Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Out of my element

I'm currently back in Texas spending time with all my kids, family and friends. The evening of July 4th, it really hit me where I was and how out of place you can feel in what was once so familiar to you. My husband and I decided together that it would be better for me to come spend several extra days with our son so I came in time to be here for the 4th of July since it would be a 4-day weekend. What I didn't realize is how hard it would be to not be on post with my soldier on the 4th of July. To see thousands of soldiers on that particular day last year was something I will never forget.

There are times I've felt out of my element in the Army. In fact, I've written about it several times in the past. Maybe that's why God led me to come early, leaving my husband behind at home for a 4-day weekend by himself and not be able to be a part of the celebration on post with other soldiers and their families. I don't know. What I do know is that I've experienced a complete shifting in my heart for the things I left behind for a month.

I discovered this week that even though I had to leave behind some things I loved about Texas and our ministry here, I am where I'm supposed to be. The military is where God intends for us to be. When I'm away from it, I miss it. I especially missed it this 4th of July weekend. I didn't hear anyone thank our servicemen, except my daughter. The church we went to didn't recognize them or say a word about the freedoms we've been afforded because of their great sacrifice. Not even a prayer was voiced for them. My heart broke late one night as my daughter cried for her future spouse who has experienced so much, sacrificed so much, yet so often it seems to goes unnoticed. In the midst of talking with her, though, I realized God was breaking her heart for a purpose. God is defining her ministry.

Just the other day, after sitting beside my future son-in-law, hearing him share more of what he has experienced with family members who were asking questions, we walked downstairs to get dressed to go out on the boat and I sensed the Lord leading me to go give him a big hug and tell him how every time I hear him talk about what he experienced in Iraq I want to hug him and that I'm praying for healing for his heart and mind. Not only for him, but for all our soldiers who have experienced war.

As the war continues, are we forgetting about our service men and women? I pray not! Are we allowing our negative thoughts of the war or the military to get in our way of honoring those who are serving? Are we so caught up in our own everyday lives that we forget to pray for their protection and safe return? My heart is burdened for this right now. Finding a way to express it is even more difficult.

Last night my husband wrote me a beautiful email. Reading it made me love him more. We talk on the phone several times a day, but to actually see that email made me cry. He's so precious, so beautiful, so loving and sincere. I hope he doesn't mind, but I wanted to post just a little clip of the email: "I was thinking about you so I thought I'd write. Our home is not the same w/o you in it. It is so quiet all the time that sometimes I put my Ipod in just so I don't hear the silence. It has sure been lonely around here with you and the kids gone. This must be what it's like when I'm gone and you're here by yourself." His heart--I love his heart. Being separated, even for a vacation, is difficult. Today he heads back to work and I'll continue to "play"... that's difficult for me to do sometimes as I think about all those soldiers sacrificing so much. I'll continue to enjoy my time here, but not without thinking of the sacrifices being made.

Being out of my element has been good for me. Actually, realizing I am out of my element has been good for me. God has already placed thoughts in my head of what I need to do when I return home to be more engaged in where He has me, and for that I am grateful. I needed to experience this. I needed to know where my heart stood. Sometimes it's in the being away that we realize what it is we are missing. Missing my military life has given me a stronger passion for where God has placed me.

I also realize that I need to make the most of where he has me for the next two weeks. I don't want to miss out on what I need to be a part of now. He has me here for a reason, and realizing what it is He wanted me to see has given me peace in my heart. Every morning I've been wide awake and out of bed before 6:30. Today I felt God's leading to write before opening His Word. Doing so has allowed me to pull all my many, jumbled thoughts together and been a blessing. Sitting on the back porch of my parent's house, looking out at the water and seeing the birds swoop down close to the water, probably looking for food, reminded me that the Lord fills us with all that we need. He is the Living Water that refreshes my soul!

I praise You, Lord! Thank You for Your great love. Thank You for moments of refreshing. Thank You for teaching me, for growing me, for encouraging me. I love You!


Lauren <> said...

Laura, thanks for putting into words what so many army wives feel on a daily basis. I can put myself in the shoes of your daughter as she cries tears over thinking of the sacrifices of the soldiers and her fiance have taken and continue to make four our country.
I was recently at a basball game and it struck me how many people continued talking and walking around when the "Star Spangled Banner" was being sung.
God has used you and continues to use you to encourage our soldiers and their families.

LAURIE said...

What a beautiful post today Laura. It brought tears to my eyes, especially when I read how moved your daughter was. It seems to me that God may be stirring a ministry in military life as well for her. What a wonderful example she has in her mother to see how a wife prays and stands by her man! As a mom - I am so grateful for women like you on our military bases supporting the men that pour themselves into our sons and daughters. Thank you. It often makes me mad to see how people so quickly forget about our troops. Our church did recognize those who served and in fact one of our own over in Iraq was home on leave and it brought me to tears when a young lady sang God Bless America. Truly that song says it...Americans are blessed! -enjoy the rest of your vacation, Laurie

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but write a comment to your post. Your experience and emotions of returning to Texas are very familiar to me. Growing up overseas and returning to the States to begin a new life with a new purpose didn't really seem tangible until I returned to the place I used to call home. I knew what I was getting into and the reason I was going but I did not expect the emotions that were associated with it. I went on my own purposefully to make sure I experienced what I needed. When I got there, I was completely out of place, not disoriented, but not fitting into the home that I once knew. I had no comfortable place or routine to settle back into and it sent me for a spin. I had friends there with whom I met and spent time but it was not the home I remembered. It was wonderful to be there but it was not where I belonged. The whole purpose of the trip was for CLOSURE and a settlement in my mind that God had other plans for my life than looking back at the places I'd been. Most missionary kids struggle with staying in the States but this closure gave me the assurance and confidence to stay wherever God put me and a contentment even if I were to stay Stateside.

All that to say this: I understand many of the feelings that you are experiencing right now. Mourn and grieve the loss of your home as you knew it (there is nothing wrong with that) but allow God to grow a much deeper love for what He has for you now and to give you a renewed and deeper passion for the lives you are touching in so many ways (including and especially this blog).

God Bless
Tim (Jennifer's other half =) )