Sacrifice

Today I have a dear friend that God so graciously placed in my life who is embarking on the same journey we started not long ago….only hers is so much more than mine.  I sent one son to serve but had 3 beautiful kids still at home.  She is sending her two sons, her only children to boot camp at this very moment.  She will walk back into her home to be greeted by silence.  There will be no more crazy game nights playing chicken foot…no more arguments about silly sibling things…no more birthday cakes…no more family drives to Texas…no more lots of things like Easter, Mother’s Day, Birthdays…but there are new things that will bring joy too…

There will be pride in what her sons have chosen to do…there is the absolute unadulterated joy at that first letter in the mail and every one after that….there is the feeling she will get when she knows her boys have passed one stage, and then the next and then the last and hardest; the Crucible….there is the moment she will hear their voices for the first time since they left home…there is the sight of their new, manly faces after 13 weeks of the hardest recruit training in the military…there is the first hug that feels like home….there is the hours spent on family day just staring at their beautiful faces…there is the new way that they walk through the world…the way they stand at ease no matter where they are…there is walking through the mall and having a stranger thank them for their service…there is their presence in her home for a few precious days when it is all over.  It is like nothing else and there will never be anything else like it.

So as her boys swear in and say goodbye, I thank her.  I thank her for her sacrifice, for her way of being graceful in the choice her children have made.  I thank her for allowing herself to be drafted when they made that choice.  I thank her for the children she and her husband raised…the way they are strong and willing to do what others cannot do.  I thank her for giving her boys to our country, because that is what she has done.  They will always be her sons, but she has given them to us so that we may remain free.  I thank her when thanks is not enough.  I pray for their well being…that they remain healthy and strong…that they hear the voice of their Father in Heaven when they are struggling…that they lean into Him when all else fails.  I pray that they have the strength to put one foot in front of the other when there is nothing left inside to continue on. But most of all, I pray that they feel the love of those who are far away but stand behind them in everything they are endeavoring to do….that they would know without a shadow of a doubt that they are not forgotten and that they are loved!

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Seasons

I am in a season of strangeness…somewhere in between where I am not quite sure what is going on or how I feel, but I know that God is working and the moment He chooses to reveal the mystery I will be here, waiting.

There have been some unexpected things that I didn’t see coming…hurtful words, omissions that I have had to fight tooth and nail to fend off the offense that wells up in my heart.  I want so much to entertain the hurt, to cozy up to it, to hang out with it and make it my best friend, to wallow in it…but that is not who God has grown me up to be.  If I want to go forward and deeper with Him, I cannot walk backwards.

I am also living in the land of the unknown….and the scope of that keeps growing.  Pretty much all of you know that my son Tyler is now in the Marine Corps and he is about to start the school portion of his training.  For over a year we thought that he would be in Pensacola for that, but literally at the last moment, he was assigned to a school that is located in North Carolina….AND the school that we thought was going to be a year is now only 12 weeks.  He was able to bypass all the preliminary portions of school that we all expected in Pensacola that would determine what aircraft he would be assigned to.  He has been assigned to an aircraft and will be starting school for that in April.  Needless to say, I am learning that there are LOTS of unknowns.

There other unknown is Brad’s work.  He has started working out of town and there is no set schedule to it.  It’s not a job where he works 3 weeks on and has a week off.  He just works until they are done or are waiting for another delivery truck or things like that.  Please hear me…I am NOT complaining at all.  I am so grateful that he has work in this rough economy.  I am just finding that I don’t like the “not knowing”.  I don’t know when I will see him, I don’t know when I will see Tyler and I just get so tired of telling my friends I don’t know.

Even though it isn’t very long, this post has taken me several days to write.  When I started it, I was just feeling really alone but now I am feeling God working…I am just not to the end of this learning stage yet.  I just want to get to the other side of it, having learned everything I am supposed to learn, so that I don’t keep going around the same tree over and over again.  I want those days to be over.  I want seasons to be seasons one after the other, not repeat winter after winter after winter.  Until next time…

A Momma’s Broken Heart…

Sometimes I think I share too much…isn’t the unknown sometimes safer?  It’s like Tyler going off to boot camp.  As scary as it is, you don’t know exactly what to be afraid of so you find that maybe it’s not quite as bad as you’ve imagined.  I have thought several times that if I had done what he is doing, I could not have gone forward if I had known what was ahead of me.  Sometimes the unknown is not so bad.

But here I sit, wondering if I have given too much of a glimpse into what lies ahead for some people.  Have I only talked about the hard parts of it or shown only the pain of it?  I have to admit, at the beginning, despite the pride in the choice that he made, there weren’t a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings.  It was hard.  Really, really hard.  But I made it through that part.  It went fast.  It didn’t last forever.

