At our country home north of town, the 12 of us stood silently on the freshly mowed ground, our faces lifted to the sky. Stuffed full of potato salad, hamburgers and our favorite summer “farm food”, everyone was a little sleepy. Only the busily blinking fireflies were fully awake, their day just beginning. The view was an enviable panorama of the fireworks sprawled across the sky above our little community.

Over and over the heavens exploded, bleeding with color. The children marveled at the delay between light and sound. It was as if they fully recognized it for the first time. Speed of light, speed of sound, they nodded sagely. Wow. Three miles away, the noise was muffled to a rumble like gently rolling thunder, punctuated by an occasional boom.

We tried to identify where each display was happening. The Country Club? The igloo shaped church that puts on a gigantic event every Independence Day? The fairgrounds? The light show went on and on, it seemed as though it would never end. In all our years of loving this holiday, none of us could remember a longer, more dazzling and more impressive light show.

On this night, all over the country, the familiar scene was being repeated on farms, in lazy hamlets and villages, bustling towns, and hustling cities. All faces collectively tipped to the heavens, celebrating what we share as American citizens. Breathing patriotism, glorious freedom.

My mind drifted like trails of smoke and I began to imagine what it would be like if we were celebrating our patriotism, our citizenship in what will become our eternal homeland. Nothing on earth begins to compare with the glory we will see when we go home to be with our Lord in Heaven. The festivities of a worldwide family of believers would surely illuminate the sky more colorfully than we can possibly imagine. What a light show that would be!

We are blessed with dual citizenship and lucky we can live secure and happy on two levels. The sweetest freedom happens when we receive the gift of knowing Jesus and it begins right here under these star spangled skies. When we become fully devoted to following His ways and trust Him to show us how to live, we experience the ultimate freedom from fear and beautiful peace. Breathing patriotism and glorious freedom.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?… Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (Psalm 27:1, 3).

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.