I really love celebrating the 4th of July. Honestly, it’s not like we have any big plans, but we have our little traditions.
We cook out (usually just burgers with fresh veggies. If I’m feeling motivated, I may make some Mac ‘n cheese.)
We wear our patriotic gear and watch all our favorite 4th of July movies. (If you want a list of Hallmark’s Top 10 4th of July movies—I’m your girl!)
Jamie even has a 4th of July playlist on his phone featuring everything from “I Love My Country” to “Born in the USA” to “God Bless the USA.” Last year, we sat on the back porch blasting these songs all afternoon. (Not sure the neighbors loved it, but we felt very patriotic.)
Of course, it doesn’t seem like the 4th of July without fireworks. A few years ago, our town moved their annual fireworks show to the 4th of July weekend, allowing Jamie and I to jump in the car (usually in our pj’s), drive to a nearby field, turn on the radio, and watch the beautiful lights fill the sky.
I was so disappointed they canceled their show last year because of Covid. (Because obviously, sitting in the car in a field watching fireworks was dangerous--insert eyeball here.)
However, the people in my tiny town were not to be deterred. Even if the big show was canceled, people all over our town set off private fireworks displays. Honestly, our town has never seen so many fireworks or have them last as long into the night like last year. (At least not in the forty-plus years I’ve lived there.) As I watched from our front window, I was reminded that America always finds a way. Tell us we can’t celebrate, and we’ll celebrate more than ever. We may change how we do it, but our spirit will not be deterred. We are strong, and we continue on.
I remember going to bed the last 4th of July feeling very proud of our country and thankful that God allowed me to be born into the greatest nation on earth. As Dana Perino often says, “You’ve won life’s lottery if you were privileged to be born in America.”
I think too often we forget this.
Yes, I know the pandemic was awful. Unfortunately, the government overreached and made a power grab to take away too many of our personal freedoms.
And no, I was not happy with the 2020 election results or the events of January 6.
There are many days when I look at the decisions made by liberal leaders and wonder what they are thinking.
I fear our nation is being polluted with lies from a press corps with a liberal agenda.
I’m not blind to the fact that our country is heading in the wrong direction.
And yet, I’m still proud to be an American.
I still love our nation, and I'm eternally grateful that my grandparents came here from Communist Czechoslovakia so they and their children could have a better life.
I am still committed to praying for the soul of our country.
I pray for our leaders, the American people, and the American church that we will rise and shine a bright light into our society.
Because just like my tiny town needed those miniature firework displays last year, our world needs every believer and every church to shine the light of the Gospel into our world now more than ever.
This is not the time to retreat.
It is not the time to dim our light.
As citizens of God’s kingdom, we need to pray more, live more like Jesus, be more dedicated to Biblical truth and be more passionate than ever about winning our world for Jesus.
Do I believe we will continue to see restrictions on our freedom of religion and freedom of speech?
But that’s no reason for despair. Instead, let’s use that knowledge as motivation to do all we can for Jesus today.
And remember: as Americans, we still have the greatest freedom to share the Gospel in the world. So let’s not take it for granted, but instead, let’s use it to advance God’s kingdom.
Let’s continue to pray, “God bless America!”
Pray for our country.
Pray for its leaders and its people.
Live wholeheartedly for Jesus and be a light in your world.
Use the freedoms God has given us to make a difference in someone else’s eternity and shine our light like a fireworks display.
Happy 4th of July!
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.