I'm currently still in Texas and my parent's house is filled with family from my mother's side of the family. There are around 50 of us here, with my brother and his family finally on their way from Roatan. We had an amazing time worshiping the Lord together last night. We spent about two hours singing, opening up the Word, testifying to the goodness of God and it was just truly wonderful. I wish we would do that every night! This morning as I sit on my parent's back porch, listening to many of them out by the water, I try not to let myself be consumed by the thoughts of missing my husband so badly that I can hardly stand it anymore. It's something few people truly understand.
As I was driving my future son-in-law to the airport yesterday, my husband called to ask me to pray for the soldiers who he had just heard were killed in Afghanistan. He has a chaplain buddy there and was concerned for him, as well as the other soldiers in harm's way. I immediately started to cry. I knew their families back home would soon hear, if not already, that their loved one had been killed. I cried for them and for my own family who, too, will one day experience all that comes with deployment of a loved one (or two or three, as it could be in our case). I cried for my dear friends who are already experiencing it.
Yesterday, as Whitney and Skyler said their good-byes, I cried so hard for them. I knew what she would experience last night as this was their first time to really be apart since they met...and I know first-hand how deeply you can miss someone that you love so much, especially when in the back of your mind you know there is always that chance that they could deploy one day. If you've experienced it, you know what I'm talking about. It pulls at the very core of your being, causing you to long for a different life, all the while knowing this is where God has you for a purpose and anywhere else would be outside His will and plan for you so you quietly surrender and trust Him once again despite the deep pain you are feeling.
I remember when my husband was in the Air Force and deployed to Croatia. Just knowing the the danger he faced there, and the fact that there was nothing I could do about it, was almost more than I could bare sometimes. Since that time I've grown and learned to trust and lean on the Lord so much more, but I still feel the pain of knowing he could deploy and that being in the Army will mean a much longer deployment. There are moments I literally feel myself stop breathing at the thought of it.
My daughter is now experiencing that. She has those thoughts that cause great fear to well up inside of her. She tries, like so many of us, not to think about it, but it's always there. We stayed up until early in the morning talking and praying. My heart is heavy for us all. Even the separation that is taking place right now is difficult. Our men are safe, but we are far from them. To be honest, vacation doesn't feel much like a vacation sometimes, it feels more like torture knowing you could be spending time with them, but it's not possible because you are thousands of miles away. And, knowing that when you return home they will go into the field the next day (because both of them will), can just about drive you crazy.
It's not at all that I don't like or want to spend time with my family; it's just hard to be away from your best friend!! They are working hard and we're playing. It hardly seems right. I know that it's hard to understand when you haven't been there, but I pray for sensitivity for all military families. I know many of my friends need that in their lives right now as their husbands are deployed or away from home in training (because even that is tough!). It's not easy being separated, and I can only pray that awareness becomes real to those who are not in the military, and that we all can work together to support our troops and their families. It's not just about non-military supporting the military either...we all need to do our part.
As I write, it's always as though the Lord is slowing pulling the burden away and reminding me that He is near. Writing what is on my heart doesn't always come easy, especially if I allow fear of what I write to be taken wrong, so I pray that this post falls on tender hearts. I'm not asking for sympathy, just awareness. Don't forget about our men and women in uniform, and the families that are affected by the difficulties of being in the military. It's not about patriotism...it's about people!