When the 4th of July approaches every year, I begin to look forward to proudly wearing red, white, and blue. The liberty that is celebrated on this holiday holds a special place in my heart, because at one point, it was jeopardized for my family.
Before I was born, my parents lived in Venezuela — a country that was once prosperous until the government took a turn. My parents were surrounded by fear. They couldn’t even go to the movies without feeling the trepidation of being robbed. The supermarkets scarcely sold groceries and goods anymore, and that’s when my dad made a decision.
My parents were surrounded by fear. They couldn’t even go to the movies without feeling the trepidation of being robbed.
Because he didn’t want his children to be born and raised in a country that was experiencing such turmoil, he and my mom decided to uproot themselves and move to the United States.
Many years later, after the birth of my brother and I, and my parents’ conversion to Christianity, they decided to become U.S. citizens. It wasn’t until my freshman year of high school that we all attended the naturalization ceremony, and they were sworn in as American citizens. This day marked a momentous milestone for our family.
As my brother and I sat watching our parents getting sworn in, feelings of excitement and pride swelled within me. Once the final words were spoken and the new citizens waved their flags, the entire room erupted with cheering and applause. I embraced both of my parents and congratulated them. Exiting the double doors of the embassy that day symbolized the beginning of a new future for all of us — a wide open door of possibility.
Exiting the double doors of the embassy that day symbolized the beginning of a new future for all of us — a wide open door of possibility.
God has blessed my family and I with so many opportunities here in this country. Had my dad not taken the risk of leaving the familiar life he and my mother had built in Venezuela, my brother and I would have been born into very different circumstances. One opportunity I’m especially grateful for is receiving a private Christian education at CCA, which is preparing me and my peers to become leaders for Jesus Christ and in whatever vocation He calls us into.
I am thankful to lack nothing here. I have shelter over my head, air conditioning to keep me cool, stores to buy necessities and anything I could ever desire. But even if I didn’t have these comforts, God would still be good because He is my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). He is a God who upholds our lives by giving us everything we need, even if may not make sense to us or align with what we want:
“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 4:19
So this Independence Day, I encourage you to carve out some time to thank the Lord for the freedoms, privileges, and blessings you may take for granted and for the salvation He has freely gifted everyone who would receive it, which is the greatest freedom of all.
Carolina Torres-Tello is a rising senior at Calvary Christian Academy. She has attended the school since first grade. Her father is a graphic designer for CCA, her brother will be starting his freshman year at the school, and her mother is a stay-at-home mom. She has a love for reading, drawing, and writing.