I’m reposting something I shared a couple of months ago while promoting my newest Christian fiction novel — Caribbean Freedom. Since my weekly Bible studies/devotions post on Wednesdays and this week’s is scheduled for July 3, I thought it would be a good time to share it again as we celebrate America’s Independence Day.

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So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. So if the Son makes youfree, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31-32, 36

It was for freedom that Christ set you free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedomII Corinthians 3:17

Freedom is the theme of my latest novel, Caribbean Freedom – the third & final Island Legacy Novel. Although the heroine’s mother and father sought freedom from Castro’s communist Cuba during the mid-1990’s, ultimately her family and friends – in Viñales, Cuba and Miami, Florida – discover the greatest freedom life has to offer comes through letting go of bitterness, forgiving past hurts, and embracing the life of freedom Christ came that they might have.

Excerpt from Caribbean Freedom 

While eating a boiled egg and piece of dry toast for breakfast Saturday morning, Mariela watched her grandmother scurrying about, reminding her of an older version of her own mother. The woman’s chin length hair was more salt than pepper, but still hinted at the rich dark chocolate color it once boasted. Her eyes danced as though their owner found great delight in living. Mariela contrasted the woman’s exuberance for life with what she knew to be her mother’s general countenance. She had to admit while Abuela had lived all her life in Cuba, she seemed more fulfilled than Mariela’s mother did although she lived a life of freedom in Miami.

“Abuela?”

“Humm?

“Are you always this happy?”

The older woman turned from wiping down the countertop and stared at Mariela for a moment, her forehead creased in thought. “Are you asking have I always been this happy . . . or at this season in my life, am I always this happy?”

Mariela tapped a forefinger against her lips, pondering her grandmother’s question. “If you have to ask, I’m guessing that means you’ve not always been this happy.”

“No, child, I haven’t.” Abuela leaned against the counter. “But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned much of what I once allowed to make me sad or discontent was only robbing me of the fullness of life I could experience if I truly surrendered it all to God. I hope that’s a lesson you’ll learn much younger in life than I did.”

“And how might I go about doing that?”

“By trusting God and learning — as the apostle Paul said — to be content in all circumstances.”

“But does learning to be content mean you don’t ever wish things were different? I mean, have you ever wished you’d been given the opportunity to live somewhere else?”

Abuela pushed away from the counter. “Are you asking if I’ve ever wished I lived somewhere other than Cuba?”

Mariela didn’t want to stir up any of the hard feelings related to her parents’ decision to leave, but she did wonder if her grandparents had ever longed to live elsewhere. “Yeah, I suppose so.” She shrugged her shoulders as she dunked a crusty piece of bread in her cafe con leche, hoping to give the appearance of simply generating conversation as opposed to probing. “Have you ever wondered what life would have been like had you lived . . . say . . . in the States?”

Abuela pulled out a chair, still drying her hands on a dishtowel as she sat. “Unlike your mother and father, I’ve never had grand illusions of living a different life outside of my beloved Cuba. But we are of a different generation, I suppose. Even so, I can’t imagine leaving my homeland for an unknown . . . no matter how glamorous others might say that it is. Perhaps if we’d suffered great persecution, I would have felt different . . .” The woman’s dark eyes drifted toward the open door.

The laughter of the three children who lived across the street filled the balmy air. Mariela listened to the light tinkle of youthful merriment for a moment. She’d always believed Cubans had in fact suffered great persecution, yet her grandmother inferred they had not. “You don’t feel that you’ve lived a persecuted life?”

Abuela shrugged. “At times, yes . . . we were persecuted, but not to any great extent. Although we had a season when we had to be secretive in our worship, here in Viñales we never really feared for our lives.”

“But during that time, did you ever long for the freedom to worship as you pleased?”

Abuela ran her index finger along a broad red line in the checkered tablecloth. “Despite what you may think, I was always free to worship as I pleased.” She placed a splayed hand over her chest. “My child, no one can ever stop us from worshipping the Lord. True worship comes from within. I’ve always been free to worship, even if it was restricted to the privacy of my own heart.”

Tears welled in Mariela’s eyes. How differently her grandmother seemed to view her faith. What a wellspring of wisdom she possessed in recognizing that worshipping God was not confined to a church building.

The older woman smiled. “One thing we as Christians need to always remember is that freedom — when it comes to our faith — is not tied to our outward circumstances. Once we accept Christ as our Savior, we are free. Remember Jesus’ teachings in the book of John? He called Himself the truth . . . the truth that makes us free.”

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” Mariela whispered.

Abuela nodded. “So you see, when it comes to my faith, I’ve always been free. And no matter what our government leaders said or did, they couldn’t take that freedom away from me. Do I wish some things had been different? Do I even wish some things were different today? Absolutely. But what is, is.” She touched Mariela’s cheek with the tips of her fingers. “And your life in Miami, Nieta, has it always been perfect, exactly as you wished it to be?”

Mariela cast her eyes downward. Abuela had turned the tables on her. Here she’d been feeling sorry for her grandparents because they’d lived all their lives in Cuba, not experiencing the freedoms she’d known, and yet . . . had her life always been all that she’d wanted?

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This week at my bungalow retreat, where I depict country living, bungalow-style through scripture and photographs: Red, White, & Blue. I hope you’ll stop by for a visit: www.bungalowretreat.com 

And don’t forget, you can also connect with me on Facebook: Author, Teri Metts, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.