Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Cheeseburger Ministry

"I need 175 double-cheeseburgers, please!"

"Did you say 175 double-cheeseburgers?"

"Yes! My husband is a Chaplain in the Army and he would like to purchase 175 double-cheeseburgers for his Soldiers out in the field."


(Coming from the back after the cashier rung the order up)..."Is this for real?? 175 double-cheeseburgers??!! Oh my..."

On Monday, my husband wanted to take double-cheeseburgers into the field again for his Soldiers. I absolutely love this ministry opportunity!! It made me think about the story in the bible when Jesus fed the 5,000. I was thinking about how the disciples must have felt to minister alongside Jesus when he turned the five loaves and two fishes into overflowing baskets of bread and fish. It must have melted their hearts not only to see Jesus perform that miracle, but to see the joy on the people's faces when they handed it all out. Jesus taught them (and us) a lesson about meeting the physical needs of people, as well as the spiritual.

When we later arrived back at McDonald's that afternoon, they didn't have them all in the cooler like I asked, so my daughter and I offered to do that while they continued to finish the order. There was a moment when I thought, "I wonder what impact this will have on those Soldiers and how God will use it to speak to their hearts," just as I had the last time we did this. It's such a fun ministry! The kids and I love being able to take care of the ordering and all for my husband, and then we hand them over (since we can't go into the field) and pray God will bless the Soldiers through it, and then my husband and his assistant deliver them. This time, though, we were blessed to be able to see one of the Soldier's reaction.

While loading the large cooler in my husband's Humvee, and chatting about the fact that the manager added another 20 double-cheeseburgers, one of his Soldiers in the back smiled and asked, "Sir, am I authorized one of those?" My husband quickly pulled one out and tossed it to him. It was so cool to see the expression on his face! You would have thought he was being handed a hundred dollars. I think that was a blessing from the Lord for me and the kids to see! We can hardly wait to do it again!

It's funny how God works. I was just about to publish this when my husband called to tell me he had over 20 Soldiers come to him today and thank him for looking out for them. I'm not sure who is blessed more though, us or them.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Back in the Field

Today we woke up early so I could take my husband to the far side of the post so he could hike into the field. His assistant had to work at Main Post Chapel, but he still wanted to go be with his men so the only way to get there was on foot. You can't just drive your own vehicle, and he's only allowed to ride in the Humvee. He can't drive himself.

As we were driving there, I got tickled looking over at him in his "battle dress" and told him I was so proud of him for giving up his day to be there for them. I love seeing him that way. He's such a manly man and seeing him in all his gear just melts my heart! Anyone who knows my husband well knows this is right up his alley. He is definitely in his element. God took a man who absolutely loves being in the great outdoors (it doesn't work so well for people in the military who don't like the outdoors!)...preaching, teaching, sharing his faith (whether it be in the church behind a pulpit, or standing wherever they can find a place in the field)...the military...and placed him in the Chaplaincy.

When we first arrived here it didn't feel much like "being in your element"...but today I can see it in his eyes. He's in a place where everything has fallen into place - where the wondering has been replaced with certainty. There is no place he'd rather be. He loved every step it took to get him here, and, sure, he misses a lot of things about the past (especially when the hunting season came and went without him...ha!) and people who were so much a part of our lives then (and always will be...we just can't spend time with them like we once did), but he knows that many of those experiences were preparation for what he is doing now. His attitude is proof of that.

I've been meditating on Philippians 2:5-8 this week and today it came to mind that my husband has been an example of these verses to me this weekend. It says: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! I pray God's blessings on him as he strives to set an example for the men he comes into contact with. May they be drawn to Jesus.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

His first military funeral

"It's what I'm here nurture the living, care for the wounded and honor the dead!" said my husband, as I told him it was a beautiful day and I wished he was home. He was waiting on the Honor Guard to arrive and had a few minutes to spare. It was his first military funeral.

Last night he handed me his notes. He wanted to see what I thought. Right then and there I knew I couldn't attend this funeral with him. I'm one of those people who could be hired out as a mourner. I didn't have to know this man or the family he left behind to cry. I was crying just reading what he would say to them!

