Where is your citizenship? I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. I lived in Belfast until I was about a year old. We then immigrated to Canada, where I spent the next 11 years. We finally made it to the USA in 1974. Each of these countries I lived in shaped me to be who I am today. I guess you could say that I am a mutt who is not really sure where she belongs. I tease my children that I am probably one of the few people they know who can sing three countries’ national anthems.
Even though I was only a year old when we left Belfast, I visited my extended family many summers. My parents and brother were the only families I had in the USA while growing up, so I loved to go home to visit. I would stay at my grandmother’s house. It was a row house with no indoor plumbing. The loo, as they called it, was out in the back garden area.
I can remember lying in bed in the mornings and hearing the milkman making deliveries in his horse-drawn cart. The clip-clop of the horse’s hooves and the rattling of the glass milk bottles are sounds reminiscent of my childhood. But unfortunately, the sounds of bombs going off and gunfire are also part of my childhood memories. A lot of my summers in Belfast were during the height of “the troubles.” Such events taught me about diversity and hatred and how they can destroy generations.
Time in Canada
Life in Canada was different from Ireland. I remember lots of snow. During one heavy snowstorm, our car became buried in snow in a matter of a few hours. But, everyone adapted to the weather. The elementary school I attended flooded the playgrounds with water so we could go skating all winter long. I headed off to school each morning with my skates slung over my shoulder. All that was great until the one time I did come home with a minor case of frostbite in my toes because I stayed out too long in the cold.
At Halloween, we learned to buy costumes in bigger sizes to fit over our winter coats. More importantly, we learned to use the restroom before we bundled up to go outside. Getting out of a snowsuit is no easy task. In Canada, I learned about making do in all circumstances.
Finally, we immigrated to the USA. After college, my whole family decided we should apply for citizenship status. This took a lot of study and preparation for the test and interview with the immigration department. I never realized how much work it would take to become a US citizen.
Finally, in June of 1985, I became a US citizen. It was a day of grand celebrations for my family and something I am so glad I accomplished. God has provided so much for me in my new home country. I learned that for those given much, much will be expected.
We are all citizens of some country, either by birth or by naturalization. But as Christians, we have a citizenship that is far more important for us, and that is our heavenly citizenship. The things I learned living in each country taught me how to be a good citizen of heaven.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
Lessons from Citizenship
Northern Ireland showed me the evils of hatred. People killed each other over religion and invisible lines that divided the island of Ireland. Christ taught me to love my enemies. In the gospel of Mark, we find the greatest commandment is to love God and our neighbors as ourselves.
“30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Canada taught me to adapt to my circumstances. If not prepared, snow and cold could put a person in danger. My heavenly citizenship teaches me to trust God with the events in my life, and He will keep me safe.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Life in the USA taught me about many things. This country may not be perfect, but it is the land of possibilities, and I feel so blessed to be here. However, with all the opportunities comes a responsibility to help our fellow man. My heavenly father teaches me that lesson in the gospel of Luke.
“But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”
Prepare for Our Final Home
When we accept Christ, He grants us heavenly citizenship. And, as citizens, we must spend time preparing for our eternal home. Just like preparing for my US citizenship test took a lot of effort, we must prepare for our heavenly citizenship. And, we need to remain faithful to Christ during the time away from the eternal home. Never forget whose you are, and that earth is not our natural home. Live for Christ, and you will see the rewards of that life when we reach our eternal home.
My Heavenly Father, please help me to remember that this world is not my home. Please help me prepare my life for my eternal home with you. Show me how best to study and train daily. Thank you for the blessings You provide. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Do you need prayer? I would love to pray for you. Submit your prayer request on my website at https://yvonne-morgan.com/submit-your-prayer-request-here/
Grace and Peace to you,
Yvonne M. Morgan is a Christian #author, #blogger, and #speaker. #BibleGatewayPartner
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”