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 there....to 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.

9 comments:

MaryLu said...

Laura,
I've had many people come up to me and thank ME for the sacrifices we as a family have made for our country, I am always quick to point out, that I don't make nearly the amount of sacrifice that our soldiers do and that they are the ones you should thank.
Those FRG meetings were always a bit scary to me, (what are they going to announce this time!)
I'm glad you are there being a Christlike example to those other wives, you will be looked up to whether you realize it or not.

Lindsay said...

Laura,
I cannot thank you enough for your blog. My husband of 8 months has re-enlisted in the Army. He served 6 years in the reserves and since his discharge has felt the calling to return to the military as a Chaplain. We have prayed about it and decided to go Active Duty. He will be attending the Chaplain Basic Officer Leadership Course this summer and I now know a little of what to expect thanks to your blog. You are such an awesome example to everyone who reads your blog. At first, I wasn't excited about Jason joining the Army...I kind of felt like he got to have his career and I just followed. God has shown me that it's my career too. And you're blog has helped relay that message to me. As a chaplain's wife, we have a huge ministry opportunity. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and life. I'd love to pick your brain about all of the aspects of being an Army wife!

Thanks again!

Lindsay (future Army Chaplain Wife!)

Laura said...

LINDSAY - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I would be happy to talk with you so feel free to send me a comment with your email and I won't post it. Looking forward to chatting more!
Laura

Laura said...

Marylu - thank you for your kind words. Take care! I look forward to meeting you soon. Laura

Tanya said...

Laura,
What a beautiful reminder. Thank you for sharing your heart and insight. I pray that God pours peace into your heart as you minister to not only your family but to so many of us. Blessings,
Tanya

Anonymous said...

Laura,

Hi. I am an M.Div student at Regent University. Currently, I have already gotten my ecclesiastical endorsement, but won't be out until 2010, at which point I hope to go full time into the Army.. I think.

I was wondering if you could pray for me. I have doubt deep down about doing it, mainly because I don't want to be away from my family. My wife and I have only been married a year, and we have no kids, but when the Lord allows we would like to have 5 or 6.

I certainly don't want to miss their births, or the time afterwards, just leaving my wife with them.

Can you speak to this a little bit?
Also, can you pray that God would place a tremendous peace in my heart about Chaplaincy.
I know I have a heart for the warriors of our country, I know I really don't feel called to pastor a church, or start a ministry, and even if I did start a ministry I think I would need experience first.

Anyway, your prayers and advice are much appreciated. Thank You!

Aron

Laura said...

Although I've already responded to Aron via email, I thought I'd post some of that reply in hopes that it might help someone else who is praying about the chaplaincy...

Aron,

I will certainly pray for you (and your wife) as you discern the Lord's will in where He would have you serve him once you complete your MDiv. It is a HUGE decision to become a Chaplain in the military, in a way. I say that because I believe if the Lord calls us to do something it's not really a "decision" because we're called to follow no matter the cost. Yes, we are told to consider the cost, God's Word is clear about that (Luke 14:25-33), but I don't think it's telling us to back out if we think it's too tough, it's more about taking a step of faith once we've considered the cost.

I'm not one who believes we always feel "peace" in our decision process. I think it can be grueling to think about not being with our spouse and children for any length of time, moving far away from our extended families, up and moving our family every few years, experiencing war and death - possibly even our own, stepping out into the unknown! There is absolutely nothing easy or peaceful about this part. I will say, though, it does get easier once you take that step of faith. I believe God gives us the peace many times after we step out in faith. If it were easy, we wouldn't need faith - that which pleases God. God tends to bless a moving target...

C. Shirk said...

Laura,
I have really appreciated reading through your blog. My husband is joining the army as a chaplain and plans to attend chaplain's basic training in June. (We should get the official orders in April, I think.) I would love to hear more about your experience and see if you can help with some specific questions I have. (I recently met Lindsay who commented below and she pointed me to your blog). You seem like a really godly woman. Thanks for your insights.
Carrie

Laura said...

CARRIE - Thank you for your sweet comment! I would be happy to talk with you. Just send me a comment with your email address and I won't post it. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Laura