My emotions got the best of me; not only because we were experiencing death, though for us it was someone we didn't know, but more so because I saw more of the heart of this man I love so dearly. The words penned on that page revealed his heart. He loves, inactive, retired - it doesn't matter. He loves people. He loves the military. He loves being a Chaplain. And, most importantly, he loves to share the good news of Jesus Christ and the hope we have in Him.

As I watched him put on his uniform this morning, I thought about the man God put in my life and how horrible it would feel to lose him. I couldn't stay there in my mind long as it would bring me to tears yet again. I straightened his tie and his cross on his uniform and told him I would be praying for him. Once he left I thought about what it means for him to be in this role. It can't be easy, yet he's willing and honored to be in it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

A glimpse into the heart of a 12 year old

Today one of the twins (Dillon) wrote a poem and he just read it to us. He wanted me to read it out loud, but I couldn't make it through the 2nd stanza. He finally read it to us...and then I really cried!

Hard Goodbyes

Just one more hour
Just one more minute
Just one more second
Would be nice

But no, we must go!
I sit with aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins
I fight back the tears
But soon they'll flow

I've stayed with them all summer
How can I leave?
What will life be like there...
This place I've never known?

We're moving to this place called ______
A place I would come to know and love
I'd make friends
I'd have fun

But the past I can't let go of
For my uncle even cried
I must though 'cause now we've left
That place I once called home

The twins still talk about that day - the day they saw their uncle (my oldest brother) cry. I don't think they will ever forget it either. It made quite an impact on their lives as those tears showed them how special they were to him. Wonder if he'll cry when he reads this...
We've had a beautiful week, especially today, and I just love it! It makes me long for summer when we can camp and explore more of this beautiful area.

My daughter captured this photo today while we were out at a state park near our house. The clouds were rolling in over the water and I thought this was an awesome picture!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Making it all the more real...

Around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday my husband's phone rang. Two Soldiers died in Iraq and he was the chaplain on duty for death notifications and funeral services. As I laid in bed, realizing what had happened, I began to cry. My heart ached at the thought of the wives and children, parents and siblings, and other family members and friends that would soon find out their loved one had died. Even living here on post and seeing/hearing/experiencing what it is to serve our country, I sometimes forget that our Soldiers are in great danger over there. I pray for them, and expect that they will be OK, but sometimes that is just not the case. Our Soldiers are not safe.

I thought about my very own husband going to war and how hard that will be to know he is in danger. I thought about our son. I thought about one of my close friends here whose husband is a chaplain and will soon deploy. I thought about our daughter's friends who just recently returned and the loss they experienced there. I thought about a dear friend of my husband, who is also a chaplain and just deployed. I thought about one of my friends whose husband just returned and how good that must have felt to see his face again and be held in his arms after such a long seperation.

I don't want to forget about what our Soldiers are experiencing. I want to be reminded that they are in danger and need our prayers. I want to remember those here at home training long, hard hours and having to be away from their families so much. I want others to be reminded so that they pray and find a way to minister to those serving. Here's my challenge - find a way to reach out to our Soldiers. There are many who don't have family or friends who are in contact with them on a regular basis, or at all. Get involved and be an encouragement to our Soldiers and their families today!

Pictures from our weekend away...

We had a wonderful three days relaxing by the ocean. We went to several beaches and each one had its own unique beauty. On Sunday we decided to take a long drive and stumbled upon some other beautiful places. The picture doesn't do it justice, but this was one of my favorite places.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Celebrating 21 Years of Marriage

7,665 days ago I married the man of my dreams and my very best friend. Today, I sit here thinking about those 21 years and all that we have been through together and I am thankful. Thankful. Thankful for:
  • The blessing of sharing this life with such an amazing, wonderful man
  • The blessing of having and raising our four beautiful children together
  • The opportunity to know what it is to be loved unconditionally by another human being
  • A husband who loves the Lord and desires to live for Him
  • Being married to a Soldier - a Soldier who serves both God and country
  • Knowing my husband's heart
  • A husband who loves spending time with me and our kids more than anything
  • Our marriage. We were young when we got married, but we grew up together and have many wonderful experiences to look back on and know that the Lord was/is with us every step of the way

I could go on and on, but more than anything I want him to know how much he means to me and that I couldn't be happier with the life we have together. I know there might be days ahead of us when we might not be able to spend our anniversary together and I want to cherish this one, as well as every day of our lives together.

