As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. The road to freedom can seem long and hard not unlike the experiences of living as refugees from war torn nations, walking out of years of abuse and pain in broken relationships, facing the reality check that comes with unplanned pregnancy, and the great journey to healing from trauma and adverse childhood experiences. I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.
Galatians 4:31
31 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
-Callie

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 John 8:36  So if the Son frees you, you will really be free!

I recently had the opportunity to save a duckling who was stuck in the Lititz Spring creek.  Maggie, our dog, and I walked by and heard the familiar distress cry of a duckling.  I noticed the mom came to her, but the duckling did not move to follow. She was calm and appeared content, but something was not quite right. I determined that if she was still stuck there on our way back, I would wade into the creek and help.  Sure enough, I heard the cry on our way back and went to the water's edge.  Maggie hesitated, not wanting to leave my side but not wanting to enter the water. Maggie stayed on the creek bank, eyes fixed on me as I waded to the stuck duckling.  I discovered the duckling had a string wrapping around her leg and a low hanging tree branch.  It took a few seconds to decide what to do. In the end I snapped the branch, scooped up ducking, and walked to the bank. Maggie, still vigilant, let me grab her leash and we prepared to walk home to free the duckling.  Fortunately, as I stepped onto the walking path I saw someone had just pulled into a parking spot nearby.

Maggie, duckling, and I walked over as the man got out of his truck and asked if he had something to help us free the duckling.  He obliged and happened to have the perfect tool in his pocket.  As he worked to cut the duckling's leg free we discovered the string was actually some mesh fencing that was not only wrapped around her leg but also her waist.  Once there were no strings attached I walked her back to the creek bank and let her go.  She ran happily back to the water and her waiting mother. Maggie finally relaxed and got excited by the running duckling. Once we saw the duckling was safe and clear we turned and headed home, our job was done.

This was such a meaningful picture of what I have learned about walking with others out of the hurts and the strings that keep them bound.  Often my job is to recognize the need, assess if I can help, and help to cut the strings… but then to keep on going letting each "duckling" find her way and determine how she will use her new found freedom. I am part of her experiencing freedom, but mainly pointing her to the one who can and will bring lasting freedom. However, as we all know from our own stories, being freed from something does not always lead to living in freedom. Regardless, if I pass that way again and the same duckling is stuck in the same place on the same branch… I will offer help to cut her free then continue on my path with no strings attached.