A New American Identity: Part 1

After Juny’s ceremony, Holy Spirit presented the perfect comparison. There was the expectation for her to hold up the U.S. Constitution. But how ridiculous would it be if she spent the rest of her life carrying around her old green card? 

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“I’m about halfway there,” I told Juny over the phone. “But I should arrive just in time.”

“I’ll officially be AMERICAN.”

I chuckled and tucked the phone under my ear. “I guess this means I can’t make signs for you at the airport anymore that say, ‘WELCOME TO AMERICA.’”

She laughed and gave me directions to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration office in Charleston, South Carolina. And within hours, I sat on the side of the ceremonial room as my college best friend sat on the other. She waved to me across the aisle, holding a small American flag.

Juny had been working on her citizenship for approximately 15 years by now. I hadn’t contributed to her application in any way. But for some reason, I felt like a proud soccer mom as I took pictures, clutched a bouquet of flowers, and cheered in celebration (whenever I was allowed to, of course).

As the ceremony progressed and the speeches continued, a serious revelation mixed in with my abundant joy. All of a sudden, this didn’t feel like just a naturalization ceremony.

No—this felt spiritually prophetic.

 

American Citizen

“You will effectively take on rights, responsibilities, and privileges as an American citizen.”

“Our history is now your history. And our traditions are now your traditions.”

“You have pledged allegiance to America. And when you give your love and loyalty to America, she returns her love and loyalty to you.”

Line after line, the Holy Spirit resonated the ceremonious words in my spirit so clearly it was like I could hear His voice behind the microphone.

“No matter where you come from… this country is now your country.”

No matter where you come from, you have a new home. You have a new identity. One full of new rights, responsibilities, and privileges. From this moment on, because of your own free will, you belong to the land of the free. And this is where you belong.

Sounds like the gospel to me.

 

The Rights of Heaven

Some of my favorite Scriptures in the entire Bible come from the Book of Galatians. I love it. I love remembering that I’m no longer an orphan. I love returning to the fact that I don’t belong to this world of fear and hopelessness. I have a new home, a new Father, and an inheritance beyond my wildest dream.

But while I met God as a child and have spent my life getting to know Him, I’ve spent most of that time chasing an identity I already have.

After Juny’s ceremony, Holy Spirit presented the perfect comparison. Once Juny was recognized as an American citizen, there was the expectation for her to hold up the U.S. Constitution. But how ridiculous would it be if she spent the rest of her life carrying around her old green card?

Effectively, as of May 30th, 2019, Juny has the right to vote, run for office, and receive a fair trial by jury. It doesn’t matter that she was 26 years old, had moved to the states when she was 10, or that her last name was “Kim.” She didn’t have to wait to prove to the government that she was “good enough” to walk in freedom. The freedom was already purchased for her.

I wonder how many times a day Jesus holds his holed hands up in proof that everything was already done. Freedom is available. A new identity is yours. You don’t have to walk around like a refugee anymore.

“It is finished,” Jesus said. Not “One day, it will be.” 

 

Living in Remembrance

I have this hunch that what I experienced during Juny’s naturalization is what the angels feel when they witness our baptisms. They sit (or float?) in anticipation as we’re grafted in, most likely cheering as we forsake “orphan” and take up “son/daughter.”

“No matter where you come from… this [is your Kingdom now].”

Juny has an understanding of citizenship that transcends my own experience. I’ve never had to ask to be American. I’ve never had to pursue this identity. But Juny knows what it’s like to leave her birth country behind, choose a new land to belong to, and completely transform her perception of “home.”

“Our history is now your history. And our traditions are now your traditions.”

Once we become a part of Heaven, we are adopted into a new way of life. A new standard of living. And Juny didn’t take up her American identity to become a dual-citizen. She left her old country behind.

Stay tuned for the second part of this series: A New American Identity: Part 2

 

 

Featured Image by Frank Mckenna

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About the Author

Rachael’s testimony can be summed up in four little words: from ash to glitter. She's witnessed Jesus transform her brokenness into extravagance and now she brings her ‘extra’ self to boardgames, lip-sync battles, and costume contests. Currently, she lives in South Carolina where she works as the Membership Engagement Coordinator for Kingdom Winds and devotes time to writing, teaching, and crafting dangly earrings.