Thank you, Kevin, for 21 wonderful years. I love you with all my heart and cherish your love and friendship. You're an amazing man and I can't imagine life without you. Thank you for all the many ways you bless my life. I am truly blessed to be your wife!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Time in the Field with the Soldiers

Yesterday my husband spent a good part of his day in the field. He was able to lead two services with several in attendance at both. He said they went really well. His assistant can play the guitar really well so he lead worship and my husband preached. He preached about Gideon and the man God uses...God didn't want the cowards, he didn't want the careless, he wanted the committed! (You can read all about it in Judges 6-8.)

About 11:30, when our church service was over, the kids and I headed to Burger King and met him out there near the entrance into the field to give him all the cheeseburgers. Even though we couldn't follow him into the firing ranges, it was still neat to get to deliver the cheeseburgers to him and his assistant. I loved watching them coming down the road in their Humvee. We loaded a huge cooler into their Humvee, took a few quick pictures (for me...that I'll have to add later, once I get them uploaded) and off they went. We were all wishing we could have hid in the back and gone with them.

The cheesburgers were a big hit. My husband said when he got there he took one out and handed it to the company XO and he said, "Chaplain, I can't eat this in front of my men!" I know it must have been fun to respond with, "That's OK, I have 149 more where that came from!" All in all it was a great day!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Missing a special preacher!

This is a picture of my husband on his last Sunday to stand before our church in Texas.

Tonight I stayed up late to spend some time with the Lord when I noticed my husband's sermon notes up on the laptop. Tomorrow morning he will lead two services in the field for his Soldiers. I was drawn to his notes and, as I read, tears filled my eyes as I thought about how much I really miss hearing him preach. I try not to ever lose sight of what we are here for though. I realized how special these Soldiers are to him when he told me he was running in Burger King today to order 150 cheeseburgers to take out to the field tomorrow for all them.

During church last week, I slipped him a note that said, "I sure miss your preaching, babe!" And I meant it more than he probably even realizes. He's a great preacher, and I love hearing and seeing his heart for the Lord when he stands to preach. Even after 9 months, it's still strange to me to not be getting up really early on Sunday mornings and heading to the church to prepare for the service together.

I can't go into the field with him no matter how badly I want to! I am excited for moments when he has the opportunity to go preach in the field though. I know there is something special about preaching to the Soldiers in the field, and I know the Soldiers are blessed by hearing the Word of God and having the opportunity to worship the Lord during training. The only thing I ask of the Lord is that I get to hear him preach again soon. That's my prayer!

Blessing in a Bag

Today we slept in and went out for a quick lunch on post. When we returned home, the twins and dad went in and I went back out to the PX to look for a gift for someone at church. Our church off post has what they call "The Blessing Brigade"...where we honor a Soldier at war and his family by praying for them and giving the family here at home a "blessing in a bag." This was my week to fill a bag for a certain Soldier's wife. I must have walked around for an hour before I finally finished shopping for her. I kept thinking about her and what she must be going through and nothing seemed adequate.

At one point I felt a little overwhelmed. What could I give to someone I didn't even know? I asked the Lord to help me find give me insight. I remember when my husband was in Bosnia and Croatia while in the Air Force. I remember feeling lonely - sometimes even when other people were around, worn out, scared, fearful of what might happen to him....the list goes on and on. What could I give her to let her know she is loved and cared for by others? What could I put in that bag that would bring her peace and comfort?

I'm not sure if the items inside the bag will be something she likes, but I pray the thought of someone out there putting this bag together for her will bless her week. I hurt for her and I don't even know her. I hurt for all the families who are seperated right now. It's tough! And most of them will tell you it's still tough when they're finally back together again. I want to bless them. I want to know how to reach out to them more and share the love of Jesus with them.

Lord, bless this young couple that is seperated right now. Bless all our Soldiers and their families that are seperated right now. Bless those who are preparing to be apart soon. Bless our Soldiers down range. Keep them safe each and every moment of every day and through the night. Give them strength to endure and a peace that passes all understanding. Guard their hearts and minds. Protect them from the enemy and bring them home safely very, very soon. Amen.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Playing catch up!

