is a milestone birthday for me.
I’ve now been alive for 600 months. That’s 2,609 weeks . . . or 18,262 days. Yet no matter how I break down the math, I’ve lived a half century. There! I admitted it!
While the chubby cheeks and chunky thighs of infancy may never have abandoned me, much can change in fifty years. When I reflect upon national events that occurred during my formative years, I see a theme emerging that is fitting for a child of Freedom Summer.
When I was one day old, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Shortly after my first birthday, the Voting Rights Act, guaranteeing African Americans the right to cast election ballots, gained his signature. I rode to grade school with Helen Reddy belting “I am Woman” over the bus’s radio speakers. As women struggled for equal opportunities, I saw bras burned before I was old enough to wear one.
And each year, three days after smoke clears from my birthday candles, the skies light up as America celebrates another year of independence.
Another year of freedom.
As a woman whose age increases in the glow of July 4th fireworks, I can’t help contemplating which freedom is most important to me. Freedom to vote? Freedom to work outside the home? Freedom to speak my mind on a public blog? All are priceless to me.
Yet another stands high above the rest:
Freedom to accept Christ as my Savior.
Amazingly, no individual, group, or government can take that privilege from me. No laws or chains or prison walls are strong enough to bar me from it.
Yet whether the Lord grants me another fifty years or fifty seconds on this earth, this treasured freedom comes with tremendous responsibility. As Christ’s follower, I am called to realize my life is not about me. This day doesn’t exist for me to make a wish and blow out fifty candles atop a cake, though I likely will do so and enjoy it, too. Instead, my primary task is to live by and spread God’s word, to share His love, to be His hands and feet, to put the needs and concerns of others above my own. Easy? Hardly. Worth it? You bet! The rewards fill eternity, and at fifty years, I’m just getting started.
Care to join me?