But what if you are about to say goodbye to what feels like your whole family?  What must that be like?  I said goodbye to one son.  I moved one son into the rest of his life.  What if it was all my children?  All at the same time?  God didn’t ask me to do that.  I have someone so dear to me who is facing that.  God has asked her to let go of all of her children all at once.  They leave home on the same day.  They start the journey my son is on all at the same time.  Together, with each other.  She must say goodbye to them both and send them into the rest of their lives.

I know some of you may say I am being dramatic, but when she came to see me today, I saw it in her eyes.  It is there.  The fight within her heart to do what is right and let her boys go, to let them grow up, to do what God is asking her to do…to give them back to Him.  But her momma’s heart is breaking.  It will never be the same and I think she knows it.  I know she will do what is best, but this is the part where I wonder if I have said to much, given her a glimpse at the hard part of it, made her see what is so hard to see with clarity that she doesn’t want or need right now, made it harder for her to let go.  I talked about the end of boot camp, the end of boot camp, the end of boot camp….then it was over and then something else came…the realization of this new life – that it wouldn’t be over after boot camp – there was still so much more to go through.  And now she must walk this road times two…and all at the same time.

Maybe I have shared too much.  Maybe I was so focused on what I was going through that I didn’t think of the consequences for someone else, but I know that God gave her to me for a reason.  So even if I did share too much, I can now be there for her the way she was for me.  I can love her, I can cry with her, and most of all I can pray with her for her boys and for her.  I will lift her arms up when she cannot.  I will stand when she cannot rise up.  Because you see, we have  Christ in the middle of us, so whatever the mistakes or wrong steps, He can make it all work for good.  This I believe.  I love you Patrice.

The "Missing" Days

I’m really missing my kiddo today.  It kind of comes in waves now.  Most days are great…I’m thinking about what he is doing and how proud I am of him, praying for his heart and well-being.  But then there are those days that I wake up with the missing.  At first, when those days came around, it was really overwhelming and I just felt like crying.  Now I like to think that it is God’s way of speaking to me, whispering my son’s name to me…that maybe it’s going to be a day where he really needs some focused prayer…maybe he is struggling physically, or in his head, or in his spirit.

For so many years I used to think that my emotions were a curse.  They were something I hated.  I felt like such a freak because everything felt so, so big to me.  Simple things became so complicated because of the largeness of my feelings.  I used to look in the mirror and tell myself that I was a freak, that I was useless because I couldn’t do anything without crying.  I know now how I hurt the heart of God when I did that.  He made me the way I was for a reason….I just didn’t know what it was yet.  Now, I at least have a glimpse of what those reasons are.  The first and most important is to have a real, intimate relationship with Him.  Once I was awakened to His heart for me and His desire to be friends with me, it began to change everything.  He started showing me the value of my emotions…how they could be effective in praying for others.  When you can truly relate to how someone is feeling inside, you have a window into what their struggle really is.  Most of our internal struggles are born out of emotion and we forget that emotions are not facts, that they will lie to us.  I had to start asking myself what the “truth” was.  Did the Word of God and how He felt about me line up with my emotions?  A lot of times they didn’t.  A lot of times they came out of my past experiences and how I filtered things in my current life.  Is this making any sense?  I hope so, because it was such a huge revelation to me at the time.

As the Lord began to teach me about Himself and about why he gave me the emotional personality He did, something began to change.  I started to realize that there was no emotion I could feel, or thing that I could do that would change His heart for me.  Nothing could change it.  Nothing.  My emotions were okay, He just wanted to teach me about balance with them and looking at His Word and Truth.  I began to understand what a gift He had given to me.  It was no longer a curse.  I was not a freak and I was not useless.

In these new days of learning the life of a military mom, I’m realizing that all of those things that the Lord has taught me up now have a point.  I could never have walked this road even a couple of years ago.  He knew what I needed to be able to walk through this and He is going to teach me a lot more for other things that I will face later in my life.  So yes, I have days like today where I miss him so much.  I want to be able to just pick up the phone and hear his voice and tell him how much I love him.  I cannot.  I have to learn to be okay with that and do it in prayer instead.  I know that I can stand in the gap in prayer for him and know that I am holding back the enemy when he is advancing on Tyler.  I can use the emotion that God gave me to understand that he may be missing his home and his friends and his family….and then turn it into prayer for him.  I have to stop focusing on what I cannot do and put my heart into what God has given me the ability to do.  Pray. Always. Without Ceasing.