I haven't had a lot of time to write lately as I've been out doing something a bit different with my time during the day. I'll start from the beginning...

When our daughter came to live with us I told her she should go talk to the manager at the flower shop about a job. She did and was hired. A few weeks later, we were up at the PX and we stopped by the flower shop and her manager asked me if I was ready to help with thousands of roses coming in for Valentine's Day. Somehow she even knew my first name.

Our daughter said she never mentioned my name, just that I had worked in a flower shop years ago and might be willing to help when needed. I took it as a sign...

I had begun to pray about whether or not to get a part-time job, even if just for a little while. I loved working in the flower shop years ago, and felt like I could easily pick it back up. What I didn't know was if they would work with my hours. The most important thing for me is to be able to be there for my husband and our twins. I don't want anything to interfere with that! I left it in the Lord's hands.

When I went back in to talk to the manager she said to write down what I could work and she'd work with me. I didn't really expect her to work with me when I said I couldn't work evenings or weekends, but she did. I felt that if this was from the Lord she would honor my request.

Tonight I sit here, a little more tired than I've been in a long time. Standing on your feet for seven hours straight can be a little much, but it has been SO MUCH FUN!!! The shop reminds me of the one I worked at when my husband was in the Air Force...only that time I would go in and leave my little girl with daddy or a babysitter. Today, I'm going to work with my daughter and I love it! I get tickled hearing her helping customers while I'm making bouquets in the back. On Tuesday we cut 1600 roses together and then teased each other that evening about who worked harder.

I count it all as a blessing from the Lord and I'll work there as long as He would have me I believe He has me there for a reason, just as He did with my other jobs.

Update on our Airman

Our son got his new job assignment in the Air Force! He will be an Avionics Systems Apprentice. He will perform maintenance on the F-15/A-10, and U-2 aircraft. He's leaving San Antonio and headed to his new training base on Monday. A huge thank you to everyone who has been praying for his healing and for his new job. He's very excited and looking forward to getting to his training base.

I was talking to him this evening and it made me miss him all the more. I wish we were there to send him off to his new training. It always makes me feel good to hear his voice, especially when I hear the happiness and excitement in it, but it also makes me wish we were there to chat about it face to face. I miss seeing his face! As time goes by I realize more and more that my little boy is not really so little anymore. His pictures sit in our living room and bedroom, visible to me every day, reminding me that he's a man now and serving our country. I couldn't be more proud of him and I wish him all the best as he moves forward in his new career.

Praying for our Military

This list was compiled as a means to pray for our military for 31 days. I thought some of you might be interested in having this to pray.

Protection.............................Psalm 34:7, Psalm 32:7
Wisdom................................ James 1:5
Peace.................................... John 14:27, Philippians 4:7
Presence of God...................Psalm 46:1
Inner Strength.....................Ephesians 3:16
Clear Mind............................2 Timothy 1:7
Security................................ Psalm 17:8
Health for Physical Body....Philippians 4:13
Courage................................ Joshua 1:9
To help others......................Philippians 2:3-4
To be aware of God’s love for them...Psalm 42
Family concerns..................1 Peter 5:7
Rest...................................... Matthew 11:28-29
Adjust to time change, sleep....Psalm 4:8
Unity in purpose.................1 Peter 3:8
Loneliness............................Deuteronomy 3:16
Children of military............Isaiah 54:13, Psalm 68:5
Spouses of military.............Isaiah 40:11
Patience while waiting.......Psalm 33:20
God directing their steps...Psalm 32:8
Diligent in their work.........Colossians 3:23
Resist temptation...............1 Corinthians 10:13
Discernment........................Philippians 1:9
Traveling safety..................Psalm 121:7-8
Fighting Depression........... Psalm 42:5
Protection from evil...........2 Thessalonians 3:3
Encourage those around them.. Proverbs 11:25
Personal prayer life.......... Jeremiah 33:3
Deliverance from the enemy....Psalm 31:15
Angels to guard them........Psalm 34:7
Persistence for the task....Galatians 6:9

Monday, February 4, 2008

Please pray!

