Did you have fun last night? Food? Fireworks? I hope so. Freedom is certainly something to be celebrated.

We grilled out, and were supposed to head to a neighbor’s house, who lives behind us, for fireworks with about 200 of their closest friends, but Kevin had mowed all afternoon, and Maddie, who’d planned to join us, had worked late. By the time we should of been heading to their house, we knew we weren’t going to make it. So, just as it was getting dark, we loaded up the Mule (utility cart) with smudge pots, and two rocking chairs (Beverly Hillbillies style), doused ourselves in Off, and headed to our dam for a front row view of the sky above their house. We set up the pots and got them lit, and with Maddie on the front seat bench, and Kevin and I in the rocking chairs, up in the bed, we watched a spectacular show. The funny thing was, I couldn’t get a random girl out of my head. Right there, in the midst of the “rocket’s red glare,” the image of her turned itself over in my mind.

I’d seen her at our local Trades Day, the day before, as I went to get the name of a nursery that had a plant stand out there. She was a very large girl, in super-baggy jeans, and a ball cap turned around backward over dirty, stringy hair. She was helping stock a booth for the show, and, having only viewed her from the back until then, she turned around to reveal the front of her ratty, several-X’s-large t-shirt, and the words emblazoned on the front:


I’m so glad she wasn’t looking at me, because I stopped, dead in my tracks, and stared. Right there, in the middle of small town Texas Trades Day, my heart broke in two that a girl would think of herself in such a profoundly negative way, that she would choose to wear it as a visible label.

And, you know what? It’s still broken, because I know she’s not alone.

You and I? We may not wear the words we think of ourselves for the world to see, but we label ourselves all the same. We constantly call ourselves demeaning things.





Hateful, harmful words uttered softly under our breath, or spewed like acid, loudly, in our minds.

You can’t do anything right.

You are never going to get ahead.

It’s no wonder your relationships never work out; look at you.

On and on we speak them, chipping away at our confidence, self-worth, self-respect, until one day we wake up and decide to wear a hideous t-shirt with a visible declaration.

We forget, don’t we, that God has a different view? That we are worthy because He loves us, that we can be confident because He chose us, that we can respect ourselves because He went the ultimate mile to save us? We forget that all the time, and the enemy of our souls curls his fingers around that open door, leaning in and whispering to us in a voice that sounds like our own, lies, lies, and more lies.


But today, I pray we would remember that those lies do not hold any power over us that we do not allow, because the work has been done and the locks have been blown off the prisons of our minds. Today, I pray we’d pull out a beautiful shirt that fits us well, that says what we celebrate, not once a year, but every day.


I might actually have a shirt made with this on it, and tuck it in my back pocket for the next Trades Day.

You know, just in case.



“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 ESV

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 ESV