Lately, my third-grader has been learning about all sorts of great historical figures through her class projects at school. I’ve been answering questions for her and helping her understand some of the harder, more grown-up concepts that make these people great and remembered.
When it was time to learn about Harriet Tubman, my heart swelled. I remembered how I felt as a child while learning about her story. I thought she was so brave and courageous! She was a hero to so many, and to me. My heart burst with joy that through her acts, so many people were led to freedom. Truly she was a marvelous woman.
I hadn’t thought about my feelings towards Harriet Tubman for 25 years! But, relearning her story anew with my daughter, brought it all back. I was surprised that the depth of emotion over her legacy still rang out in my heart as an adult. It made me wonder why it was such a big deal to me. So, I asked God. “God, why does my heart feel so connected to Harriet’s story? What is it that connects so deeply in me?”
“FREEDOM,” He said. God showed me that my connection to Harriet Tubman’s story when I was a child was a foreshadowing of what He tucked away in my heart for my future. The thread of wanting to see people set free has run through my life since I was a child. It’s one of the purposes God’s made me for. He made me to partner with people (and Him) to see them set free from the chains and weights that hold them back.
While teaching singing, I see many students hindered by timidity, uncertainty, and hiding. But through voice lessons, students gain confidence, joy, and inner-comfort at sharing their God-given voices. Still other students have come to my studio exhibiting a need to control their voices, their emotions, and even their appearance in a way that ends up inhibiting the natural voice inside them. As we move through lessons, these things begin to melt away and they experience freedom in their voice and freedom to trust themselves and others; to truly BE the fullness of who they are without worrying how they’ll be perceived. In all these ways, my students move from some type of bondage, whether inner or outer, to a freedom that propels them forward as vocalists and people! FREEDOM!
My heart is burdened when I see people going through relational difficulty. Now, I don’t have it all together in this area, but God’s taught me so many things and brought me through so much that I can perceive more relational un-health than I once had. So, when I notice people in tough relational situations, I want to run to them and share my story of how God showed me a better way to relate. I want to see life growing between people and not dying off. My heart is so uplifted when I can engage with other people to help them regain, maintain, or start fresh in relationships with a new perspective on how to relate to others. Hearing their stories of how they were immovable in relationships and partnering with them to now be more fluid and free brings me great joy. FREEDOM!
The Past. Need I say more? Perhaps one area that I see more bondage, oppression, and being ‘under the thumb of’ is The Past. Why, oh why does the past have such an effect on our present? I’m still in process, but I have learned that my past reframed so many situations as I went through life, making it so I couldn’t see the truth. There was a jadedness that kept me from truly trusting, rejoicing, thinking the best, and hoping again and again. It was so closely related to many areas of my past. Through much prayer, conversation, and good community, God has brought healing. He freed me from many parts of my past! Now, I want to see EVERYONE ELSE set free from the past that has them in chains. Chains of unforgiveness, control, fear, doubt, worry, self-image, trauma, pain, punishment, bitterness, defeat, and so much more. It’s so encouraging to pray people through the pain and see the smiles light up their faces on the other side! What joy there is in being set free! FREEDOM!
What About You?…
So, what about you? Can you think of a historical figure that you really took interest in as a child? What is it about that person that you see showing up in your present life? I’d LOVE to hear about it.