Cyd Mizell is a member of the church we go to off post. She works in Afganistan and was abducted on January 26. No one in the family or at work has heard anything from her or her abducters. Please join us in praying for her safety and that of her driver, as well as the salvation of her abducters. I can't imagine what her family is going through right now and I just wanted to get the word out so those of you who read my blog can join us in praying for her release.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

Friday, February 1, 2008

Life. Soldiers. Family. Sacrifice. Surrender.

It feels like just yesterday when I was wishing the weekend would have lasted longer, and now we're almost at the end of our work week! My husband was feeling the same way last night and made the comment that before we knew it we would be dead. Then I heard a song this morning that talked about going to bed at 6 years old and waking up 25...are you trying to tell me something, Lord?!

Some days I wake up sluggish, wishing I could go back to bed...wishing the day would move along a little faster so my husband would be home from work...wishing the day would end so I could just rest. When I speak it out, my husband tells me, "Don't wish your life away!" ...and I ask myself why do I do that?!

Last night we had a Family Readiness Briefing. It was the first one since we've been here so I sat there, waiting for it to begin, hoping they weren't going to give us bad news or something. I thought for sure my husband would have told me if that were the case, but it caused me to wonder if the day would soon come when they were sitting us down to say they were deploying.

I thought about some of my friends whose husbands are deployed, or have been told they are probably close to deploying, until I was interrupted in thought by overhearing one of the Soldiers behind me talking of the last time he was away from his wife and brand new baby girl and how upset he was that he wouldn't see his new baby girl for two weeks. He talked of the plane ride to wherever he was going, where a woman sitting beside him told him she was going to see her children that she hadn't seen in 13 years because she had been in prison for something stupid she had done, and then, after getting off the plane, observing another Soldier hugging his wife and three children whom he had not seen in 15 months. He said, "after that I didn't feel so sorry for myself anymore." Sacrifice!

I often think about how much our Soldiers sacrifice for us. We recently met some younger Soldiers who got back from Iraq the end of 2007 and, now when they are out on the range, training in the cold, wet weather, I think even more about the sacrifices our Soldiers make. It's not about just hearing the gunfire and mortar rounds anymore. It's about knowing there are people I know preparing to fight if called upon. It's about knowing they've been there - in the war, real live rounds being fired at them. It's about knowing these young men experienced death and war, who lost a very dear friend over there, at a very young age. It's about having a husband who, just by going to work everyday, is preparing for what could mean going to off to war sometime in his career. It's about having a son in the military and knowing he may face the same thing one day.

All this runs through my thoughts very quickly and the meeting is about to begin, my husband motions for me to come sit by him and I sit down feeling humbled by the fact that I am in this room with all these men who are willing to lay down their life for their country. The meeting was just to inform us, as families, about what the next several months will be like for our husbands, but it meant so much more to me. I felt honored to be sit beside my very best friend and know these were the people he ministered to and experienced the day-to-day things of life with. I also realized their sacrifice was great, that there would be many nights when they wouldn't get to come home to us or share in our day-to-day experiences. I knew there would be husbands who wouldn't get to spend as much time as they wanted with their newborns (as there were quite a few pregnant wives!) and/or other children; and wives who would feel lonely and exhausted and probably, at times, about to go out of their minds from carrying all the burdens at home on their shoulders.

But, then, there was this moment when it all came together....where I surrendered to this word we hear all the time but maybe don't take it to heart like we should - sacrifice. One of the men in charge stood in front of us and said (as best I can recall), "I know many of you are upset, you are tired of your husbands being gone a lot because of all our training, but we do this because we want your husbands to be prepared for battle. If and when we go they have to be prepared. If they are not, they will die. There is a war going on and we have to be prepared to fight. All this training is important and I hope you will understand why it is that they have to train long and hard. It will cost so much more than their time later if we don't spend it in training now!"

When it's all said and done, I want my husband to realize that I believe with all my heart that he is sacrificing so much more than I ever will. I will never be called upon to die for my country. I will never know what it means to go off to war. BUT, I will stand by him. I will make our home a wonderful place for him to come home to every day that he can. I will pray for him and encourage him. I am willing to make whatever sacrifice God wants us to make because this is what HE has called us to do and HE, Jesus Christ, was the one to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us.