The USA was founded by men of God who expressed their belief in a divine creator in virtually every document they penned. God and Church were part and parcel of the American way of life. Monuments are scattered across this nation and proclaim His blessing and His sovereignty.
Certainly, America has had its share of dark days, where the sin of man seemed to diminish the spirit of freedom that was God-given. But a spark of light still has fuel capable of lighting an entire room, an entire nation. I felt the Lord wanted that spark and subsequent fire to begin with His daughters in American Heritage Girls. Here is that story…
When I was four, my family was transferred to a city outside of Boston, Massachusetts for my father to work on the Apollo heat shield. As a young girl, I loved visiting The Freedom Trail and learning about the sacrifices of Paul Revere and other patriots. The history bug that started as a preschooler never left me, even upon our family's return to Cincinnati. I couldn't wait for my weekly visit to the public library where my choice books were Junior Readers that featured famous Americans who contributed to society and made the world a better place. I loved reading about their lowly upbringing and even education. I loved how they "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" and did not use these detriments as reasons not to do something but reasons to do something.
In high school, my love for history and government continued. I debated other teen girls in my city to earn the right to serve as the Mayor of Cincinnati for a day. I became involved in Student Council and served my Senior class as their president. I believed in the voice of the people, but I believed even more about the need for integrity within our leaders.
In my early thirties, my husband was transferred to Northern Virginia and with four kids under 12 in tow, we decided to live near our nation's capital. It was there that my heart for our nation was set ablaze. Every weekend we took advantage of this amazing locale and drank in the history. Through my life, I had seen that America did not just "happen:" rather it was an intentional effort for man to live and prosper in this land due to the freedoms that the Lord God provided for us.
So, why American Heritage Girls? I believe if we as its members can understand our past, we can then build for a bright future. We must understand the sacrifice and the mistakes of our forefathers. If we erase our heritage—our history (as so many other groups have done)—we are bound to repeat our mistakes and release our commitment to freedom. The freedom that I am speaking about does not come from government, leaders, or finances; it comes from the Lord God himself. America's heritage was built on the solid rock of faith. American Heritage Girls is here to continue its legacy.
Faith is the spark that still remains in the hearts of many of our fellow countrymen. We are the ones writing the script of America's future today. With every word, every decision, every act—for good or ill—we are either rebuilding our foundation or contributing to its further decay. Each one of us plays a part and bears the consequences. Members of American Heritage Girls are equipped to lead, resource, and learn. Girls are encouraged in their faith walk and to be women of integrity. History is now rolling up like a scroll and we need to respond to the divine hand of God and the moment of grace that has been extended to us. Let us seize the opportunity before us. These young women are encouraged to share the Gospel, engage the culture and stand like shining lights in a dark world. Like patriots before them, American Heritage Girl members must understand their heritage to improve the future.
Patti Garibay is founder and executive director of American Heritage Girls, (AHG, www.AmericanHeritageGirls.org), a national Christ-centered leadership and character development program. For more than two decades, AHG has been at the forefront of countering the culture by leading girls and women to creating lives of integrity. Patti is the author of Why Curse the Darkness When You Can Light A Candle?, a story of trust and obedience to inspire those who desire to make Kingdom impact yet struggle with the fear of inadequacy.